Yes, I know, it’s late September, Christmas is a few months away, but I need your attention about a few items that are very important to my livelihood. So, if at all possible, I would humbly hope to see some essential technologies under my tree on Christmas Eve, or anytime, actually, during Christmas week.
You’ll be swamped with wish lists the last few weeks before the holiday, so I’m getting out in front of the rush. Here’s my problem. I have two older computers — one for research and the other for my writing deadlines.
I write some stories as a journalist, but mostly I write serious research papers for a living. My MacBook allows access to scholarly databases, but for some crazy reason it won’t print the materials I dig up. This started in mid-July.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Tribune
My HP does allow me to successfully send print
instructions to my laser printer, but it won’t let me access the peer-reviewed databases that I absolutely need. So, I’ve been locating the materials on my MacBook, then emailing the articles I need for my research papers from my MacBook over to my HP, so I can print them.
On occasion, I use a memory stick to pull scholarly articles from the MacBook and post them on my HP desktop, ready for printing. By the way, Santa, my printer is working fine, so no problem there.
In my work, I need hard copies so I can put my vivid yellow highlighters to good use. Certain passages, quotes, and data found in a 25-page scholarly research piece jump out at me when branded by that wildly yellow flush.
Hey Santa, I’ll bet your digital technologies up there where you live don’t cause exasperation to you or Mrs. Claus like mine here in California. So, please hear my sincere petition, and if you can’t present me with improved equipment, could you send one of your technology-trained elves to Cambria to bail me out of this technology morass?
Send anyone, but if you could accomplish this by Christmas, wow, I’d be your number one fan sir. Oh, did I forget to mention that I spilled coffee on my HP keyboard in April this year, so I have a temporary keyboard placed (shakily) on top of the original keyboard?
It’s awkward though necessary for sure, but I have to hit the spacebar twice as hard as I am accustomed to hitting it — otherwise, words stick together like rogue insects to flypaper.
For example, when I write betterequipment, that’s a bit hard to read, right? It is a majorbummer Santa, albeit I’m glad I can still earn a living wage. But what a colossal hassle! I know you understand.
But wait, Santa; let me back up a bit. I just turned off my HP (it overheats often and needs an hourly rest) and turned my TV on to CNN. Do you get the news up there? The humanitarian crisis in Europe and the Middle East is a heart-wrenching calamity.
Tears started down my face when I witnessed images of tens of thousands, indeed hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding into Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Germany and elsewhere in Europe, seeking sanity and a safe home.
Some arrive in dangerously overcrowded boats from war-ravaged Libya and from Syria through Turkey.
They are desperate. They escape from the carnage of civil war and the unconscionable slaughter of innocents by bloodthirsty savages hiding behind perverted religiosity.
Fears associated with the unthinkable atrocities committed by ISIS — noted for chopping people’s heads off, raping women and blowing up irreplaceable antiquities — have contributed to a mass exodus from those regions.
On CNN today I saw panicking refugees jammed like sardines onto trains and buses, being given identification numbers on their hands, and taken to holding pens while barbed-wire barricades are being set up to keep the flood of humans out of several countries. I also saw Hungarian police beating refugees mercilessly. Blood flowed from a small child’s face.
It’s beyond distressing; its shades of World War II. The photo on the front page of the Los Angeles Times shows refugees splashing ashore in Greece following an overcrowded boat trip from Turkey. Four million refugees have fled war and terror in Syria and Libya, the Times reports.
Now that my HP is cooled down and I can finish this letter, Santa, I sincerely apologize for interrupting your charitable preparations for this year’s Christmas with my selfish wish list and this grim missive.
Instead of helping me with my inconsequential digital issues — juxtaposed against the frantic, unending wave of humans seeking shelter and peace in foreign lands — please turn your attention to whatever you can do to ease the pain for the masses of fleeing innocents.
They don’t need computers, Santa. They need compassion, food, warmth and a place to call home. A wink and a nod from you, plus a little smile from Dasher, Dancer — or even Rudolph — would go a long way toward soothing troubled spirits. Hope hangs in the balance.
Sincerely, John FitzRandolph, Cambria, California, USA.