My Broken Laptop.
To fix or not to fix? A too-good-to-be-true story for Elul.
I realized it was a careless thing to do the second I did it. I closed the laptop I use at home while its plug was lying on the keyboard – not hard, mind you – but that unusual cracking noise didn’t sound good. I turned it on and the screen was totally shattered inside, displaying digital abstract art. I couldn’t believe it broke.
It’s Elul, I told myself. I’m not going to let myself get all upset about this. It’s obvious the Almighty is sending me a message about my overuse of the computer.
I schlepped my laptop to the office to give it to the computer support team who service the Aish offices. Our office manager wasn’t encouraging. “Getting a new screen is very expensive. It might not pay to fix it.”
The computer technician called me right away. “How old is your laptop?”
“Two or three years old. But it’s a perfectly good computer.”
“It’s not worth fixing. A new screen is going to cost you between 1500 to 2000 shekels. You can get a new one in the U.S. for that price.”
“What?! Are you sure it’s going to cost that much? Can I first get a quote and then I’ll decide what to do?”
“Sure, but the quote will cost you 300 NIS if you don’t fix it.”
This is absurd, I thought to myself.
“Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”
Then I remembered this computer technician, a Chassidic woman, who once paid a house call and fixed our computer that got hit with a virus. She was intelligent and affordable. Called her to see what she could offer.
“It’ll cost you 450 NIS. I can come by tonight to pick it up.”
I was incredulous (second time that day). She drove over 9 PM that night in her beat up car and I handed her the goods.
9 AM the next morning she called to tell me it’s ready. “When can I drop it off?” she asked.
Just fix it.
It was too good to be true. I have a rule that I use, especially when it comes to some of the more fantastical submissions to Aish.com that come my way, that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. In this case, though, it was an exception. My laptop was gleaming with its new screen, it cost less than a quarter of the original quote, I got it back in one day, delivery included, and I helped support a mother of many children (they were all packed into the car when she dropped it off) who I’m sure needed the business more than the professional company who services the Aish HaTorah offices.
I was relieved that I didn’t listen to the “expert advice” to buy a new laptop, something I momentarily considered, and just fixed the one I had. Perhaps this is the message I’m supposed to get during this period of Elul: Just fix it. Don’t discard the problem. Don’t avoid dealing with the issue at hand. It's easy to despair when thinking about all the issues you need to fix in your life as you gear up for Rosh Hashanah. How can I possibly create a whole new me? Confronting the problem is just too costly and difficult. It seems impossible to change.
All that negative self-talk is just a distraction designed to get us to run away from dealing with our real issues.
Don't listen to that voice. Fix the problem instead. Confront the challenge head on and with some honesty and a sincere desire to repair it, you’ll be surprised to discover one or two very doable steps that could really make a difference and are not as hard as you initially thought.
Just fix it.