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Continuing Ed
by Karen A. Romanko

This evening I attended another fascinating lecture in the Heavenly City Continuing Education Series. The Great Administrator established the series for city residents like me who wish to keep abreast of earthly matters. Tonight’s topic was the personal computer.

The turnout was exceptional, with “great minds” as well as regular folks in attendance. The Management succeeded in accommodating every soul, however, with an individual, “high-end” pc.

We engaged in the usual pre-class chitchat until the angel Florence suddenly appeared. Her aura permeated every molecule of the ever-expanding computer classroom.

“Hi, kids! My name is Flo,” the shimmering essence proclaimed. “I’ll be your trainer for this evening.”

“Hello, Flo!” we all yelled.

Flo set us to work immediately. With ethereal “point and click” reflexes, we all mastered the “mouse” in the blink of a cherub’s eye. We flew through the word processor, database management, and spreadsheet programs. Then Flo allowed each of us to concentrate on whatever “app” suited our particular tastes.

Mae W. decided to enter the “distinguishing characteristics” of all her “gentlemen friends” into the database management program. Ms. West was then able to sort her admirers by hair color, weight, height . . . well, you get the picture. Of course Mae didn’t do any of the actual work herself. Her “personal assistants,” handsome to a man, guided the mouse, recited the data, entered it, etc.

Gene R. was happy he had managed to pull himself away from production of his new show, Star Trek®: Eternity. Although the “great bird” had attended the seminar merely to scope out “props” for the series, he was overjoyed to discover the possibilities of digital editing. This technological tool, Roddenberry observed, would lessen the load on his angelic editors, all of whom were in high demand, especially by Messrs. Serling and Hitchcock.

Cleopatra was thrilled to learn about e-mail. She composed a lengthy missive to her long-lost Caesar. The queen was disheartened, though, when her regal correspondence bounced back. Flo tried to offer an explanation. “The e-mail connection doesn’t reach . . . down there . . . um . . . where Caesar is.”

Mr. Einstein (he of the short attention span) played an “alien smashing” game throughout most of the class. When Al finally “came to,” he noticed that most of his colleagues were actually accomplishing something. Ashamed, Einstein quickly mastered the C++ programming language. He then wrote a boffo time travel game entitled, You Can’t Go Back. Flo has promised to “transmit” Al’s “source code” to an unsuccessful programmer on earth, proving there is such a thing as “divine inspiration.”

Other geniuses spotted at a workstation were Mr. Charles Dickens, Ms. Janis Joplin, and Sir Isaac Newton. Charles dashed off several chapters of his latest work, Divine Expectations, using his newfound word processing abilities. Janis J. discovered her computer’s audio features and succeeded in recording her distinctive voice, but only after blasting several sound cards. Sir Isaac, for his part, wowed the group with a colorful animation of an apple falling from a tree, (But, dear Ike, you must get over this apple thing already.) 

Plato, who had paid keen attention to every program Flo had demonstrated, opted not to choose an app for advanced study. Instead he closed his eyes, contemplating the angel’s teachings for many moments. Then he summoned his disciples to a corner of the lab, where they proceeded to discuss the “ideal” computer. (I’m told the word “Microsoft®” was never uttered.)

As for me, a onetime “gossip columnist,” I was thrilled to turn onto the “information superhighway.” I wish I’d had this research tool in my day, although it might have put me out of business. A video of a young starlet making love to her musician husband is available on the Internet? Nothing is secret (or sacred) anymore!

More to my taste were stunning pix of a clothed Robert Redford. I even checked out this Brad Pitt fellow all the newcomers are talking about. (I’m in heaven, “but not dead.” Does that make any sense?)

It’s also fascinating to see what people are talking about on the bulletin boards and newsgroups. Why is there still so much interest in the sinking of the Titanic? That was old news when I was young. And what is or are “Pokémon”? I am clueless. But I’m sure if I keep surfing, I’ll find the answers.

Flo says next week we’ll go “inside the computer.” Knowing the talents of  the Great Administrator and executive staff, I believe we’ll literally walk inside a working pc. (I’ve already toured the innards of a VCR and microwave.) I can’t wait to see the “motherboard,” “busses” (I’m sure I have the wrong mental picture of these), and the hard disk drive. It should be an informative and (dare I say) electrifying experience.

The End

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"Continuing Ed" ©1999 Karen A. Romanko. Photo ©2000 Karen A. Romanko.
Raven Electrick ©2000 Karen A. Romanko. Clipart by Corel®.