Love and PCs: The Retro Mac that Blew My Mind

Apple Macintosh PowerBook 180c laptop computer (circa 1993). Note the "Happy Mac" symbol on display.

The first time I ever touched a computer (as far as I can recall) was when I was the tender age of 7 in my mom's friend's apartment. It was a early 90's Macintosh PowerBook; clunky, monochrome, pathetic by today's standards. But at the same time, this newly presented piece of technology was to me, perfectly exhilarating. I was completely and utterly in love.

Sparks flew from my pudgy little fingers as I navigated through the rudimentary operating system, baffled at how files within folders could be stored into other folders and into infinity. There was no mouse, only a difficult-to-use trackpad that included a little rubber tip in the middle, which my mom's friend affectionately referred to as "the nipple." He was a computer programmer, and explained to me that while this machine was revolutionary for the time, that computers were only really getting started. Pretty soon they would play more games, have larger screens with colour, and would all one day be able to connect to a single network, making everyone with a computer accessible to each other. I didn't know it, but it was one of the single-most profound epiphanies I'd had during my brief life so far.

I was then turned on to my second realization, that videogames are addictive. The only non-boring program on that PowerBook was Shufflepuck Café, a game where you challenge a series of players of varying skill level in a gritty, dimly-lit public house. Now in retrospect, I enjoyed those games of air hockey immeasurably as a Canadian. I played that game more than I'd like to admit, and never was able to fully beat "Biff" (the beefy angry dude in the far right) without using cheats.

A seed was planted in my child's mind that one day computers would have extraordinary functions and applications, would contain every book and piece of human knowledge in a virtual, infinitely vast non-physical space. This was the future.

Eventually, computers could take over the world. After all, that computer and that game had become MY world.

More than twenty years later, I have long since developed a very complex and irrevocable love affair and dependency with computing systems. The experience of first siting and spending so many hours with this machine still resonate with me today, as a writer and as a human being.

I'd like to end this little story of sentimentality with the final message that my love for Apple had been conceived then and there. I have since been a Macintosh devotee and support all things iOS.