“Oh,” daughter sighs, I’ve been craving a popsicle all day.”

It was the evening, but it was hot; it had been hot all day. Just as it should be in the first movement of August. She’d biked to the beach again for another perfect summer afternoon with friends by the water. That’s where they gather now. Parents forbidden by unspoken request. There’s a time when you go to the beach and bring the plastic sand-castle molds and towels and a book, even though you don’t read much because you’re always scanning the waves to make sure no one’s drowning.

Then comes the time when you stay behind.

“I can’t remember when I had a popsicle,” she said.

Mmm: my fault. There was a box of popsicles in the freezer downstairs, and I’d thrown it out, since they were red-white-and-blue patriotic popsicles, and they were probably expired, since the flag on the box had 48 stars. But do popsicles expire? Is there a theoretical limit to their longevity, or could you bury a box at the South Pole, dig it up 100 years later, and enjoy a frosty treat? I’d also tossed out a box of those colored poles in plastic sleeves, because I knew they were half a decade old, and took up too much room. They’re okay; the best part is the ichor at the bottom of the plastic sleeve, lukewarm and sticky-sweet.

But popsicles. Mmmmm. Twin Pops, cleaved in twain against the edge of the counter.

“Let’s go to the grocery store,” I said, and we were off.

The offerings were quite complex. They’ve stepped up the technology, and added brand extension: Sour Patch Kids Popsicles, which are sour on the outside and sweet on the inside. A shell, then. A brittle carapace of sourness, much like the personality of Rosie O’Donnell. She didn’t want those. The ones that had softer yogurt within seemed attractive, but that’s not a popsicle.

“They don’t have push-ups,” I said.

“I don’t really like push-ups.”

“Why? They’re creamy.” Recollected childhood experience of summer: licking the plastic at the end of the push-up, the hard cardboard edge softened slightly. Or: the consistency of a perfectly softened ice cream sandwich from the vending machine at Harry Howland Pool - when you opened the door the sandwich was raised into place in a frigid metal sleeve, and it took Operation-game-type skill to extract it without pushing it deeper into the sleeve. When they were brick-hard they weren’t that great. Softened, they were exquisite. It wasn’t quite chocolate, either. It was some form of flat, stiff cake. Damn.

There were lo-cal popsicles, in case 45 calories was just too much. There were popsicles as thick as a peglet, swirled with flavors. No Dreamsicles. You can get other things in Dreamsicle flavor but the original seems to have lost its hold on the high end of the confectionary scale.

I knelt down, and saw it.


Her eyes went wide. “Oooh, banana.”

“No, root beer.”

The two best flavors, I think. The box had 12; four were “Lemon-Lime,” guaranteed to be eaten last. We bought and went home and opened the box and took them out - not Twin-Pops. No slamming required. Just as well; you always got one that had more of the ridge than the other, and sometimes they broke all wrong.

The banana tastes like banana flavor, and the root beer tastes like root beer candy, but it doesn’t matter. We had our popsicles. It had been a long time. Can’t remember if they ever tasted so good.

You can do that together forever.

I almost wrote “had an interesting time troubleshooting a software malfunction” but this would be too depressing to consider - really? Interesting? Well, it can be, if you’re interested in solving things, and feel proud about your elite skills (that’s the new, hip way to say l33t skilz, which is so old-fashioned by now) and your ability to fix a computer problem without going to a message board.

Because they’re often like this:

First poster: Help!!! I started up iPhoto and there aren’t any photos in it.

Answer: have you put any photos in the program

First poster: Oh right - so, how? Do I hold up the card to the screen?

If it’s a smart board, the questions will be smart as well:

First poster: Hey, need some help. When I call up iPhoto it hangs on loading. I notice that CPU activity spikes at 74%, and by looking at the crash log I see a lines that says “init thmb.plist bad call line 12.” I’ve trashed the plist; same problem. I thought it was a corrupted thumb, but I created a test account with no photos, and the same thing happens. Any thoughts? Using 9.0.2.”

Answer: did you try turning the computer off and on again?

Anyway. The entire iPhoto program froze, and nothing I could do solved the problem. Not even restoring from backup, since the backups on Time Machine were corrupted in some tiny, useless way that made it impossible for the database to remember that the picture Miami was taken in Miami. Which is really, really important. This meant that every single photo in the program was inaccessible.

I have been using this program for my photos since 2000.

Many people would have a poor reaction to this. But this is why I don’t use photo album programs of any kind. The only photos in iPhoto are the selected ones I use for screensavers on the TV downstairs and the slideshows on my mobile devices. Last year I moved everything out, named every photo according to subject matter, and put them in folders that had helpful names. If one thing gets corrupted it doesn’t bring everything else down. So no, I don’t trust programs that put everything in a wad. I don’t trust the cloud. I don’t trust anything except a hierarchical file system backed up four times, thank you very much.

Today: clownpickles. Sorry about this. I really am.







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