A Dummie’s History of Computers

Believe it or not, I was born long before the first computers became available to the public. I totally lack any credentials for writing a blog on the history of computers, so I am only presenting the few facts I know to be true from experience. In other words, I am the dummie!

My first husband was an electrical engineer who graduated in 1964 from Carnegie-Mellon University. At that time, if a computer were mentioned in a conversation, most people understood it was at IBM, and had nothing to do with real life. However, my husband got a job at the university making circuit boards for their new computer, one of the first in Pittsburgh.

The computer was not a lap-top or a desktop. It took up almost the entire third floor of the new computer research building. I am saying this to explain that size mattered at that time, and the idea of a computer sitting on a desk would have drawn laughter. The computer used at least 50 huge 1’x 6’x 6’ high cabinets. These large metal cabinets held all the files and hardware for this computer, and took up the whole floor. When I see teenagers running around with internet capable cell phones I am still amazed. How did those computer cabinets get small enough to fit into these phones?

To make a program for a computer you needed three bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees and twelve PhD’s, so there were very few programmers. I am exaggerating, but then, as now, these people were considered the smartest of the smart, or as Apple calls them, geniuses. These are to be differentiated at all times from dummies.

One of my husband’s jobs was to solder circuit boards. The boards were about 3” by 6”. My husband soldered the wires to the board all day and when he came home at night he explained how the computer worked. One wire connected to either a 1 or a 0, depending on the voltage used. If the user asked the computer a simple question, the wires went through many boards connecting various ones and zeros until it arrived at the answer. A simple question might travel  through hundreds of wires and circuit boards. It was mind bloggleing.

“It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?” I ask.

“No it doesn’t,” another personality answers.

“Are you crazy?” a third personality chimes in.

“Who’s asking?” I wonder.

“I don’t know. Do you?”

P.S. Having checked out a few articles on computers from the Internet, I think the computer language I’m talking about is called binary, but the reader is cautioned not to speak of the information in this article in front of a professional or an educator for fear of looking a lot like a dummie. And remember, a dummie can be a computer user, but a computer user might be a genius.


Why Abuse Victims Don’t Leave

People say that children who are abused by their parents or other adults will often seek relationships with others who will abuse them. I don’t understand this syndrome, but I have observed it in my own life.

I was abused by a maid when I was a little girl and my first two marriages were to men who abused me. How can that be? You would think that I would choose someone just the opposite, who would treat me nicely. But no, I chose men who were verbally abusive and one of them also hit me. Why didn’t I see it coming?

On the other hand, child abuse victims sometimes become adult perpetrators. People who have been abused as children often carry their frustrations and pain into their relationships when they become adults.

Leslie Morgan Steiner talks about her marriage to a young man who was abused as a child, and how he slowly seduced her and made her his victim. Her talk, on Ted.com, explains how she got into the abusive marriage and finally got out. It is an eye-opening story of why domestic abuse victims don’t leave. It’s worth the 15 minutes it takes to listen. Here’s the link:


Pulling Myselves Together

A few days ago my friend, Christy-Marie and I went to lunch. We try to meet once a month, but we always seem to be too busy, so we end up meeting every three months instead.  We are always happy to see each other and we have a close bond because we are both multiples. We both have Multiple Personality Disorder.

Oddly enough, we both have the same diagnosis; Dissociative Identity Disorder. The psychiatric community (the doctors, not the crazy people) doesn’t like to call us multiples anymore, even though that’s what we are. Apparently soon after the publication of Sybil, by Flora Schreiber, in 1973, hundreds of cases of multiple personality surfaced in psychiatric sessions; an epidemic, if you will. Some doctors even coached their patients into believing they had multiple personalities, which later proved to be untrue.

Doctors decided that they needed to slim down the number of cases reported because many of them were imagined by the patients and in retrospect were considered “daydreaming”. The result was the new diagnosis, Dissociative Identity Disorder, which allowed doctors to include real multiples as well as imagined multiples. This is a tricky procedure because all multiple personalities are imagined.

My question is this: if doctors were having trouble differentiating between diagnoses, why lump them all together? It seems as though it would be more reasonable to separate them even further with stricter guidelines. Any thoughts about this?

When Christy Marie and I arrive at the restaurant the hostess always asks us, “how many?” Should we tell the truth on a psychological level and say “30,” (13 for me and 17 for Christy Marie)? Or should we just tell the number of bodies, “two?” It’s a conundrum.

My therapist always suggests that I have conferences between my personalities. When I do, I form a circle of 13 chairs, one for each personality. Then I write everyone’s name on a sheet of paper and place each one on a chair. My managing personality, Control, takes over the meeting and allows each personality to speak. Sometimes we get into a squabble because two personalities disagree, but most often we feel overwhelmed by the number of us. We sit around in a state of bewilderment, listening to each other voice their feelings. I don’t like it. I want to be normal like everyone else most people.

I wish that I didn’t have to take a poll in order to know how I feel. It is discouraging to realize there are twelve other people inside me with minds of their own.  It’s like trying to control twelve unruly children. I wish I was normal, but having a conference is about as normal as I can be right now, until I have complete integration.

