Rats, I needed a calculator.
I opened the desk drawer only to discover that my trusty Hewlett-Packard 10-C was not in its usual spot. I moved some stuff around. Nothing. I gave the drawer a good rummage. Still nothing.
Well, that's the pits. I wonder where it went? Probably sprouted legs and walked off. I checked under the desk and on the shelf. Nothing.
"Hey!" I shouted, "anyone seen my calculator?"
"Anybody seen my CALCULATOR?"
"Whaaaat? It's in the drawer!"
"No, it's not! It's GONE!"
"Well, stop YELLING about it and get another calculator."
Get another calculator. Bah! I didn't want another calculator. I wanted MY calculator. I wanted my HP 10-C! I gave the desk drawer another rummage just in case it had teleported back from the Tenth Dimension, you know, the one where single socks go. Nothing.
So, I got up, walked down the hall and looked on Sarah's desk. CD's, walkman, watercolor paint box, cat treats, Archie comics. Oh, Archie comics! What's old Jughead up to? Oh, look, he's bumming hamburgers off of Archie! That Jughead, he's a regular laff riot.
Ah, ha! Finally. Sarah's calculator. Texas Instruments. I looked at the keyboard. Yes, there was the dreaded "equals" key.
"Inferior TI piece of junk," I thought, "still sporting the old equals key, eh?"
I tried not to think about my missing HP 10-C. No "equals" key there. No sirree, not to be found. Reverse Polish Notation didn't need no stinkin' "equals" key. Yep, no doubt about it, I was an RPN Snob and proud of it.
I snatched up the TI, anyway, and headed back to the study.
Click click. Nothing.
Clickity click click click CLICKITY CLICK. Nothing.
I turned over the TI, opened the battery hatch and gazed at an empty bay. Four little slots which should be holding an AA battery each stared back. I had a bad feeling about this.
"Hey!" I shouted, "anybody got some double-A batteries?"
"I said, anybody got some ... oh, never mind."
"I said NEVER MIND!!"
"Well, QUIT SHOUTING THEN!"
I sighed, went downstairs to the kitchen and paused in front of the Junk Drawer.
Every kitchen on the planet has a Junk Drawer. Things that for some mysterious reason don't deserve a drawer of their own end up in the Junk Drawer. We have a silverware drawer, a towel drawer, a kitchen things drawer and a first aid stuff drawer. You'd think we'd have a Battery Drawer if for no other reason than to prevent what was about to happen.
I pulled open the Junk Drawer and was greeted by Junk. Not just a scattering of Junk. Not Junk that was organized and categorized, specialized and sanitized. Nope. This was pure twenty-first century debris. Bits and pieces of everything: pens without ink, pencils with broken tips, dried fingernail polish, solidified glue, shoelaces, Post-It sticker pads, marbles, a yo-yo without string, my old 20 Mb disc drive that I was going to fix some day and a comprehensive collection of refrigerator magnets.
After a few minutes zeroing in on batteries I pulled out the following:
Three 8-packs of AAA batteries.
Sixteen 3.5 volt camera batteries.
One rechargable battery for a camera we lost four years ago.
I looked at the useless pile of junk and scraped it back into the Junk Drawer to ferment for a few more years. Maybe they'd all mate and produce some AA's.
As I trudged back upstairs, lamenting the loss of my beloved HP 10-C, undoubtedly abducted by aliens or swept out to sea, I thought about how cool it would be to be able to Google some AA's. That would be cool. Type in "AA batteries" into Google and it would come back with "behind the couch in the TV room." Or I could Google "where's my HP 10-C" and it would return with "half-way to Alpha Centauri." Yeah, that would be my luck. Maybe I could Google my calculation.
Google my calculation.
Google my calculation! That's it! I CAN Google my calculation. Google has a calculator! All I have to do is type it in, hit Return and bingo!
I leapt up the stairs two at a time, ran into the study, dived into the chair and wiggled the mouse. Screen saver. Come on, come ON!
Finally. I clicked on the search box and typed.
"76 / 19"
I pressed Return.
Instantly Google spit back: 4
Ah, 4. I thought so.