RW194 - The World According to Roderick

This week, Dan and John talk about:

John is doing just groovy. Everything is going just fine, mostly. The same is true for Dan.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John’s health is doing fine (RW194)

For a long time John didn’t have complete confidence in his health, but because he never thought of himself as an anxious person he never attributed the fact that he doesn’t have complete confidence in his health to anxiety until he brought it up now. He was laying in bed this morning, half asleep, and the thought occurred to him that maybe he is in fine health. He is living a path where he eats whatever he wants whenever he wants, he exercises regularly enough, he never had any major illnesses, he bobbles along, and since the quarantine he hasn’t gotten sick and he hasn’t gotten any common colds from anybody.

John feels a little bit of malaise at all times and might have a low grade infection going, a constant one that he had since he was nine, and a minor little mental illness, which Dan thinks is his claim to fame. Early on in the book and the movie The World According to Garp he is in the process of buying a home for him and his wife, they are looking at a house and they are not totally sure about it, and as they stand out on the front lawn looking at the house, a small Cessna plane crashes into it and he turns to the real estate agent and says: ”We will take it!” and his wife and the real estate agent are both shocked and say: ”What are you talking about?” - ”It is disaster-proofed already! You are never going to have something like that happen twice!”

Dan’s theory is that the reason why John is in such good health and why he can go on a cruise during COVID-19 and have no effect is that he already got this thing that he is schlepping around on his shoulders that is enough for one man and he doesn't need to be burdened with anything else. John cannot think that is true because he knows so many other people that have some of his burdens and also additional burdens, and it is not as random as having a Cessna crash into your house.

John drinking yesterday’s coffee (RW194)

John is drinking yesterday's coffee that he heated in the microwave, but he didn't quite heat it long enough to make it all the way as hot as he would like it. It is a little bit of yesterday's lukewarm coffee. Dan feels like that is John’s punishment for using yesterday's coffee. Either of Dan’s kids, if they bump their elbow into the wall, if they trip, if they stub their toe, if they drop something, he always says: ”That is God punishing you!”, he is leaning into that more recently, and what they are being punished for is up to them to figure out. It is between them and God. Dan is becoming a Jewish mother, step by step.

John needing more alone time (RW194)

John’s daughter now can't play with her friends because their parents have all flouted quarantine, so she is here with no escape valve and she is climbing the walls. It is happening right at a time when John has been going along pretty well with everybody, living here in the spare bedroom, not needing or getting any real alone time, except for when after everyone goes to sleep he wanders the halls like the Phantom of the Opera. He gets alone time at night, but not really and he was used to a lot more space and reflective hours. He hasn’t seemed to need it for the last several months because the quarantine had a novelty to it and we were all in this ship together and ”Let's work on our times tables!” or whatever.

But in the last week to 10 days John has suddenly needed about 20% more time where someone is not physically climbing on him and punching him in the neck. He has just needed a little bit less company and it is much harder for him to find it now, especially relative to the decade that he had all of that time and space that he needed and more in abundance. The last few days he hasn't been down in his ravine and hasn’t had the time alone that has been his working time, and yesterday he just said: ”I am going to my room!”, the room he has in his daughter’s mother’s house that is all his worldly possessions.

John went in and shut the door and laid down on the bed and his daughter left him alone for ten minutes and then cracked open the door and said: ”You have been in here for ten minutes!” - ”Out! I need more than 10 minutes!” - ”I will be back in ten minutes!” and every 10 minutes she rang the bell: ”It has been 20 minutes!” - ”It hasn't been 20 minutes because you bothered me at 10 minutes and it all reset resets!” - ”When you are done being alone, will you come out and look at this LEGO tower that I built?” - ”It reset again!” The walls are starting to close in, but in the smallest possible way! He has not had a reignite of any real problems.

John worrying about people who have a hard time with quarantine (RW194)

John really worries about people that have a tenuous sobriety or are hanging on by a thread or are in a period or time in their life where they were already struggling going into this, and for whom this quarantine isn't a healthy state while on top of that they had some other thing going on that was a danger. If John were still drinking and doing drugs, this quarantine would be not very good because there is nothing a drunk wants more than an excuse to just sit and drink all day. Why not start drinking at 10am, especially if you don't ever have anywhere to be?

