Jason’s computer kept running slower and slower. When he turned it on in the morning, it took a long time to wake up. He checked it for viruses, but couldn’t find any. “I guess I’ll have to take it in. It’s a good thing my laptop is still working fine, or I’d get nothing done,” he told his wife.
“I hope they can fix her,” she said. “She’s always been such a good computer.”
“She?” Jason said. “It’s a computer, not a cat.”
The next day, Jason took the computer in to the electronics store. “Hey, my computer is running slow, but doesn’t seem to have any viruses. Can you help me?” he asked the man at the tech support counter.
“Sure, put her here on the counter,” the man said.
“Her?” Jason said.
“Yes, she looks like she’s a good girl. I’ll just check and make sure there aren’t any loose connections,” the man said.
The man fiddled around with this and that for a while. “Oh, here’s the problem,” he said. He held out his hand. Sitting in the palm of his hand was a little metal cube.
“What is it? Jason asked. “Dice have little dots on them, so it’s not that.”
“It’s a baby computer,” the man said. “Your computer is a mama.”
“Computers don’t have babies,” Jason said. “They’re made in a factory.”
The man laughed. “That’s a good one. My mom always said that babies were born in cabbages.”
Jason waited for the man to say just kidding. Of course computers don’t have babies. That’s ridiculous. The man didn’t say that. Instead he was patting Jason’s computer and saying things like aren’t you such a good girl, and you’re going to take good care of your baby, aren’t you?
Jason sighed. He might as well go along with it. For now. “So, how do I take care of a baby computer?”
The man smiled. “You’ll need to make him a nest of microfiber wipes and keep him next to his mom. She’ll feed him while he’s small.”
“Him?” Jason asked.
“It’s a boy, congratulations,” the man said.
“Thank you,” Jason said. “He’s going to grow, then?”
“Oh yes,” the man said. “He’ll be a pedometer before you know it. You’ll have to take him on regular walks of course, so that he gets all the exercise he needs as a growing computer.”
“I suppose he’ll be a calculator after that,” Jason said.
The man beamed. “That’s right. You’ll still have to change his batteries, of course. But don’t worry, he’ll grow a cord soon enough. They don’t stay little long.”
“But I’ve had the same calculator for years. Calculators don’t grow,” Jason said.
“Have you been feeding him plenty of complex equations? If you’re not feeding him well, of course he won’t grow.” The man frowned and held the little cube close to his chest. “Are you sure you’re responsible enough to own a computer?”
“Of course I am,” Jason said. “I brought her in when she wasn’t running well, didn’t I?”
The man nodded slowly. “I suppose that’s true. Bring your calculator in and I’ll check him and see if I can find out what the problem is.”
“Okay,” Jason said. “Where would I find the microfiber wipes?”
“Aisle three.” The man pointed to a sign hanging from the ceiling not far away. “You’ll need at least eight, so that you always have some on hand. They have to be washed rather frequently.” He leaned in and lifted an eyebrow. “Dust.” He nodded and leaned back.
Jason found the wipes and came back. The bill was sizeable. Who knew that he’d need maternity insurance for his computer? Well, his wife would be happy, anyway. She’d been so sad when their youngest started Kindergarten. Now they’d have another baby in the house. At least this one wouldn’t wake everyone up at three in the morning. Jason eyed the little cube. Well, at least he hoped not.