Retrorock of Ages

Someone posted this from my Facebook account at 4:00 this morning. I can’t remember whether it was me.


When I first got my Tandy 102, I thought that UV had aged the ABS plastic of the case from a nice creamy 1986 beige to a 2013 puke yellow. “I haven’t seen that color since I pooped it into my diaper,” said my friend John Braley, rather crassly I thought, when he first glimpsed the device. (Note: John does not currently wear a diaper, and I do not expect this to change in the near future. Nor am I attempting to damn him by mere mention of a diaper. But could someone really remember that far? I guess what I’m saying is, forget the diaper image. I’m sorry I brought it up.)

I was distraught. I was going to attempt daubing on the 21st-century miracle product Retr0bright to return the 102 to its rightful beige, but it’s risky, it’s risky — and in the right light, I can now see that that poop yellow could be called a period-authentic Harvest Gold. So who am I to meddle with the quasi-divine forces of time, nature, free bromine radicals, and my own tendency to let things slide, by stripping that gorgeous patina (a crime for which aspirants are routinely gelded on Antiques Roadshow, gelded I say) and thereby depriving future generations (probably my nephews, but possibly the Living Computer Museum of Seattle, a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a Heaven for) of an authentic retrocomputing experience?

I will not deprive anyone of the right to use or merely caress reverently the last computer on which the pre-beatification-and-upload Bill Gates ever personally hacked code, and when those pilgrims come — and they will come — they can gaze upon a machine caked thickly in the colors with which God Himself chose to adorn it.

Or I might try to mix up some Retr0bright. It doesn’t look that hard. Talk to me when I’ve had some sleep.


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