Those people are not complaining, they are not the ones that are like: ”Open up! I need to get back to the world!”, but as long as the supermarket sells booze… Their quarantine is not a clean room and John is always worried about alcoholics and drug addicts. Going to an online AA meeting is a challenge. It is a challenge to go to a meeting in a church basement, but it is a real challenge to go to an AA meeting on the computer and feel the connection you need to feel.

People looking for an excuse to drink (RW194)

John doesn’t know what it is like to be an extrovert who can't stand this. He can't imagine wanting right now to go to a bar. All the people that are like: ”We need to go to the bar! Come on! Break the quarantine! How can you live without the bars?”, while John feels like this is such a gift and he never has to go to a bar.

Dan used to work in a grocery store. There is usually an entire aisle devoted to beer and there are usually multiple aisles devoted to wine, no matter if that is Target, convenience stores, 7-Elevens, gas stations, they all sell alcohol. Then you got liquor stores that sell everything alcohol. Dan’s observation is that it is not difficult if you wanted to buy alcohol and you are of age, that you can do it, you can find it, it is anywhere and everywhere that you want to go. It is more prevalent than gasoline because you cannot buy gasoline at the grocery store, but you can buy alcohol at the gasoline store. It is not everywhere that sugary pop is.

You can buy Coca-Cola more places than alcohol. Dan’s thought on this is: If he wants to buy alcohol, he can get it easy, anywhere, and cheap too! From where he is right now it would take him 5 minutes, including locking up and going down to the truck and driving there. It might be a 10 minute walk just walking. Same for John, he would have to walk 10 minutes. This always shocks Dan: Any times people find out that there is going to be beer at a place it becomes a next level hang-out. Not even free beer, just there will be beer. This is true for full-grown, 30 and 40 something year old people for whom this could be the deciding factor and the reason that they go to the place at all. For them it is: ”We are having a barbecue!” - ”You are going to beer there?” - ”Yeah!” - ”I'll come out!”

Dan has never understood why the presence of alcohol at a place is such a draw. If he is going somewhere, he is going because the people that he wants to see are there, the thing he wants to get is there, the music that he wants to hear is going to be played live there. The fact that there is alcohol there doesn't change whether or not he wants to go, and it doesn't increase or decrease the likelihood that he is going to go somewhere.

For a lot of people, this is a real thing and the problem they had in Texas when things re-opened was that people lost their minds and all went to the bars. All the local news-stories right now are about: ”They opened the bars, and that means we can go. They wouldn't open it if it wasn't cool to do it, and then I good COVID and now I am really sick!” There are five stories like this every day of poor, unsuspecting, innocent people who had to flock to a bar that had 500 people in it and are now sick. Why did they think it was okay to go?

Their governor said they had to open things up and Dan understands that and he is not going to get into a debate of whether he was right or not because he doesn't fly in those circles, but for the people who went out to the bars: ”Shame on you for going to the bars, whether they opened them or not legally. That is on you as the individual, just because they are open doesn't mean you have to go!” What is so irresistible about a bar that hundreds of people are going and are now getting sick and we are now having the highest contagion rates that we have ever had in Texas because they opened this stuff up. You want to hook up with somebody? You can do that on Tinder really easily, so it can't just be that.

John can only speak for people who have a problem with alcohol because he doesn’t understand what it is like to be someone who doesn't have a problem with alcohol. He never had that experience. He knew those people, they were around, you could point to them and say: ”Seems like that person doesn't have a problem with alcohol. They came and they had a couple of drinks and they went home and they went to work in the morning!” You can have a problem with alcohol and not be an alcoholic, but if you have a problem with alcohol, one of the big challenges in your day is to find a reason to drink because it is the rare person who has given up so entirely that they no longer feel like they need to offer anyone a reason to drink, even to themselves.

This is the whole business of: ”You don't drink before noon!” as though noon is a reason to drink. It is generally and widely accepted as a time when you have a reason to drink. It is part of the whole culture of drinking and doing drugs that you say: ”Well, I lost my job and so I have really earned a drink!” or: ”I got a new job. I have earned a drink!” You are putting alcohol in place of both celebrating and mourning, and going to the bar is a circular excuse generator because you don't go to the bar for the drink, you go to the bar to see your friends, you go to the bar to hear a band, you go to the bar to socialize and that is where the life is and you go there to live.

But then once you are there, well, you are in a bar and it is a reason to drink. It is not that you go there to drink and the band is secondary, but you go there to see the band, and then you also have a reason to drink. In reality, seeing the band or anything else you do is to have a reason to drink. That is what people who have a problem with alcohol are experiencing. The problem with being sequestered is gradually that you don't have to offer anyone a reason to drink, unless you are in quarantine with a spouse and that spouse does not have a problem with alcohol, and every time you go to the refrigerator they say: ”You are not getting a drink, are you?”, which is going to be a real marriage ender for some people.

People that don't have a problem with alcohol, why would you go to a bar rather than go to a museum, unless it is that dating is easier because alcohol is a disinhibiting agent and maybe you don't have confidence unless you had a couple of belts under. This all feels like some stuff that you read in a 1950s Playboy: ”Have a drink! Loosen up!”

The other night John was working on a genealogy project that just occurred to him to work on. He worked on it well into the night and he realized later that there is something very middle-aged about staying up all night and working on a genealogy project. He was discovering interesting things, and imagining he was 25 and you sat him down and told him all these things he would have been like: ”Oh cool, cool!”, but if you said: ”Join me tonight at the genealogy library or go to the bar!” it would have been a harder sell than it is now.

Now he would much rather work on a genealogy project than for instance watch TV. It is a diversion in the same way that watching TV is and John is all the way to a kind of middle age where even watching TV is no competition, even watching a great new thing or a classic movie, to going online and sitting with a pad and piece of paper and writing down timelines of people who died 400 years ago.

The fact that the quarantine is working so well for him gives abundant evidence that he is well on the way to being a granddad in all the spirit. If he smoked he would have migrated to being a pipe smoker by now. That is maybe the last refuge of the 1950s Playboy in him because in 1955 all those guys that were smoking pipes and wearing velvet jackets, they were all trying to be in their 50s when they were in their 20s, but John stopped trying to be in his 20s definitely and resolutely.

John’s social life used to be very gang related. He had a big gang, they knew each other, and people in the gang were getting into projects with each other, collaborating, they were sleeping with each other, you would walk down the street and you would see people you knew, people from rival gangs, and you would all meet up. It was almost never that all 10 people were in the room together, but in groups of between three and five you were meeting up every day and be in the geyr. John used to go to a bar and would know half the people in the bar, just because he knew half the people in the town, it felt like.

Now John doesn’t know anybody. If he walks around CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) there is no-one there who knows him, John doesn't know anybody there, and that is his old neighborhood. It would really be lame to be 22 right now and be asked to entertain yourself doing a genealogy project. If he were in his 20s and this had happened he would have probably flouted the quarantine or at least been quarantined with an ever-expanding circle of friends where it was first 10 of them, then 20, and pretty soon 400 of them because everybody has one friend that isn’t friends with the group so it starts expanding outward.

John being on a genealogy project finding out about his immigrant ancestors (RW194)

John wants to go back in his own genealogy, which is fairly well documented, and find the immigrants, the people who made the journey. He got all these people that have been in America a long time, but in each one of these family lines there had to have been the person or couple who boarded the boat somewhere and arrived here. He thought that this will be an easy project because he just goes back, reading the information, and it should be pretty easy to figure out: If you were born in Lancashire and you died in Virginia, you are the one who made the trip.

It started with the idea that John wanted to go back and see who his relatives were at the beginning of the civil war, and where they all were. He has a lot of forebears who are in the South during the Confederacy. There were a lot of his family who would have been Southerners at that time and he wanted to go back and see who they were and what they were doing and picture his relationship to the Civil War from the perspective of actually putting a name to everyone in his family and where they were at the time.

John’s mom's people were all Northerners and his father's people were all southerners in 1860 and John wanted to be mapping that. Then he thought he should find the immigrants first and then follow their path. In doing so he realized that his father's father's father and his wife emigrated from Wales in 1860 and it was pretty easy to to find the line there because he didn't emigrate from Wales and marry someone here, but they both emigrated from Wales without knowing each other and then they met and married once they were in America.

They were both in their early or mid teenage years when they got here and they were probably living in some Welsh diaspora and met within it. In tracing the other branches of his family, almost all of them have been in America for a long time, and going back with each successive generation the number of relatives just expands in a crazy way and now he was dealing with 64 people, 128 people, and unfortunately a lot of John’s people arrived in America a long time ago, so much so that it became a Herculean task to find and note the immigrants.

John covered both sides of a piece of paper with the people that he could find and he had only made a dent. Like a lot of those projects that were supposed to be a fun afternoon turned into four days and the end was nowhere in sight and the air went out of John. This has got to be a thing that somebody has written a program to be able to do. Why is he sitting doing this longhand? Somebody has got to have some app that could grind through this. He spent a lot of time looking for that and he couldn't find it.

