Can I get an amen, Mr. Hemsley?

— 11:37 AM on June 24, 2009

As the four sober followers of this column may recall, I was on vacation last week in lovely Oceanside, California. Here's a brief synopsis for those who wish to live vicariously through a be-afro'd, pasty diabetic with an oily t-zone: The kiddos (16-month-old twins) did great on both plane rides with no crying, only a moderate amount of squirming and not a single pellet of poo—huzzah! If only the same could be said of our row-mates. The high was 70-degrees every single flippin' day. Ate at In-N-Out Burger twice (a 3x3 with no onion) and YumYum Donuts once. Survived Disneyland without getting shivved by any goofballs hopped up on Goofy. Did I mention two trips to In-N-Out? Mmmmmmmmmmeat.

The trip included my wife's entire family, most of whom I can actually get along with for extended periods of time without an sort of liquid-based tranquilization. As you may suspect, if you're the suspicious type who learned nothing from Elvis, I'm the designated Tech Dweeb of the fold. Questions about computers, cameras, TVs, warp drives and any other electronic hoohah are instinctively lobbed my way like so much monkey poo. So when my eldest sister-in-law's boyfriend commented that he needed a new notebook and was consider switching to Mac, the rest of family scattered like hippies at a shower.

As a devout Mac user for, lo, these many years, one might think that I could be labeled a Mac evangelist. Perhaps a red-faced Swaggart sort extolling the virtues of pre-marital docking, or perhaps a tootacular Robert Tilton wannabe promising the healing power of, ironically enough, Darwin to the Blue Screen of Death-plagued masses.

But I am not such a zealot.

Don't misunderstand me; I love my Mac. But not a disturbingly inappropriate amount. As in, I haven't named it Manny the MacBook Pro or left it some spare RAM in my will. Frankly, I've always been fairly ready to live and let live when it comes to computers. Less so with hippies, which you probably already gathered. I'll gladly give my opinion when asked, but trying to proactively convince a PC user that they should come over to the land of Mac and hip honies in geek-chic glasses just isn't much fun to me.

Basically, I figure if someone decides to keep or buy a PC, they either A) need it for work and don't want the hassle; B) think switching is too much of a hassle; C) don't really do much on their computer anyway and, therefore, don't need the hassle. Then there are people who really just want to harass you about being a Mac user and have no intention of switching. This was more common in the pre-iPod era. To me, these people deserved every IRQ conflict they got, so why would I want their computing lives to be easier?

Still, there's always a bit of joy to be had when one convinces someone else to switch to their side. Whether it's politics, religion, over/under on the toilet paper (it's under, btw) or iPhone vs. Pre (no comment), nothing boosts one's false sense of rightitude like a once disagreeable bastardo becoming a brother-in-arms.

The only problem is, there's no real challenge to it anymore.

Face it: owning a Mac is now cool. Sure it's taken over a decade for the news of my Mac-owning ways to spread across the land, but at least my mission is near complete. It just doesn't take much convincing to switch someone to the Dark Turtleneck Side. Especially when nearly everyone owns an iPhone. Here's basically what happened with my pseudo-brother-in-law:

PBIL: So, I'm thinking of switching to Mac.

Me: Cool. Apple just announced new ones yesterday, so your timing is great.

PBIL: Cool. To be honest, though, I'm not really sure why I'd want one over a PC.

Me: Well, do you like your iPhone.

PBIL: Yeah, it's great. Except for the hideous quality control issues. [He's on his third 3G, yikes.]

Me: Well, your iPhone runs a version of the Mac's operating system, so you'll feel right at home. What programs do you need to run?

PBIL: Office, QuickBooks and web browsing. Plus a lot of photos.

Me: No problem. And you can install Windows just in case you ever need to run it for some bizarre reason.

PBIL: What about price? Aren't they a lot more expensive?

Me: Not so much anymore. Besides, you can use [my sister-in-law]'s education discount.

PBIL: Cool. I'm getting a Mac.

Me: Cool.

And that was that. Just a couple of dudes saying "cool" a bit too much and one deciding to get a Mac. Where was my sense of victory? Where was that tugging on my soul to call Mr. Wasson and gloat? It's wherever it went the day he got an iPhone and Dr. Evil Brown bought his own MBP or three.

Sigh. I used to be weird. I used to be a creative outsider. Now I'm just part of the aluminum collective.

Wait. I am still weird. Cool.



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