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 The Computer as Pet

by David Westheimer


Senior men need a woman to take care of them. Women do not need a man to take care of them and by the time they are seniors they have already taken care of themselves for years. But all seniors, women as well as men, should have a pet. A dog or a cat.

Or a computer.

You have to take a dog for walks to do his business; rain or shine.

A cat does his business in a litter box in the house, but you have to clean out the litter from time to time and take it outside, rain or shine.

The only business a computer has to take care of is your business, the only litter is your own and you can clean that up by hitting "delete;" and weather is not a factor unless it is severe enough for a power outage.

You have to buy all kinds of food and doggie bones for a dog and go out to store to get it.

You have to buy food for a cat, too, and sometimes have to coax one to eat it. All you have to give a computer is a little electricity and there is always a handy, steady supply around.

A dog will do some stuff you tell it to do, like "sit" and "fetch." Cats wont usually, but some cats will fetch. A computer will do anything you ask if you know the right words to ask, like search, or page down.

A dog will put his paws on your shoulders and knock you down if you are frail or unsteady and lick your face. A cat might condescend to lick your hand but usually prefers to lick itself. A computer is not going to do that. It always waits for you to make the first advance.

A dog may be dangerous to a little kid or afraid of one. Cats are often afraid of little kids because little kids pull tails and ears and cats to not care for that kind of stuff. A computer doesnt care how little you are as long as you can reach the keyboard.

Dogs bark and howl and cats meow and purr. A computer doesnt make any noise you dont tell it to except maybe "Youve got mail," which you are usually pleased to hear.

A dog almost always will come when you call its name. A cat may or may not come or even look your way unless, of course, you holding out a treat. A computer will always come when you call unless there is a power outage or it has crashed (in which case it may cause you to rant and rave; cats and dogs can cause you to do that, too, for much less serious behavior).

When you are eating, a dog will look up at you with pleading eyes. A cat will paw or bite your elbow or jump up on the table and try to eat off of your plate. A computer will let you eat in peace unless you are antsy about an e-mail you are expecting and cant get it off your mind.

If you leave a gate unlocked a dog will run out and explore the world and put his mark on fireplugs. A cat who is supposed to be a house cat will dart out the door if you dont close the door in his face. A computer never runs off and hides.

Neighbors may call to tell you your dog kept them all night or that your cat made improper advances to his cat but never complains to you about your computer.

If you ask your dog a question he will just look at you. A cat wont even do that. But if you ask a computer a question it will give you an answer if you ask it correctly.

If your dog expires, or your cat, you just get rid of it or if you are afraid you will miss it terribly you can have it stuffed and keep it around until your heirs get rid of it. If your computer expires, you replace it with a newer and better model and never miss it at all. You might even think "Good riddance."

If your dog or cat

Excuse me, someone is trying to Instant Message me and I gotta run.


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