It did set John in motion on a kind of churning and thinking that he likes to do about how we all got here and what what it is all about. A lot of people probably don't have their genealogy mapped out quite as extensively as John does, just because he has older relatives who started working on this in the 1960s, who collected all the family Bibles back when there were still family Bibles and did a lot of this work. His mom's grandmother was doing genealogy in the 1940s and he has all the resources of all these people who have worked harder than him.

One of John’s friends said that her grandmother immigrated here from China and there are no records of any kind. She married a guy who immigrated from Italy, and there are no records there, so she doesn’t know anybody older than her grandparents and she doesn’t feel confident that there is any way to discover them. That is probably fairly common. John’s own history is applicable to everyone because he may be able to find 200 ancestors and you may not, but it doesn't mean you didn't have them, and if John can find them and put a name to them, somebody that he can trace a direct relationship to that was born in 1350, and not only can he find them, but he can locate their grave, it means that you are also that close to someone from then, you just don't know the succession of names.

Locating even at the level of your 8th great-grandparents, which is pretty far away, but it is not really, it is pretty close. John’s 5th great-grandfather was his father's grandfather's great-grandfather and his father knew his grandfather and his grandfather, if he didn't know his great-grandfather, he certainly heard a lot about him from his father, who was his father's grandfather. It is just a few grandfathers away to be back to the American Revolution. His 5th great grandfather he just discovered two days ago, his father's grandfather's great-grandfather (John Page), was in the first US Congress, the Congress that passed the Bill of Rights.

He knew he was the governor of Virginia in colonial times, but he didn't realize he was in the first three Congresses. He was a congressman from Virginia when there were only 9 states that had ratified the Constitution. There wasn't even the 13 original states yet. There were the 13 colonies, but only 9 of them had ratified the Constitution. He was someone who is just far enough back in the fog that he could hide a secret from John, like he was in the Congress, and it was only hidden because it was in a stack of papers, hidden in plain sight. He became governor of Virginia when James Madison (James Monroe) left office. He was the next governor of Virginia after that.

John knew some of that, but he never fully turned his attention to it because it was just a stack of papers with a lot of stuff that one day he would sit down and figure out. This quarantine and being at the ripe old age of 51, this was the moment that he sits down and comes up from the basement staring at a piece of paper and his daughter says: ”What are you looking at?” - ”Did you know that your 6th great-grandfather was in the US Congress in 1789?” - ”I don't know. You are the worst dad I have ever even heard of!” - ”No, no, no, seriously, sweetie, come back! Let me tell you! Here, there is a painting of him!”

When we think about families and we think about history there are a lot of people that would be proud of that, it would be something that they would hang their identity on, and one of the things that has inspired John to think about is: ”How much is that true of me? How much is my relationship to that one of just like ’how fascinating’ and how much am I proud of it?” That kind of pride is a weird notion, because John didn't do anything and he didn't inherit any money and being related to these people doesn't let him into the museum an our early. Pride doesn't factor into it so much as the recognition of how close we are to those events and those people.

We are not that far, we have not evolved in any way in that time, we could not possibly be physiologically any smarter or stronger or more sensitive. Nothing has changed. They were not any different from us. The only thing that was different is the clothes, the language, or the technology, but you could pluck one of them and bring them here, John could go back to there. Also John knows for a fact that their culture was transferred to him from his great-grandparents on both sides, their values made their way to him in ways that he can point out and say: ”Well, the reason that my family labors under this misapprehension is that my great-grandfather thought this way!”

You can see in your recent relatives when ideas make their way into a family, but you cannot see past probably your great-grandparents unless there is a historic record that can say: ”Maybe one of the reasons you think this is that you have ancestors that came across the middle passage during the slave trade!” There is going to be stuff that affected you. Maybe your great-great-grandparents were from Portugal, and now you just seem like an American, but you got Portuguese influence in the way that you think about seafood. It is hard to parse, we all think about it and we generalize, like: ”I am Irish. That is why I like potatoes!”, but how much of you is Irish, really? If one set of great-grandparents were Irish, then John and Dan are probably as much Irish as that.

