Last week I had one of those experiences that can affect your life for a day or longer. My computer crashed. Days later, I am still dealing with the consequences of having to live without a computer. It is not fun.
Fortunately, I have a back-up of the content of my computer, but it takes time to restore the programs, redo the files, and bring your life back to normal again. The problem is, that in the process of living without your main computer, life is disrupted, work that must be done lingers in limbo, processing emails slows down to a crawl, and it takes time to catch up with overdue work.
I still can remember the good old days when people lived without a computer. In those days people did not have to worry about computer crashes or the backlog of emails. Then, if you needed a letter sent or a paper typed, you just gave the material to your secretary and things got done on time, without typos, and with a professional appearance that is lacking in computer-generated emails.
I still remember when the university where I was teaching introduced the faculty to computers. The faculty were told that computers would simplify the workflow, that the office would go paperless, and that secretaries would no longer be needed. Computers would make the faculty more productive, money would be saved, and the work would be done much faster.
The university was right on one thing: secretaries would no longer be needed. Once the first computer was delivered to the faculty, the faculty lost their secretaries and they were left on their own to type their papers and other essential documents.
As a result, the number of typos increased whenever emails and other documents were prepared on computers. The faculty spent more time typing their own papers and writing their own memos. More documents were produced and the idea of the paperless office never became a reality.
In fact, with the advent of the computer and the copying machine, the amount of printed documents that crossed a faculty’s desk increased tenfold. File cabinets became almost nonexistent because documents were kept in computers, not filed for future reference. In order for the institution to become green, emails were never printed but archived for future reference.
Computers, then, became the primary file cabinet for important documents. A history of achievement was kept in various files in the computer. Precious mementos, such as photos, letters, notes to family and friends, all those valuable pieces of memorabilia were kept in the computer.
Then came the crash.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary