[In Ohio]
10 Memories of Ohio and Computers
(AKA The Large Looking Glass Bachelor Machine)
1. Outside Cincinnati, I think, in a Holidome (a fancy Holiday Inn, very Logan's Run-ish), next to the Olympic Size indoor pool (hated swimming, fear of drowning), among the Coke machines, pool tables, foosball, air hockey, and blinking pinball machines sat my first look at the coming digital age. Space Invaders. My little boy mind couldn't even comprehend it. After my brother and I used up all our quarters playing, we stayed to watch the looping animation with anticipation that something might happen.
2. Truthfully, my first encounter with computers was a Pong game, but let's face it, Pong was dull. Aliens from space trying to destroy my home base, now that is a construct I can still get all starry eyed about.
3. The Commodore 64, my first home computer, sat unused and unloved. Text based fantasy games held no sway over me, once i got an Atari.
4. Yes, my brother and I spent a lot of time trying to get our Speak-N-Spell to say dirty words. Sorry Mom. Just try to think of it as an early art project.
5. Same goes for upside down numbers on my Texas Instruments calculator (1134).
6. Oh! I was planning on including some clever Duchamp 'Large Glass' references in this. I had this vague idea about Ms. Pac Man being chased by ghosts with names like "Bachelor Number One, Blinky". Unfortunately nothing really good has come up. I'll try again later.
7. The other thing I was going to mix into this text was Lewis Carrol's 'Through the Looking Glass' ummmmmm... you know... mirrors... computers... being a young boy... video games... Ohio... ummmm... girls... um, you know?
8. I knew a rich kid in Ohio who had a CUBE (an early failed Columbus test-marketed interactive television). He would tell me about being able to answer questions on TV shows by pushing buttons on a control box. According to him, it wasn't very fun.
9. Sometimes a ghost can see the future. In 1981 the German pop band Kraftwerk released an album entitled Computer World. In some ways, this 19 year old album foresees the major traits of contemporary digital life for the year 2000. It's lyrics spill out in a repeated list like some joyous adding machine. In a cold electronic voice, Kraftwerk tells us the keystones of current computer culture--love, money and the watchful eyes of the FBI. In 1981, I was young in Ohio.
10. A small, white, plastic box in my grandfather's hands. Christmas time most probably. My grandfather always seemed old. He was a country doctor from Logan, Iowa, he told me of homesteading in a South Dakota sod house. "Snakes would burrow into the walls for warmth". And he taught me to fish; a natural man, a wonderfully old man. The small box had four plastic buttons on top that would flash colored lights. The box would flash a light and blip a tone for you. You would press the same light. The box would flash the same light and then ad another for you to remember. More lights would be added to the chain until you would forget the chain and miss a button. My grandfather was playing with this loud blipping, flashing box. It seemed foreign in his hands. Blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip. Game Over. He hands me the box with a sly smile. "This is for you..."

[In Ohio]