Fifty Ways to Leave Your Macintosh

by Owen Hartnett

Much has been written to help beginners on the Macintosh. Articles like "Beginning to use your Macintosh" that have appeared in the magazines and seminars and books all proclaim the sensational ease of use of this powerful computer.

However, no one ever mentions the dark side. No one ever tells how hard it is to stop using a Macintosh. Professional people, our elderly, and even young children are addicts of this narcotic machine.

You don't notice it when you start. It's only "Mousing Around". You see the deliberately pretty pictures on the screen, so you grab the mouse and click. Then it's all over. Your're hooked. Another case for the Macintosh ward. It's called Macintoshosis, and it's deadly.

How do you know you're hooked?

It's no use fooling yourself. Anyone who's ever used a Macintosh is hooked. But of course, you'll need convincing. You need proof that your're an addict. You need to be brought to that shocking realization, that "Yes! This is me!" threshold. This article is just what you need. Below are listed the "Seven Warning Signs of Macintosh Addiction". If you respond yes to one of these, you'll probable respond yes to all and you'll have to admit you're hooked.

Seven Warning Signs of Macintosh Addiction:

  1. Hoarding of Floppy Disks. If you have over 100 3.5" Microfloppy diskettes, your're definitely hooked.
  2. Hoarding of Macintosh Magazines. If you use MacWorld in place of major home furnishings, there's a place for you in the Mac ward.
  3. Stiffening of the Finger Joints (also known as Mouse Hand). On some users, you can spot the mouse tracks on their right hand from miles away.
  4. Bit-Mapped Eyes. Your eyes become a glazed, light blue shade where they used to be white.
  5. Keyboard Lap. Small, permanent depressions just above the knees.
  6. Modem Ears.

    and finally...

  7. Inability to relate to anything non-Macintosh. For example, when you lose your job, you think of it as a bomb alert in your life.

So I'm hooked! So what?

You probably feel like you're on top of the world. You can run Excel, Pagemaker, and Dark Castle together under MultiFinder. But look around you. Look away from the screen for an instant. There's no one else around! That's right, the spouse and kids packed up and moved to Fiji (where computers are somewhat scarce) about two months ago. You've been fired for two months ever since you sent that nasty note (with the digitized picture) to your boss. You haven't been to work in three months anyway and as soon as you finish that box of Twinkies next to your hard disk, you'll be out of food.

What'll I do?

First, take a deep breath. Now, reach behind the machine on the left hand side (right hand if it's a Mac II) and turn your machine off. The switch has probably rusted open from non-use so you might have to apply a litle force.

What happened? The screen's blank. What'll I do now?

Don't panic! Relief is only a switch away. Remember you wanted to go the the bathroom two weeks ago? You can do that now. Try to relax. If you start hitting you head against the wall, turn on your Mac for a few seconds until you feel better. (You'll feel better when you stop hitting you head.)

This is horrible! I can't do this by myself!

It's rare that a true Macintosh aficionado can break away to a normal life again without help. Graham Fatbits, in his book "Stop Me Before I Program Again!", states that he tried to quit cold turkey. This radical adjustment in his lifestyle resulted in severe hair loss from the back of his hands.

Macintosh health-care clinics have been opening in many major cities, particularly on the west coast. You should first check to see if one is nearby. Treatment is fairly standard: four hours of coloring with crayons with one hour of MacPaint, then four hours of watching Scooby-Doo with one our of Dark Castle. Patients usually recover within four to six months sufficiently to rejoin society, but a full two years of treatment is needed to prevent relapses.

How to break it off by yourself:

In spite of the warnings, many Macintosh users attempt it themselves, thus risking permanently bald hands. If you insist on going that route, scan the following list to get advice from experts who have already gone through the Big Chill of quitting the Macintosh.

Ease off a little at a time. Nearly all Macintosh disassociation experts recommend against quitting you Mac cold turkey. An immediate cessation of all Macintosh activities could bring on a stroke, liver disease, or dandruff, according to doctors at the Mayonnaise Clinic.

Maintain a sound diet. Many Macintosh junkies think that they can survive only on Twinkies in the real world. You'd be surprised at how much energy you can burn up when you're not sitting before a computer. There are things like tennis, sports, and a strange ritual known as exercise. Actually, non-computer people eat a variety of well-balanced foods, and most of them derive great pleasure from eating, as unbelievable as it sounds. Sure it's nothing like writing an insanely great database, but to each his own.

Television. You know what allegedly normal people do when they come home from work? They watch something called television. This is kind of like a computer except it doesn't take any sort of input whatsoever, and continually spews out low-resolution graphics, often of a quite juvenile nature.

Develop some outside interests. It is very important to keep you mind off your Macintosh addiction, and the best way is to occupy it with other thoughts. Literally dozens of activites are available that should get you mind off your Mac completely, for example: Playing forward for the Boston Celtics, Writing celebrity gossip for the supermarket tabloids, or Entering Korean Politics.

Beware of imitation brands. Antoine "QuickDraw" Schwist, a Macophile who left the flock, traded in his Mac for an computer, broke his hand the first week reaching out for a mouse that wasn't there, ruined fourteen 5 1/4" flloppies by sticking them in his shirt pocket, and then went blind looking for a cloverleaf key on his keyboard.

"Virtual Macintosh." Remember the term "virtual slots?" That's when they told you didn't need slots in you Mac because the serial ports allowed you to connect stuff that would act just like a slot. Remember how you believed them? Well, now you have to believe in a "virtual Macintosh," which isn't really there, but you can use it. Pretend there's a Macintosh up you sleeve or down your pants (slacks) leg. If you believed in "virtual slots," you've got to fall for "virtual Macintosh coming soon to the Macintosh office near you."

The most important thing is one of attitude. You have to learn to block the Macintosh out of your thoughts. This really takes years of restraint and personal sacrifice. Wait, what's this? MacConnection has what in stock? For how much? Of course, I'll get it! Let me see, 1-800...

From Uptime Disk Monthly, Vol. 2, No. 7.