How is it that something so cheap, like root beer, can destroy something so expensive, like my computer? What is the fairness in that? If computers are so fragile, why don’t people write more poetry about the fleeting, ephemeral nature of the computer? Why don’t poets write more poems about the triumphant victory of the little soda against the expensive machine?

How is it that Gary Kasparov can’t beat a computer when a tiny little stream of sugar-water can? My computer is like a character in an M. Night Shyamalan movie, where the plots, for some reason, hinge on a protagonist’s unlikely weakness for liquids. One day, you are the “Unbreakable” guy, invincible to everything, the next day you find out that even the briefest encounter with water can be deadly. The all-powerful, technologically-advanced space aliens in “Signs” probably thought earth was theirs until some kid with a water gun dissolved them. My computer is another Wicked Witch of the West. It made lots of whiny noises during its meltdown.

Here’s another page M-Night steals from L-Frank: the familiarity with dead people. Haley Joel Osment had the excuse of having spent his whole life getting acclimated to the spirits, but Dorothy just walked right up and plundered a dead old woman’s corpse. I don’t care how nice the shoes were, would that make sense from someone who was afraid of practically everything else?

What can I learn from the destruction of my computer? I now completely understand what must have been running through Goliath’s head as David’s stone was coursing towards him. In that moment of lucidity before his death, Goliath was probably thinking of all the careless errors he used to make on math tests in middle school and how those errors made him so frustrated. In the end, Goliath, it’s the little things that get you.

But I imagine Goliath couldn’t have been more than two or three times bigger than David, whereas my computer costs the equivalent of about five hundred root beers. Five hundred doesn’t seem like very many root beers, actually. I’ve probably drunk two or three computers worth of root beer in my time in college, but, then again, my hindsight is better than my regular sight.

Destroying computers really makes you reevaluate your life. I was really depressed for at least an hour. Destroying your computer is like having someone you barely know call you a mediocre person. Those kinds of little comments hurt a lot more than being called a huge asshole. I had to think back over my life and all the mistakes I had made along the way, all the little things I wished I could go back and change. For example, why did I jump up to Gold League baseball when I was ten instead of staying another season in Blue League? That decision changed the course of a young man’s life. The loss of my computer also makes me wonder why my life isn’t going anywhere, why I have no future prospects to speak of, and why my existence is spent wallowing in a black pit of tar. Maybe one day I will have a nice cubicle job where they will give me my own computer for free.

Another bad thing about destroying your computer is that all these people come up to you and tell you their wonderful computer-on-life-support success stories. For example, “I spilled half a gallon of coffee, with cream and sugar, on my computer, but I just let it dry and everything was fine.” Why? Is there something particularly toxic about root beer? I didn’t even spill that much, just a mouthful maybe. Should I feel better knowing that people spill on their computers all the time and that mine happens to be the only one that dies?

These computer companies could really make our lives much easier. Why don’t they put a little layer of plastic under the keyboard of a laptop to protect the circuitry? I actually had a dream about this question after I destroyed my computer, but the answer was unsatisfactory. Another thing that has always frustrated me: why do computers and computer programs have to take a really long to time to start up and only seconds to turn off? I guess delaying pleasure is what makes us human. Why does destroying my computer put me into such a funk, anyway?

I have held on to some shreds of hope. I have removed the innards of my computer and left it drying upside down on my desk. But this rescue effort was probably doomed from the start. My computer has yet to show any signs of life and the alt and ctrl keys are stuck fast. The battery charging light does come on, though.

Andrew Smeall is not compatible with Steve and Zander.