Anxiety Good Time Bad Time Cartoon Posted November 26, 2021

I bought a vintage 486 Packard Bell computer earlier this year.

It had the exact specifications I remembered as a kid. 400 MB hard drive. 50 MHz processor. 4 MB ram. 1 MB video memory. Windows 3.1. I can tell you when those gigantic boxes came, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. My heart was pounding as it took me and my wife over an hour to set the computer up. My anticipation only grew as the bootup took several minutes. Eventually, I was face-to-face with the exact interface I used to play with.

Yes!! SkiFree!

Nice! My old floppies still work.

Alright... Paintbrush...

I really spent $500 on this...

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the excitement to fade. I decided to upgrade the machine to Windows 95, which ended up becoming a much bigger hassle than I anticipated. If anything went wrong back in the day and you couldn't write an expression that made other programmers cry blood, you had one massive paperweight on your hands. Thankfully I was able to install the OS and connect to the internet, where pages loaded literally bytes at a time. A medium-sized image? Fifteen minutes. A song? Three hours. A whole app? Hope you weren't expecting any calls for the rest of the day. As hard as it is to believe, people once had the patience for this stuff. Nowadays, I'll throw a fit if there's even a slight buffer in my 4K gaming stream.

This made me take pause and consider the number of changes that have occurred in my lifetime. I could remember when ordering something would take six to eight weeks to arrive. Now Amazon can get your packages to you on the same day. The first time this happened, I thought it was a prank. I could also remember when you couldn't get every kind of fresh produce year-round. Places like McDonalds and Speedway just had regular coffee. Missing an episode of your favorite TV show meant it was simply gone from your life. If you wanted to do any kind of research, you either had to go to the library or shell out for books and magazines. And services like Google or Wikipedia – where everything you ever wanted to know was freely available – was stuff of science fiction.

But that doesn't mean life has gotten any simpler. Whenever I hear about older people and how they had better job security with cheaper education, I can't shake the feeling that the rest of us got hoodwinked Pinocchio style. It's all fun and games until someone must pay up. Behind our ever-expanding selection of affordable comforts available on-demand is a stressed, exhausted, underpaid worker on the other side trying to make it happen. For many of us, we are also that person.

Over the years, we just kinda accepted living these double lives... where one gets treated like scum and the other gets pampered like a rock star. Over the years, we just kinda accepted how Amazon rides their warehouse workers to the point of exhaustion and how Uber drivers get paid next to nothing to keep their rides affordable. Sure, we may occasionally get angry about it, but their profits still continue reach new heights. Sure, we may occasionally complain about Facebook's questionable business practices, but only on the platform itself. The power to shut it all down is ours, but only if we are willing to make sacrifices for it.

That means refusing to buy the device made from slave labor. That means accepting lower-quality goods and slower service from a place that treats their workers better. To anyone with even the faintest aspirations of making the world a better place, ask yourself – would you be willing to exercise that level of selflessness, or would you cave into the urge to keep up with what your life should look like? In your final chapter when you stand before the Lord to give an account of what you did... will you show him your shell collection or all the things that count for eternity?

I want you to at least think about it before braining someone with a TV this Black Friday. Here's a video that came with my old computer...