You decide that that is going to be a defining quality. That is the thing you are going to be proud about. You are going to wear a Celtics jersey because your great grandparents were named O'Malley. John’s name is Roderick, but the Roderick line of his family is the shortest one that he can only trace back to 1700 before it disappears because the Welsh were eating rocks before 1700. The British came in to Wales and handed out pencils, and it was the first time that anybody ever wrote anything down. John identifies as Welsh and he has a lot of qualities that are very Welsh, but if he is going to take pride in the fact that he ha all these colonial forebears, that has really got nothing to do with being Welsh, except for the ones that were Welsh, which is strangely a component of them.

John never thinks of himself as as German, for instance, but on his mother's mother's side it is only two or three more steps to this whole universe of Germans and Dutch in Pennsylvania. John doesn’t think of them as his people at all! Pennsylvania Dutch and Germans? He doesn't identify with them, he doesn't think of himself as frugal and stern and calvinist, but in fact he is fairly frugal and even a little stern, and all of a sudden in thinking about that and thinking about his mom and the culture that she grew up in: Pennsylvania Germans? John really has cultural history in him and he does feel those echoes.

There is no other way to attribute it because his father's people were not frugal or taciturn. Why are his mother's people that way? It is just far enough in the past that it disappeared because his mom didn't identify as Quaker until you dig two more pages down in the stack of papers and you discover: ”Oh, that is why you are so contemptuous of Country and Western music! Your great-grandmother's great-grandmother were all wearing black hats and were riding in horse and buggy!” John thinks about this stuff all the time anyway because history means something to him and we are living in a period where there is a lot of revisionism of history, a lot of new hot takes about it, that aren't founded in a very clear knowledge of history, but it is hot takes about thumbnail sketches.

Thumbnail sketches are useful, and John employs them all the time, but it is also fun to take a thumbnail sketch that you have, especially ones that you employ all the time, and setting that little thumbnail sketch down, clearing all the stuff out from around it and looking at it and taking that thumbnail sketch apart and trying to expand it out into a postcard-sized glimpse at a thing, particularly things that you walk around all the time juggling and making assumptions based on. That is John’s favorite thing to do! What is fun about genealogy is that you connect that process to people that you can name and that you can find a connection to and that then let you appraise your thumbnail sketches relative to someone.

Trying to find that immigrant generation on John’s part was to try to better imagine that journey. Who were the people in 1620 who decided they wanted to go to America? How could that many people have made that decision? In most cases they were not escaping a war or a famine, but as part of our national creed, the fantasy that they were seeking a better life or more opportunity or something. If you compare that generalities against what we know about people, which is that most people are pretty risk-averse and also don't look that far in the future.

If John was to say: ”Hey Dan, I got a better life for you! All it requires is that you get into this leaky space ship and spend three months on it and go to a planet that has a population already and they are not exactly welcoming us there, but we are just going to move them over to the side at first because they are not really guarding the land very carefully and we are going to drop in there, bamboozling them to do what we want”, would that sound like a better opportunity enough that Dan would say: ”Huh, yeah! All right! I will take my family and everything I own and embark on this journey because that sounds better than this!” You would have to be suffering a lot more where you are to make that leap, especially when you landed in Planet X and found basically that you signed yourself on for a lifetime of total toil. That sounds horrible!

Just through this cursory few days of searching John has an extremely long list of people that did it all about the same time. He doesn’t understand what was so magical about being born between 1600-1620, that generation of people put that many people on boats and sent them across the Atlantic. What the hell were they all doing here? Dan thinks that we are thinking about this in terms of today: A house in Seattle with running water and electricity and Internet connection and a phone, but in that time nobody really had it that good and it all kind of sucked.

In doing this genealogy John talked to a friend who said: ”It won't be long before your father's grandfather's great-grandfather will have had a Facebook page. In not very many generations, if the cloud actually is stable over time and doesn't fall prey to this compatibility problem that all the technology of the last 40 years fell prey to, where if somebody wrote their autobiography in WordStar you can’t read it now, but if it is in the cloud and in successive iterations of the cloud stuff keeps migrating up the cloud so that your father’s grandfather’s great-grandfather’s Facebook page will still be accessible to you 200 years from now will just be such a different thing than the thing that John is going through, which is looking at photocopies of marriage records that are written in longhand to try to picture somebody who stood on some hillock 200 years ago.

To be able to go in and read a person's Facebook page, even if by your 2220 standards that Facebook page is primitive and doesn't have smell-o-vision and has very limited video-content, it is still going to change our relationship to the past and our relationship to our forebears. John imagines that it will be better and healthier to be able to know, if you choose to know, like the way that the Zoomers went on Snapchat so readily because it didn't leave a past, and it only took one generation of people that had recorded everything that ever happened to them to make the next generation say: ”No thanks!”

