It's only in hindsight that I realize why I started spending time in the smoke-hole in the first place. So many of the things we do, we keep from ourselves.
The day after Christmas in 1994, my father upgraded our family computer with a new CD-ROM drive. This wasn't because one of us had received the hardware as a gift—in fact, Dad had to brave the post-holiday morass at the local electronics store to buy the thing. The drive was for my benefit, because I'd been given a copy of King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride . The advanced graphics in the brand-new Sierra release were too robust for our old drive, and I was so disappointed at being unable to play that my parents decided it was probably time to beef up the computer anyway. (I suspect that Dad might have had a bit of personal interest in that decision, but I'm certainly not going to hold it against him.)
When you sign on, my instant message service creaks like a door's hinges / not oiled enough to admit a ghost.