palm pilot.

Rich had a Palm Pilot.

It was, like, the first Palm Pilot.  Rich was rarely an early adopter of technology, but it was mostly due to finances than anything else.  He just didn’t have money.  None of us did.

Somehow, though – I don’t remember whether it was because of a pay increase from his new job, from a big tax refund, or a bonus – he came into some money, and became an early adopter of two things: a new Dodge Neon, and a Palm Pilot.

The Dodge Neon blew my mind.  For as long as I’d known him, Rich owned a car, but it never actually went anywhere.  It was completely filthy, with piles of cassette tapes and magazines and books and food wrappers and bottles in varying stages of emptiness everywhere you’d look.  He treated his car like shit, and he didn’t have any money for gas, so he always mooched a ride from whoever he could.

But now he had Lissette, and I guess he felt like he should be driving when they went out on dates.  Plus, most of his friends had moved away, and he was commuting into the city for work.  He needed a car.  So he brought a brand-new Dodge Neon, in the first year it rolled off the production line.

“Do you realize how insane you are, buying a car in its first year?” I asked him.

He then proceeded to tell me all the reasons why the Dodge Neon wasn’t really a brand-new car, and why all the research and development that Dodge had undertaken would ensure that his Neon was a sound, solid investment.

Rich knew everything about everything, and cars were one of the things he really knew about, and so I took his word for it.

I also took his word for the Palm Pilot thing.  We had sort of giggled incessantly at Frank when he brought his Apple Newton to Cape Cod with us several years prior, but the Palm Pilot was smaller and, supposedly, more versatile.  And eventually I let him show it to me.

I was a pretty religious Day Planner guy.

Actually, I was pretty fanatical about it.  I had three different ones, and I used them all.

The first was a regular Day-Timer – the giant kind, in a three-ring binder.  I used that exclusively for work, kept my to-do list in it, managed my schedule with it, and then filed each month’s entry in chipboard sleeves.

The second was a monthly planner, that I kept open on my desk at all times.  I used that one to manage my appointments and give me an idea of my daily schedule in broad brushstrokes.  I also used it to keep track of the scores of Yankee games, writing the results of each game in the square for each day, along with anything special that happened on that day.  I’d write the names of people I had to meet at the top of each day.

That “system” resulted in a pretty funny-looking day in 1995, when the Yankees had a day off one weeknight, and I had a lunch scheduled with Rich.  At the end of the month, I noticed that the square for that particular day simply said “Rich Grasso Yanks Off.”

My third planner was a thin, day-at-a-time planner that I kept in my briefcase and used when I was on the road.  It had an hourly appointment schedule in it, and I’d use it to write directions to places I needed to visit on the road, phone numbers, meeting notes, things to do, that sort of thing.

I was constantly transcribing things from one book to another, so that all three of my books said the same thing.

On top of that, I also kept a daily “to do” list in Microsoft Word that I updated each day.

I was a maniac, and Rich had this one tiny device that he kept in his pocket that managed all the same shit that my three Day Planners and to-do list managed.

Plus, my Day Planners didn’t have an addictive video game called Dope Wars like Rich’s Palm Pilot did, nor did it have an electronic theremin program that let me play “Good Vibrations.”

So I bought a Palm Pilot.  So I could play Dope Wars, mostly.

But I kept my month-at-a-glance planner on my desk still, because I didn’t trust the Pilot completely at first.  And because I’m an anal-retentive pack rat when it comes to keeping track of myself, I didn’t throw anything away after it was used.  So at the end of 1996, still afraid that my Palm Pilot would somehow die and lose all my appointments and such, I took my monthly planner and put it away, just in case I lost all my records.

And that’s how I’m going to be able to tell you all the things that happened for the rest of 2006.

~ by Al on October 29, 2009.

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