No Excuses for Me

When I decided to “do the school thing” like my students do it, I never expected the adventure to extend to my computer. Then I accidentally stuck my SD card into my DVD drive, where the Game of Thrones already resided.

I turned the Dell so that the DVD slot faced toward the ground. No luck. I tried to eject the DVD. The resulting noise attracted the attention of my corgi-beagle mix, but the no DVD or SD card was forthcoming.  Attempting to at least quiet the noise, I tried rebooting the computer, and the computer balked at the process.

This is when I panicked. I needed the pictures on the SD card for teaching; I take photos of my students each semester to help me learn their names, and I hadn’t yet downloaded the shots. Plus, Netflix wanted their DVD back and I wanted to know what nastiness Joffrey would next perpetrate. Most importantly, I needed the computer itself to complete my Mastering Astronomy homework. I was required to log in that night and complete two assignments in the textbook publisher’s online course supplement. It was Sunday night, so my options were limited.

My 5-year-old Dell laptop was already “a little worse for wear” as they say. The “volume up” key has been missing for awhile. The battery barely holds a charge. The extended warranty has long expired. With a brand-new loan to pay for my brand new and badly needed roof, I really don’t have funds for computer repairs or a new computer. Still, I did not want to be one of those students with the “my computer isn’t working” excuse. I hear that one a lot because I teach writing where a computer is a necessity for composing and research. I decided to take my chances and rummaged through my toolbox until I found my precision screwdriver kit.

Unfortunately, my attempt to take apart my computer failed. As the panic deepened, I resorted to extreme measures. I used needle-nose pliers to pull apart the plastic housing near the DVD slot. Using my eyebrow tweezers, I managed to pull out Game of Thrones and then the SD card. The DVD is now scarred, but luckily the SD card still works.

In the end, I couldn’t get three of the tiny screws back into place. I can also add the lack of a DVD player as well as operational touchpad to the missing “volume up” key and weary battery. I have to use my external mouse if I want to use the computer, but things are (more or less) staying together. The top cover and keyboard must regularly be popped back into place. And while I still need to find some snippers to complete some cosmetic work, I can connect to the internet and do homework.


Sadly, when I went to use the tweezers for my own cosmetic purposes, they no longer could do their job. Like many of my students in tough financial positions though, I’ll accept the $3.99 expense over the $200-plus expense any day.

However, while I relate to my students’ computer issues better now, I also better understand the adage, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

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