Anne Horrigan Geary: Going cold turkey on computer games


DALTON >> I don't know why the turkey gets a bad rap. When we are trying to quit something immediately and completely, why do we do it "cold turkey"? And should there be a different term if we were forced to quit versus choosing to quit voluntarily? Warm turkey? Cold chicken?

I am not a computer expert, or even terribly computer literate, and I'm not fond of change. So I waited until the last day to upgrade my computers to Windows 10 without having to pay for it. Now I am in a pickle (note this is another reference to food). The folks at Microsoft are great at making promises, and pointing out the positives of the new operating system. Well to that I say, "Bah, humbug!"

Not only has it taken me three days to find my word processing program, email, and Facebook, I have been deprived of my favorite time-wasting games: Freecell and Spider Solitaire. There is no free games package at all. When I asked the Windows 10 helper, Cortana, she was no help at all. I finally found a site of like-minded users who have railed against this lack in Windows 10. But no one has had any luck getting the games restored. The only way to get this is to find an app.

I am so old that the letters "a-p-p" carry little meaning. Without more information, they could start the words "appetizer," "applause," or even "apparatus". I have tried to steer clear of "apps" on my smart phone, so I'm not looking to clutter up my hard drive with them. Besides, there are too many game app choices, some free, some not.

How would I know which to choose which is safe, secure, and just like my old one? I don't want Russian hackers to monitor my games-playing addiction, do I? If I ever choose to run for public office — like a library trustee — would my passion for Spider Solitaire make me ineligible for arachnophobic voters? I'm not taking any chances.

So here I sit, trying to write, while my brain wants to put pretend cards into virtual rows to make runs. My hand is itching to move the mouse and make the cards appear in a starting row. The mouse is needing to point and click over my choices of cards. Will I never see those winning Freecell fireworks again? Have I lost my high score records forever?

This is too much to deal with on a rainy, Monday morning. Like a three-year-old, I want to kick my feet against the chair, bang on the desk and scream: "I want my Freecell and Spider Solitaire back, and I want them now!"

After a try at relaxation breathing, I am calmer. I am ready to continue the task at hand — adding another hundred words to this half-baked essay. When I look at the screen, all I see are ghost-like images of rows of cards, tantalizingly close. Words swim before my eyes, and my mind is a blank.

I spin around in the task chair a few times, and click my heels; but nothing happens. I tidy up the computer desk, wiping away dust and crumbs of toast and cookies eaten long ago. Still the phantom cards are haunting the place. My hand wanders to the red-striped mouse and moves it aimlessly up and down, back and forth. If I only knew a bit of Harry Potter's wizardry perhaps I could conjure up some kind of solitaire, any kind, just to get over the hump.

Wait! I have a revolutionary idea! I am going to open the kitchen drawer and dig out an old deck of playing cards. I am going to shuffle them and deal them out. I am going to play "old-fashioned" solitaire until my craving for the electronic version is blunted. I will survive! Gobble, gobble.

Anne Horrigan Geary is a regular Eagle contributor.


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