Chips Falling Where They May
This never would have happened with a roll of film. There would have been no Kodak moment with me crawling on my hands and knees, like a pig sniffing for truffles, hunting for a 2 gigabyte digital camera chip. No, this crisis is brought to you by Silicon Valley.
Bonnie, Moxie, and I visited friends in Maryland recently, where a new household member, a young Airedale named Benson, had Moxie’s full attention. So enamored was senior citizen Moxie, that he ran alongside Ben, his inner puppy on display, for hours on end in the backyard. This fact is key, it comes up later.
Emmie the Cocker Spaniel joined Benson and Moxie, and photo ops of the bounding pooches abounded.
After taking three cute pictures and viewing them on the camera, I handing off the Sony Cybershot to my pal across the table. She immediately noticed the battery compartment flap open, and an empty slot where the photo chip should have been.
“It was there a minute ago,” I said, “I just took pictures and saw the results.”
Four minds with a single thought: “The chip fell out under the table, don’t let one of the dogs eat it!” As I said, an old fashioned roll of Kodachrome would not have initiated this emergency.
Complete with synchronized groans and unfortunate forehead banging, the four of us dove under the table to search for the errant chip. Nothing. Thinking it might have fallen through the deck onto the gravel patio below, our quartet scurried down the steps to go beachcombing. Lousy on the knees and no success to boot.
Baffled and concerned, we went about our business for the rest of the day, stopping often to wonder exactly where the good chip lollipop had gone.
That night, Emmie suffered a bout of the trots and we were all certain she had ingested two gigabytes of memory and its surrounding plastic, metallic, industrial strength parts. By the next day, a veterinary visit, complete with intestinal x-ray, revealed no foreign bodies in her system and she was diagnosed with garden variety stomach trouble. Perhaps it was too many table scraps, the heat, or the excitement of a new Airedale in the house. But it took $165 at the vet to declare the Maltese Chip’s whereabouts still a mystery.
Meanwhile, back at our ranch, Moxie refused to get out of bed, and when he did, he shuffled like comic Tim Conway’s Mr. Tudball on the old Carol Burnett show. And if you remember that, you probably once had a chipless Brownie Starflash Camera, too.
Poor Moxie. Something seemed really wrong. He had to have swallowed the missing chip. We kept looking for him to produce, um…evidence we could reluctantly examine, but none at all was forthcoming.
In fact, he had not produced any evidentiary material at all in twenty four hours. Naturally, he waited until 3 a.m. the following night to let us know exactly how sick he was. He wouldn’t settle down, and was whimpering in pain. Good thing we now have an emergency vet clinic right up the street. Damn Cybershot. What I wouldn’t give for my Kodak pocket camera with the 110 cartridge. Nobody could have swallowed that.
Examinations and x-rays ensued, as we explained our fear that somewhere in Moxie’s digestive system, there lurked a 2 gigabyte memory chip recording his stomach contents. The young vet tech looked at me blankly when I joked that this could not have happened if I still used my Instamatic camera with flash cubes.
“Flash cubes?” she said, as if I had mentioned rotary phones or Green Stamps.
So here’s the upshot. No chip in anybody’s intestines. Moxie, it turns out was seriously constipated, requiring a “procedure.” Four hundred and twenty dollars later, the middle-of-the-night doggie enema complete, the vet had a theory. She believed that elder statesman Moxie romped with his doggie pals so energetically that he was quite the hurting puppy—and bending his knees to “assume the position” in the back yard was too painful for him to bother. So he didn’t. Made sense to me. I’m still sore from being on my hands and knees combing through the gravel for that damned gigachip. Too bad Moxie didn’t pop an Advil like I did, before more drastic measures were necessary.
As for goodbye mister chip, two weeks later, I was sitting at my desk, when I glanced over at the printer.
There, sticking out of the camera chip slot was, surprise, a camera chip. What the hell? It the chip was there all the time, and never in the camera, how did I take the pictures of the romping canines?
You learn something every day. Did you know that digital cameras have hard drives and they can take a couple of photos without any memory chip? Me neither. So we never had a chip in the camera in the first place, it never fell out, we never had to play Jessica Fletcher, we needn’t have worried about our dogs’ colon health and I feel like a complete chip off the old blockhead.
I want my Brownie Starflash back.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, and For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries.