broken_computerI used to know the seven stages of grief … denial, anger, suspicion, it wasn’t me, etc. My wife, Rebecca, (aka “The Goddess”), reached the “You’re Making This Up, Right?” stage last night when I talked to her in Holland.

No, Aunt Weezy who lived in a mobile home park south of Midville didn’t take the canoe across the Ogeechee to her final resting place on the other side and leave her butterfly collection to Rebecca’s worthless third cousin. Rebecca’s computer died.

Had we been more attentive, we would have seen it coming. It moved slower. It was not as eager to open up our favorite websites like Or It found our Excel budgeting program distasteful, and completely rejected any attempt to feed it CD’s.

It breathed its last on Friday a week ago, just before Rebecca left for Holland. The computer’s last words, written on a black and white screen in a boring font, were “Boot failure.” It would seem the computer would have had the common decency to add, “Goodbye. I’m sorry. It’s been a blast.”

broken-computer(It is at this point that I must advise you that, to preserve our friendship and mutual admiration, you are not to use the word “back-up” in my presence.)

Rebecca left. When I kissed her goodbye at the airport I whispered lovingly, “I’ll get the damn thing fixed. Don’t worry.”

A computer outfit I’ve used before announced, after examining the patient, that the hard drive was gone. I immediately went in to denial. I had been assured by several computer literate friends who were trying to cheer me up that the data could be recovered. I sided with my friends and brought its lifeless body home.

A friend who truly is a computer wizard – far more wizardy than the computer store, I hope – is making a house call today to examine the body. He exudes confidence with vague generalities, but I fear he is just doing his part to lighten the blow.

I put off giving Rebecca the latest bulletin until last night. I was gentle with her, and continued to maintain a positive outlook. It was when she heard the update that she reached the “You’re Making This Up, Right?” stage. We both choked up, sharing memories and bemoaning the fact we had not taken more pictures.

I pray for a happy ending, for my friend’s confident words of joy to be a reality. Until then, I have wrapped the computer in a pink blanket and am trying to get it to take a few bytes of software.

Think good thoughts.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.