Biting One's Own Tail

...alas, forsooth and herewith. It’s funny how some words stick with you in life. I just happen to like those three words and wanted to use them today, so there they are. They have nothing to do with the rest of this treatise.

I have a cousin who was from Kansas who came to live with my Mom in New England when she was about eighteen or twenty. She was a naturally beautiful girl who took extra efforts to keep her appearance pleasing. She used to always tell me was that she was going to grow her hair long. One thing she always did shortly after making that statement would be to get a haircut. I asked her why she got her hair cut if she was going to grow it long? She said she had to have a good haircut to start. Well she kept telling me how she was going to grow that hair and sure enough, along would come the next haircut. Maybe this is something that I don’t understand. I haven’t seen her in a number of years, but I’m guessing her hair ain’t all that long. I’m the same way about techno-garbage. I always think that once I’ve got the perfect piece of equipment that fulfills all my wildest fantasies and more, that something will happen to force me to move on. My last computer was on the way down that rocky slope and acting kinda shaky. It was years and years old and was already used when I got it free from the corporation that I used to work for. They had it stored in their salvage area where they sell old stuff like computers and such for pennies on the dollar. Yet, it met all my requirements. The problem was that the techno-world was changing around me as it always does. It quickly got so it didn’t have the ‘ummmmph’, memory, or speed to even load in the new software one needs to keep up with our burgeoning internet society. Web sites were starting to treat me as an outcast, a nonconformist...punishing me for not staying with the program as it were. So I gave in and bought a brand new computer to solve all these little problems. Did it solve them? No, it created more problems than I could have ever imagined. Now, none of my ‘old’ peripherals worked...heck, it was the same brand computer and the none of the old plugs fit into the back of the new computer. Over time they had reconfigured them all. And herein lies the crux of my plaint. It was one particular cable that irked me more than anything about the whole upgrade process. I had not long before the transition purchased a scanner that was adequate in nature and did its job just fine. My intent was to just plug it into the new computer and continue on as I had before. But what’s this? There was no place in the new computer to plug in the old scanner. Okay. I’ll buy a cable that will make things work. I go online and Google "SCSI to USB" and come up with a few successful hits. Price...about $76.77. Yikes. Pricey. I Google "USB Scanner" and it gives me $74.75. So, for a few bucks less, and without even shopping around I can get myself a whole new scanner with lots of new bells and whistles that the old one doesn’t have and it has the right cable included. It should make me happy but it doesn’t. Now I have another piece of potential trash sitting on the shelf behind me looking for a comfy nook in the environment somewhere. I know my old computer is a wash because of its age and condition...but the old scanner is so young and has barely earned its bones. I check on Ebay to see what they’re going for... $5.95. I paid over a hundred just a few years back. How can that be? Nonetheless, it is. $5.95. The new scanner is ordered. A few calls and a few pleas later and I find a friend who can use it. He still has SCSI ports, and needs a scanner. The new scanner arrives by one of the popular ground shipping methods and is delivered to the house next door for some reason. It’s left in a big orange plastic bag out in the snow and the people are away on vacation. I found out it was misdelivered after calling to inquire as to its whereabouts. I know there is going to be some technological problems on my near horizon after I install my software and find out it’s alreaady outdated for my computer. Thankfully, the proper software can be downloaded but I am left with doomed feeling that this particular techno-life cycle is going to be short. This new set-up is going to end up in a landfill a lot faster than the old one. It takes ten thousand pounds of raw earth material to make a computer and I’m already feeling guilty about being responsible for wasting that much of our precious blue orb and I think of all the folks in the same position as me with regard to home technology and I start to do the math... I know now that I can’t extend the life of my system by starting fresh every few years. I’m beginning to realize it would be just like trying to grow my hair long by getting a haircut.

J. Jules Vitali is a sculptor, columnist, inadvertent moral philosopher and poet who resides in Freeport, Maine. He is the creator of the art form Styrogami which can be seen on the web at He is also an Artist in Cellophane ( He tries to have fun in life.