Another year, another laptop adapter

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For the past four years, I’ve made an annual contribution of $80 to Apple. No, the money doesn’t go toward iPod-shuffle Christmas gifts for my friends or upgrades for my MacBook Pro. Nor do I spend money on keyboards or mice. The money goes for a less exhilarating cause.

Ever since I bought my first Apple laptop, every power charger I’ve owned has inexplicably stopped working within one year. And I’ve had to shovel up $80 each time to resurrect my poor, powerless laptop. I bought my 2.16Ghz Core Duo MacBook Pro almost a year ago (after my iBook G4 passed away), and I thought my power-adapter tax had come to an end. But alas, a few days ago the small light on the mag-safe adapter gave its last few blinks of life and went blank. My heart skipped a beat; my chest tightened in disbelief. My MacBook Pro charger was dead.

The five stages of grief and loss immediately kicked in. First, denial. “No!” I cried. “Not again! You can’t be dead. I was in the middle of reading a downloaded issue of Fables, and it was getting good!” I proceeded to bend the wire at different angles; I inspected the power port for dust. No dice.

After some futile attempts to repair the power charger, I admitted defeat — and anger arose. “What did I do wrong?” I wondered. “My apartment’s rodent-free, and my roommate, to my knowledge, doesn’t have a knack for chewing on electric cables. And the restraining order placed on my ex-girlfriend bars her from ever entering my apartment and sabotaging my precious possessions. Life doesn’t make any sense! Why can’t you make these chargers more durable, Apple? This is your fault!”

I quickly entered the bargaining phase. “I’ll stop eating meals around my MacBook Pro! I’ll clean the screen and keyboard every day! I’ll stop using BitTorrent. I’ll do anything; I’ll turn a new leaf. Just come back to life, you stupid charger!” The charger lay there lifeless—silently mocking me, as if to say, “Look at this moron.”

Depression sank in. “That charger went through a lot with me this past year—the best of times and the worst of times.” I buried my face in my hands. “Do I really have to buy a new one? This one was working just fine.” Sitting on my couch, I wrapped myself in a blanket and snarfed down a pint of Häagen-Daz while blasting Morrissey on my stereo. It was time to mourn.

Last Sunday was a beautiful day. The sun shined brightly through a thin layer of clouds; San Francisco basked in a comfortable warmth with the slightest chill. It was perfect timing for perfect weather. This marked a new beginning. This marked the day I would move on and convalesce. Empowered, I marched into the Apple Store and straight to the accessories shelf. I picked the first MacBook Pro power charger I saw. When I handed my credit card to the cashier, he said, “Yours died on you, too, eh?”

“Another year, another charger,” I replied calmly. “C’est la vie.”

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