While I am on the subject of machines we deal with daily in the office and the overwhelming temptations they inspire in us to discharge large bore shotguns in their direction when they malfunction or consume time which would otherwise be billable for reason or reasons unknown to any but the most technologically sophisticated or those with psychic powers, let me mention my Computer. Hmm. I didn’t capitalize that. I wonder what happened? Operating the key to shift the case doesn’t seem to do anything. Never mind. I’ll just keep writing.

My Computer is beautiful. It is also powerful. I praise it, because it is undoubtedly aware that I am writing about it – I know it is. If I were to say what I really thought about it, I would have to go to another Computer to set down any grievances, because my Computer would unquestionably and expediently shut down spontaneously and refuse to function. It would have to be specially caressed, reconfigured and repaired by someone who is on vacation. In Fiji. For three weeks. Just a moment, while I move to another Computer.

There. Now I am at another terminal, free to say whatever it is that I want to say about my computer. My computer is generally reliable albeit somewhat finicky. It sometimes loses whole or partial documents that are facing a deadline of an hour or less. This is just one of its genuine perversities. It also disagrees with me about matters of English grammar, and will not accept abbreviations which I put into it, which causes me to have to retype them several times, whilst the computer changes them back. Hollering does no good. I suspect that my computer is just playing with me when it does this, but perhaps it is seriously in need of a vacation itself.

My computer also claims not to be able to remember passwords which I have told it over and over again, and discourteously ejects me from such programs as WestLaw, and worse, Lexulous claiming that it does not know who I am. Whenever my computer takes it into its circuitry to have one of these little techno-tantrums, I have to ask for help. The advice from those who understand such things as software, which is called software because of its tendency to reduce the tensile quality of my brain to a piece of ripe Brie, is inevitably … hey, what happened? N *y ssgggg vvnn (( >>

That other machine’s keyboard must have malfunctioned. It figures. Hence, I have relocated to the desk of a long-departed paralegal, logged in and started up again. This consumed a whopping point five, something I can ill afford to lose, especially if I want to follow the IT guy to Fiji. In any event, my computer seems to be as vulnerable to fatigue as I am. Sometimes, in the morning, it starts up as quickly and reliably as my Subaru, and is ready for anything. Other times, however, it takes as many as 17 minutes to display the log-on screen. E-mail access takes another 10 minutes. I would insert some No-Doz into the hard drive, but … it’s a machine! It is not supposed to get tired. At least it is not supposed to dawdle during start-up, bleary and distracted, dragging its feet at every phase of the ignition; that is a function reserved for the computer operator. These malfunctions make me want to eat several pounds of Hershey’s kisses with almonds and pull fistfuls of hair out of my head. I occasionally fantasize about pouring a cup of coffee onto the keyboard and gleefully watching as the computer struggles for its li….

Hey … is that an overhead page?…

Damn. We have to shut down for 20 minutes while they do something to the server.

Amy F. Goodusky, a former paralegal, rock ‘n’ roll singer and horseback riding instructor, is of counsel at O’Brien, Tanski & Young in Hartford.