My Chromebook died over the weekend. Computers are like dogs. Usually, they get sick over the weekend when the only remedy is the weekend vet at double the price.

I don’t know if I believe this but if things happen in threes, the Chromebook was No. 3. First the microwave crashed, then the windshield shattered on Sue’s car and now this.

Chromebooks are like laptops. Cheap laptops. In order to work, they require Wi-Fi and a squirrel running circles in a cage.

I paid $399 for mine. I felt like I had gotten a good deal. I stayed under $400. Tax doesn’t count.

A $399 laptop delivers the same kind of satisfaction as does a set of free weights that you paid $40 for at a yardsale. In a month, you’ve gotten your money’s worth. In two months, you’re making money.

Mine was an ASUS, which sounds like the sound someone makes when they sneeze. A few days ago, the laptop wouldn’t light up. Maybe it was a charging problem so I charged it for a couple of hours but it still wouldn’t turn on.

I went into denial. I held on tight to what had been, but what had been was gone and all the charging in the world wasn’t bringing it back.

I called India. I like calling India. “Dan,” my ASUS customer rep was polite, friendly and eager to help.

“Dan” put me through my paces like a hotwalker would a horse after a good workout.

“Press the On button for 15 seconds in concert with the reset button,” he said. “If that doesn’t work, try holding both down for a minute.”

We tried everything but chanting, lighting a sprig of white sage and raising our glasses to the partnership between America and India.

After Dan and I said goodbye, I tried to pretend I didn’t care whether the Chromebook worked again. I turned my back on it like you might a pretty girl in high school hoping she’ll be impressed because you don’t care if she goes out with you or not.

When that didn’t work, I put the Chromebook back in its case and let it sit overnight in a drawer. Solitary confinement might give ASUS an opportunity to rethink its insouciance.

“You know, Dad, you sort of got your money’s worth,” Sam said. “Three years on a laptop you paid $400 for.”

Not $400, $399. My deal was a better deal.

“Dan” had left instructions if I wanted to send ASUS in for diagnosis and repairs. The company charged $60 for the diagnosis and more if they had to do anything.

Before I made a decision, I tossed ASUS in the wastebasket in my office. I wanted to show him I was serious. That if he wanted to live, he would have to choose to live soon. A couple hours later I took him out of the trash to see if he had gotten the message but he hadn’t. The laptop was deader than Copernicus.

I drove to Costco and asked if they had Chromebooks. Does a monkey like coconuts? They had an HP for $299. That’s my sweetspot. It’s been a week and I’m already making money.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or (661) 395-7279.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.