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When You Wish Upon a Tree

Yesterday I lost everything.  Well not everything, everything.  I still have my health, my family and friends, and all of my material possessions.  Except one.  My external hard drive.  Actually, I still have the hard drive – or rather, the piece of plastic shell with an attached USB cord that you would look at and say, “Yep, that’s a hard drive.”  Except it’s  not.  Because yesterday it decided to eat my life.

It had things on there – important things, at least to me, that I will never be able to replace.  Photos from my trip to Costa Rica and paragraphs I added to my 9-page novel in bouts of drunken inspiration.  Those kinds of things.

Before you say anything, I realize the perils of using a backup system as my primary means of storage.  Now, more than ever.  So that’s fine.  Blame me.  But do we ever get to question – just every once in a while – why a $100 piece of electronic equipment can’t even last AN ENTIRE F*CKING YEAR WITHOUT GOING TO SHIT?!??!??!?$!*#&(!*!*&@^!(@&*~)

I’m just wondering.

But I’m actually not as upset as I feel like I should be.  I’m freakishly numb about the whole thing.  Maybe it’s because I’m still holding out hope that the  information can be saved.  Maybe Justin’s stick-it-in-the-freezer trick will work on the 8th try or my mom’s super computer-savvy boyfriend can figure it out.  If not, I can just defrost it and boil it up for dinner tonight – the makings of my soul served up on my favorite white platter from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It’s low-cal, too.

In reality, there are many worse things that could happen.  And punching my fist through a wall – which is what I’d like to do but its such a guy thing to do and I kind of like my knuckles anyway – just isn’t going to fix it.  I was reminded of this when I wandered into a sculpture garden off to the side of the pedestrian mall in front of the capitol building in D.C. last Tuesday.

It mostly had strange statues…

Hirshhorn Museum Statue

And one I wouldn’t mind being for a day…

(I only still have these pictures, by the way, because I’m about as neglectful at deleting things off my memory card as I am about backing up my hard drive.  Maybe if I’d spent as much money on memory cards as I did on the hard drive, I’d still have my Costa Rica pictures.)

But the garden also had a tree.  A wish tree.  (I’m willing to overlook the fact that this tree is an art installation by Yoko Ono, the woman who could arguably be blamed for the breakup of the Beatles.  Because the tree is cool.)

Theoretically, spectators are supposed to whisper their wishes to the tree.  The sign didn’t say whether the wishes were supposed to come true – it just said to whisper them.  Apparently some people didn’t feel that was enough, so they scribbled their wishes on pieces of scrap paper and stuck them on the branches of the tree.

Some wishes were straightforward, general pleas for survival.

National Wish Tree

Some were a little more specific, a little less necessary for survival.

Some were simply a sign of the times.

And others were hauntingly cryptic.

But the point is, not one of the scraps, as far as I could tell, asked for a magically repaired hard drive.  I suppose it is a little shallow.  And definitely not worth the paper.

But if I were there right now, I still might whisper a little wish to the tree.  Nothing as ridiculous as asking it to magically repair my hard drive, of course:

Dear wish tree,

Please help me rewind time and have the sense to back up all of my data like everyone always said I should before my hard drive inevitably crashes, effectively destroying months of hard work and memories.  Thank you.

National Wish Tree, Yoko Ono

Sounds reasonable, no?


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Dennis Hong

Ugh. I’ve had this happen to me, too, so I feel ya. If it’s any consolation, the data in a crashed hard drive is usually retrievable, as long as the drive itself hasn’t been physically damaged.

Good luck, though….


Well, crap. My whole freeze-it-and-bang-it-on-the-counter method might not have been such a good idea…


You have my email address. If you have time, send me the symptoms and what you’ve tried and maybe I can help collaborate on a solution. And the first part of any good solution is vodka…I imagine. But seriously, email me.


Done. Though I should warn you I’m already like halfway through the alcohol therapy…


You are not alone. I rarely back anything up either, at least not the important stuff…which is odd…but I have now been inspired.

That really blows though. I know I’d feel somewhat numb too.


Do it. Do it NOW.

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