Dusty Data

During a dull day at work, the smallest bit of humor can bring relief, even when it’s due to an anachronistic discovery.

But I’ll get to that in a moment. After all, I’ve got to make a short story long.

My current job consists of working in a communications role in a legislative office. Some of the writing I get to do is even quite interesting.

Over the last two weeks, though, it’s been all about getting the office ship-shape. Call it an early spring cleaning. (Not that spring seems like it will ever arrive, as temperatures keep diving far too close to absolute zero.)

You see, my office was supposed to be shut down for a couple days during the holidays for a quick carpet replacement. Instead, it was closed for two full weeks for asbestos remediation.

Fortunately, I suppose, this inconvenience came at the same time that my wife was admitted to the hospital. I was out of the office, so I didn’t have to deal with being relocated temporarily to another office.

Upon our return to the office, we discovered that the new carpeting looked fantastic.

On the other hand, boxes of books were strewn about. Furniture was waiting to be moved. And everything was covered in dust. Even the dust bunnies were sneezing. Have you ever seen a dust bunny sneeze? It’s not as cute as it sounds.

It was an asthma attack waiting to happen.

Still, we decided to tackle the cleanup. Hundreds of law books, three-ring binders, and other information had to be re-shelved.

It was a pain in the neck. And arms. Some of those law books are h-e-a-v-y. Seriously, why do we need a gigantic summary of legislation from 1976? (But then, I’m a communications guy… not an attorney.)

However, relief came when I opened the umpteenth box, and this fell out:

Haven't seen one of these in decades!

The 80’s called. They want their data back.

I chuckled a bit when I saw it, and I’ll admit it brought back memories of the clicks, whirs, and grinding of a disk drive. Or even the unique sound of tapping on the keyboard of the first computer I ever used – an ol’ TRS-80. (Look it up kiddos.)

I showed it to my boss. She laughed even louder.

“We should get it framed,” she said. “Hang it on the wall.”

Sure, I thought. It might serve as a quaint reminder of a technologically simpler time.

I think, though, she meant it should be preserved as a historical artifact.

Geez. Am I that old?

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