Take Good Care of My Baby
A Unique Perspective on His Survival by Stroke Survivor and Comedian John Kawie
When a repairman says, “Here’s the situation....” I usually freeze up and brace myself for the worst. However, when I heard the bad news about my old MacBook Pro laptop, I was more flabbergasted than frozen.
By old I don’t mean drugstore-reading-glasses-middle-age old. I’m talking assisted-living-where’s-my-medication old. Today’s technology makes my Mac seem like a mutant Etch-A-Sketch that haphazardly sprouted a keyboard. But I think its simplicity is beautiful. I also think Bob Dylan sings better than Wayne Newton, so to each his own.
Sure, the screen flickers like strobe lights at an ELO concert, it crashes more than Evil Knievel, and the hard drive is louder than a Harley. These quirks are a source of amusement to my geeky computer friends who view anything older than five months as an artifact in the lava lamp category: useless, quaint and immediate dumpster material. I’ve tried to let go, but we have history. It anticipates where I’m going. It knows where I’ve been... my searches, my bookmarks. Besides, I have fevered visions of it lying lonely on the bottom of a recycling bin only to eventually be crushed in a compactor with its keys spitting out like the teeth of a washed-up prizefighter.
Then one day I pressed “start” and nothing happened. No matter what key I hit, Mac never woke up.
I immediately sprang into action and curled up into a fetal position hoping it would get better. Well, it didn’t. I called Apple’s 1-800-Dial-A-Prayer. A robo-voice said that someone would help me as soon as they finished serving the entire population of China. Finally, an Apple shaman got on and recommended a simple, foolproof spell that required pressing a nutso combination of keys all at the same time: option, command, shift and the start button. Simple? Try doing that one-handed. With the help of desperation and a #2 pencil stuck between my teeth I pecked and pressed them all. Nothing. It was as unresponsive as my first girlfriend.
So, I cabbed it to the Soho Apple store and was ushered to their Genius Bar. For those not using a computer named after a fruit, this is Apple’s version of an emergency room minus the gurneys, IVs, and oversized flat-screen playing an endless loop of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.”
Their doctors are tattooed millennial hipsters wearing camouflage cargo shorts sporting Smith Brothers cough-drop beards with Crayola® Crayon dyed hair.
Normally I prefer a more mature physician with seasoned experience. But today I wanted youth and I got Tony, “Wild Watermelon” coif and all. He gave it to me straight, “Here’s the situation…” The rest was unintelligible tech-speak so I’ll translate: “Electricity from the power cord was not reaching the logic board rendering it lifeless.”
Man, this sounded familiar. Replace “electricity” with blood, “power-cord” with artery, “logic-board” with brain and … OH MY GOD, MY COMPUTER HAD THE SAME EXACT STROKE I HAD, A DISSECTED CAROTID ARTERY!!
In an instant, I went from stroke survivor to caregiver. I can’t be a caregiver ... I’m a care-receiver! Have been for 20 years. Stroke survivors are delicate, complicated, the orchids of the rehab forest. Knee replacements? They’re the weeds. Let them be the caregivers.
However, there comes a time when duty calls. “Hey you,” duty says, “stop whining!” So, I did, and had a private moment with Mac before Tony took him into the workshop. “No worries, buddy; I’ll be here when you get out.” And so my life as a caregiver began.