John is not sure if that is still true and if the Snapchat revolution which was 5 whole years ago still… TikTok seems to have an archive and leaves a record, so the idea that the Zoomers wanted no record of themselves doesn't seem to have borne out as a hot take. If John had access to the Facebook pages of all these people, how important would they be to him? More important? He can only think about it in the in the terms that he has right now, which is: ”I wish to God I had a Facebook page for all these people, for Pyramus von Sprinkenwickel or whoever it is, to see their Facebook page and try to picture their life in 1620.

If he had always been able to, would that matter to him and what are the analogs, the things that he does have access to that he doesn't value in terms of information that people in the past or the future would have been astonished by? At his computer at hand John has incredible access to information, including an ability to go back and find all these people, and he thinks of it as somewhat mundane, whereas even 50 years ago it would have been an absolute miracle. What will be important 200 years from now? What is the equivalent? It is maybe the type of thing that you think about when you are 51 years old and you don't think about when you are 25 and maybe by the time you are 75… Can you imagine being 75?

Being able to imagine aging (RW194)

Dan does think about that kind of thing now and about how easy it was or how impossible it was to imagine himself being 75-80. When he would see someone, he would say: ”Oh, look at that old guy over there!”, but that old guy was at one point a really handsome 25 year old guy who tore the place up on Saturday nights. He was a cool dude at one point who if he had met him when he was 25 it wouldn't have occurred to him that he was that old guy or could ever become that old guy. Getting old is something that happens to someone else until you develop some kind of problem that you realize has to do with getting older and that will never go away and you realize: ”Oh, so this is how it starts!” or your body starts to do something that is not what it used to do, or you look at yourself in the mirror and you say: ”I think I used to have more hair on the top of my head. Where is that going?”

Your body starts doing things and once you mature into whatever adult form your body reaches in its mid to late 20s, the signs of aging between 25 and 45 are really subtle. If you eat well and move around, it is hard to notice most of them, but then things start to change and all of a sudden you can see the path from you to that old guy over there. You are not him yet, but now you can see how you get to that point. The changes go from being really hard to tell and having to look at photos 3-5 years apart and you maybe got a couple little crow's feet in that one, to: ”Oh, yeah, I can see now that is coming up. That is next!” and it might take a while to get there, but you can see the road now.

John has been taking that NAD powder, but he ran out of it and hasn’t re-upped it, although he has been meaning to. Was it working? Who knows! Between 25 and 45 the transition is so gradual that you barely notice, but after 45 there is no going back, and with NAD+ he would probably not notice from day to day whether it was defeating the oxidants that were aging him. Who can tell! John doesn’t know what he feels honestly from moment to moment. He has a low-grade infection all the time! Dan had a friend who was a PhD and a cancer researcher and he always said: ”Once a year, even if I don't need it, I take a whole series of antibiotics clearing everything out of there!” He is the reason why we have superbugs. John never heard that before and he neither had Dan and he doesn’t advise it.

John having trouble with a hard drive (RW194)

John has a hard drive that his computer won't recognize and when he plugs it in, the computer says Unformated Disk. This just happened recently. He used it a month and a half ago, he ejected it and set it on his shelf and now he is trying it again and it is not working. Dan is asking some questions to diagnose the problem and it turns out that it might have been accidentally dropped one time. Dan proceeds to explain how a hard disk works and he said that there are applications to try to read damaged disks or data recovery companies.

John had used it to back up a bunch of computers and he put a bunch of things on it, but he doesn’t remember what is on it. When computer people say: ”You got to back up your files!” he will say ”Okay, I guess I'll back them up!” and you back them up and when you have three or four different computers that you are all trying to migrate to different places and have the same information on all of them in a pre-cloud universe, move stuff over here, and then when you get a new computer you still have these files from that computer and you move them over here and then it is all there.

John doesn’t know whether this disk is the one repository of everything he has ever done and the data on it maybe three entire computers worth of stuff that if it is lost he will never recover, even though he can't remember why he would ever want it, or maybe it is just full of backups of stuff that he has other places and every time he migrated a computer he took the stuff that he needed and all this is is just a bunch of duplicate Excel sheets from 1997. If it was $50 he would do it, but if it is $500 probably not.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License