My Answer to the Daily Prompt . . .

Write about your first computer.

Well, this one is easy. Years ago I wrote a Toastmaster’s speech about the first computer we purchased and it feels like an appropriate response to today’s prompt. I find it hard to believe I’ve not already shared this speech.

It was written for the Humorous Speech Contest and took me all the way to the District stage in 2014. (The District stage is the highest level possible for that type of speech.) It was the first time I’d entered a speech contest and I was thrilled to be placed third overall.

I’m disappointed I couldn’t find my copy of the final version so I’ve done my best to reconstruct it.

–⋅ o ♥ o ⋅–

My Clever Idea

Mr Contest Toastmaster, ladies and gentlemen. tells me that a brainwave is a rapid fluctuation of voltage between parts of the cerebral cortex detectable with an electroencephalography Phew!   

In other words, it’s a sudden, clever idea. 

I had a brainwave.


A long time ago.   

It was Christmas Eve, 1993 and my husband suggested buying our girls an Atari game console so he, sorry, so they could play games. 

A rapid fluctuation of voltage zapped and danced around inside my cerebral cortex causing me to say: Why don’t we buy them a computer? 

More than 20 years later, it still amazes me that the salesman saw us coming. 

Like a Great White Shark smelling blood in the water, he’d seen us getting into the car – fifteen kilometres away.  He was circling, waiting for us to step into the kill zone. 

But I wasn’t going to be fooled. 

Fresh out of high school in 1980, my friend had shown me his, and let me tell you, it was huge! 

A Commodore 64 no less and so precious, I wasn’t allowed to breathe on it. 

I was allowed to sit on the other side of the room and watch while my friend played space invaders – on a monitor this big.

I didn’t really see much of what was going on from all the way over there, but at least I knew what one looked like and let me tell you, I was not going to be a snack for the predator who sits at the top of the food chain.   

But guess what? 

It was our lucky day. 

The Great White Shark didn’t just sell us any computer.  He sold us a personal computer that was the latest, greatest, biggest, brightest, fastest, most spectacular PC available. 

It was a packaged deal. 

Only available to the first 20 customers. 

Imagine our surprise!

We were customers number 20! 

And the predator reeled us in with just the right amount of bait – oops – bells and whistles.   

A monitor and a keyboard!  Some new fandango pointing device called a mouse, not that we’d need to use one of those, we would learn to use the keyboard. 

It came with a colour printer, almost unheard of, and – a deskwith wheels! 

That made it a mobile computer!

The Shark went in for the kill.  “But wait!”  He said.  “There’s more!  For today only and just a little extra, you can have a state-of-the-art sound card and if you also buy the speakers, I’ll throw in two free games.  Because . . . I like you.”   

But wait, there was more! 

To soften the blow, the Shark threw in a box of paper.  Not a ream – a box! 

Fifteen hundred sheets of continuous track-fed, perfectly pre-perforated paper.  Simply ideal for all the printing our little girls would do on that 16-pin, dot matrix printer.

Well, when they eventually got to high school. 

What a bargain! 

We couldn’t sign our lives away quick enough for that state-of-the-art, fourth-generation Amstrad Mega PC with its 1 Mb of Ram, 256 Kb VGA graphics card and, the pièce de résistance – a 40 Mb hard drive that we could never possibly fill up. 

I have a Toastmasters app on my smartphone bigger than that.

But our little girls were going to be so thrilled. 

The behemoth stood in the lounge room dwarfing the Christmas tree.  We’d covered it with a great white sheet and after reassuring our youngest that we were not being visited by the ghost of Christmas past, we performed a magic act. 

My husband grabbed the edge of the sheet and in one fluid motion, he whipped it off as I pretended to be his sexy assistant saying “Viola!”. 

And then it happenedThe one thing that completely unravelled the cleverness of my idea. 

“Quick Mummy!  Turn it on!”   

All these years later, I still thank my lucky stars that in 1993 my brother also had a brainwave. 

It must be genetic. 

For the next three days, while I struggled the plug this and that cord into the right hole and locate that rotten any key, our little girls had immense fun playing with the gift they received from their Uncle Peter.   


Image Source

–⋅ o ♥ o ⋅–

Seriously speaking, I had no idea how to turn on that computer and right there and then, on Christmas Day 1993, with our daughters eagerly awaiting the miracle of mummy finding that rotten any key, I resolved to learn, and learn I did.

My willpower has taken me to many places and afforded me many rewards not all of them monetary.

  • I learned how to write computer code and managed highly specialised work for over 50 clients.
  • I taught myself how to use lots of software applications and went on to become a Microsoft Office Specialist Master Instructor.
  • From there, I moved on to teaching others how to use software applications.
  • I taught in the IT department of a private college for almost 18 months.
  • I was the in-house IT trainer at a global engineering and project management firm where I travelled internationally because I designed and coordinated the development of an (in-house) application that was then deployed across countless projects around the world.

Not bad for someone who couldn’t turn on their first computer.

I worked on a PC for almost 20 years before challenging myself yet again in 2012 when I moved to a MAC. But, you know what they do say? (Whoever they are.)

Once you go MAC you’ll never go back!

And I say, amen to that!

Author: Clare

Ever-expanding one star at a time, my cosmos is a galaxy of thoughts and creativity where you can find poetry, short stories, photography and so much more.

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