The goal of therapy for Dissociative Identity Disorder is integration of all personalities. I need to pull myself together!

Are You a Multiple or Just Confused?

Having lived the last 66 years with multiple personality disorder gives me a unique perspective on life. There is no such thing as a normal day when you have this disorder. My brain will think of things to do and say much faster than I can do them. I do better if I plan ahead for the next day. Of course just because I plan my day, doesn’t mean I’ll actually do all the things I’ve planned.

There is also the other extreme – doing three or four things at once. I’ll start one project, see another that I can do quickly and begin that, and then before I’ve finished either of those, start a third and fourth. This is definitely “crazy” behavior. If I had Bi-Polar Disorder, it would be a short manic period. The problem is, if I don’t quit and start cleaning up, it becomes very obvious that I’ve “gone over the edge.”

Having a conversation is also challenging, because while I am talking or while the other person is talking, one of my personalities will think of something else and miss the point. If I don’t monitor myself diligently, I’ll blank out and miss what the other person is saying, or I’ll change the subject without blinking an eye. I feel like my head is a gum ball machine. I can put my quarter in, but I’m never sure what’s going to come out.

Have you had problems with confusion? Do you ever feel like you’re on a mental “wild goose chase?”

All of these problems have their root in confusion. Here is what Mr. Webster has to say about “confuse.”

  1. archaic: to bring to ruin
  2. to make embarrassed: ABASH. This word originally meant to shame
  3. to disturb in mind or purpose: THROW OFF (“Interrogators who do their best to frighten and bewilder him,” Aldous Huxley)
  4. to make indistinct: BLUR (stop confusing the issue)
  5. to mix indiscriminately: JUMBLE
  6. to fail to differentiate from an often similar or related other ( ~ money with comfort).

I think all of us have experienced confusion, and hopefully this definition is helpful in understanding how to deal with it. Do you have problems with confusion? Do you have a special way of dealing with it?

God, the Ultimate Genius

My sister, Greta, is a born-again Christian and she loves the Lord. She also loves people and when a friend asked her to drive her to radiation treatment in Columbus, my sister agreed. Greta is very giving. Please don’t ask her for the shirt off her back, she’ll probably give it to you, leading to an embarrassing situation for all concerned. Anyway, we have a sweet friend, Holly, who has been battling cancer for about four years, and she asked Greta to drive her to Columbus. Greta did request, however, that they stop at the Apple Store in Columbus because Greta’s new I- phone was not working properly.

Holly’s appointment was for 1:45, but the ladies arrived at the Apple Store in plenty of time for Greta to explain her problem to a consultant. The consultants work at the GENIUS BAR, and are referred to as GENIUSES, and rightly so, since they seem to be a whole lot smarter than everyone else.

The problem with Greta’s phone was that it would not ring. When she received a call the phone merely vibrated, so my sister was missing a lot of calls. She has a two-story house and if she was downstairs, when the phone was on the second floor, she couldn’t hear the buzzing sound. She has a telemarketing business, so it was essential that the phone would ring. The Apple Store was her last resort in exchanging the phone.

Greta and Holly arrived at the store in plenty of time for Greta to pick out and exchange her phone. The consultant, excuse me, I mean the Genius, agreed she needed a new phone and within a few minutes she had one. The problem came when the geniuses tried to download her content from her old phone to the cloud on her new one. They started the download and the phone got the first few entries, but then it stopped and nothing happened. They tried again. The same thing happened.

Time was passing by and it was getting late. The Geniuses tried to download the content again. Greta was getting nervous. This was her last chance to get a new phone, because Apple doesn’t have a store in our town, and obviously traveling two hours to get to Columbus is not an easy option. Even so, the phone downloaded the first part of the content to the cloud and then sat still.

Greta decided to pray. She quietly and unobtrusively laid her hand on the phone and prayed:

“Dear God, you are the real Genius. You gave these people the knowledge to create this phone. You can do anything. Please make my content download, so I can take Holly to her appointment.” As she lifted her hand to look at the phone, the rest of her content began downloading and within minutes it was done. She silently thanked the Lord, who is the ULTIMATE GENIUS.

Bad Words

Thank you followers for giving me some time off to deal with my husband’s surgery. He was diagnosed with cancer and we have gone through a very stressful time during the last two months. He is doing well, and his surgeon got all the cancer, but he is now taking chemotherapy every two weeks for six months.

I am writing a stream-of-consciousness blog with bad words about what we have been going through since December of last year.

Pain, doctor’s appointments, Cat Scan, sickness, trouble breathing, fatigue, missing work, anxiety, prescriptions, antibiotics, x-rays, diseased tissue, fear, colonoscopy, surgery, tests, cancer, incision, blood, hospital, medicine, blood work, doctor, stress test, ultrasound, discomfort, diet, chemotherapy, nausea, infusion, intravenous, IV drip, cancer center.

There, I’ve got it all out of my system for awhile.

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them