Farewell To Jenny

Friends, I sit here, on this sad occasion, to bare my soul and perhaps elicit a bit of sympathy from you. For you see, a close and dear friend to me has died.

Jenny appeared at my door one day, and we became fast friends. She was easy to get to know though, at the time, she was a bit strange to look at. Jenny was green, lime green in fact, and she was a bit on the rotund side. Still, she was quick, ate little, and required almost no room for billeting. Nor did I have to continually buy kitty litter, or take her out for "walkies." (I tried once, but the sight of me dragging Jenny along the sidewalk was more than my neighbors could bear. I was arrested and they made me see this rally nice lady who asked me lots of questions. I feel MUCH better now.)

Jenny and I did a lot together, though we never again went for walkies. She helped me with my taxes, sat quietly while I threw story ideas at her, challenged me to think, and made me laugh. She was fun to play with, too. Often we would stay up into the wee hours of the morning chasing bad guys or finding treasure or solving riddles. Sometimes we would talk to others over the phone line. Once, a man in Denmark on a cello accompanied us while I played my recorder badly; the experience was one that Iill never forget, and it was possible because of Jenny.

When my daughter went off to college, Jenny went with her. She helped my daughter with her assignments, gathered her music, and played games with her. Mostly she helped my daughter stay connected to home by bringing a measure of familiarity into her tiny dorm room. It was in her dorm room were Jenny met her end. A stray shot during a drive-by storm rendered Jenny an invalid. Sometimes she would seem like her old self and all would be well, but more and more she began to forget things. Near the end she wouldnit even acknowledge me, she would just snap at me loudly then stare at me with a cold, blank expression.

I brought Jenny home. I couldnit bear the thought of strange hands sifting through her innards, so I attempted to help her, but she was beyond anything I could do for her. So, on a dank and dreary Monday, I took her to a specialist. I left her in his care and went home to wait for the call I knew would come, and when the phone did ring I was prepared for the worse. The specialist confirmed what I already knew; Jenny was beyond hope, beyond help. Jenny was no more.

So, there you have it. A life well spent, now gone. I will miss Jenny.

As you may have guessed by now, Jenny was a Lime iMac, my first iMac and the second Mac I ever owned. The first Mac I bought, a Performa 6115, is still chugging along. Jenny got hit by a nasty surge, which fried her innards. My daughteris surge protector didnit protect anything. (Note: If youire gonna buy a surge protector make sure itis really good one, otherwise donit bother.) Jenny was special because she was lime green, and she was small. My 6115 is a pizza box with a huge 15" monitor on top, and it took up most of what little bit of desk space I had when it was my main computer. Jenny, however, sat neatly in one corner of my desk and added color to the tiny bit of the room my wife allows me to have. (She uses the rest of the room to hold 2 sewing machines, a knitting machine, a closet full of yarn of every conceivable type, and a library of patterns for just about anything that can be done with a needle that doesnit involve blood.)

As I sit back and consider Jennyis demise I have to remember what life was like before the iMac, before Jenny. Steve Jobs had promised that the iMac would reduce cable clutter, be easier to use, and be a joy to look at. Well, 2 out of 3 ainit bad. I absolutely loved the way Jenny looked, its translucent lime skin and rounded wedge shape made my old 6115 look like a brick, and the 266 MHz G3 made my 6115 seem as speedy as a brick, too. Try as I might, however, I could never find a way to reduce the ratis nest of cables that trailed out of my Macs. True, Jennyis cable ball lacked the monitor cable, and USB cables are not as thick as parallel or SCSI cables, and it was certainly a lot easier to connect stuff since everything used the same cable type. The reality was, however, that instead of a bag full of cables of different types I now have a bag full of USB cables. Ah well, I wonit complain. Jenny did what she was supposed to do. She made my life easier and my little corner of the world a much better place to be in.

My daughter is now eying a new iMac, and for a moment I wondered if that digital desk lamp will ever have as much personality as Jenny did. Where Jenny was a squat duck of a machine the new iMac will be long necked and graceful as a swan. I suppose the new machine will have a personality, which Iim certain weill discover once it arrives. Instead of the shock of green we will now be soothed by white. Where we use to hunker close to the iMacis bulk to view the screen, we can now bring the screen closer to us. Itis different, not Jenny, but personable nonetheless. The new iMac is, after all, still an iMac.

I wonder what my daughter will name it?

Vern Seward is a frustrated writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. Heis been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.