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  • I got a massage today. I really needed it. 55 minutes of excruciating pain that I knew would leave me sore for the next few days. It's weird when you know that pain is just the thing for you, just the thing you need.

    "Your right arm is very, very bad," said the masseuse, a sweet Japanese lady who had moved to Southern California for a man.

    "I was married once. A long time ago. Then things didn't work out," she explained to me as she kneaded her fingers into my twisted, knotted back, "but I like it here."

    She lathered her hands up with lotion.

    "This is your main arm? Your mouse arm?" asked, prodding further into my right shoulder.

    "Yeah," I said, "no good mice."

    "Silly little mice," she said.

    It was about then that I started to drift off, off into the faint soundtrack of piped-in new age music played on flutes and finger pianos, off into notes that trickled up and down scales and didn't resolve quite where you thought they would, off into scented oils and lotions and a dark cave of a room that could be anywhere, but was most certainly not in Orange County, California.

    I thought about the very first time I ever used a mouse. I could remember it clearly. Not exactly where I home in my basement or in my dad's office or at school. Not when it was--well, sometime in the early 90s--but not exactly. But I remember it, the feeling of it, the sensation, so clearly. How difficult it was to sync the tiny cursor to the unfamiliar object in your hand. How counterintuitive, the movement on the screen and its real world counterpart. How easy to lose that pixelated representation of the arrow or the clock or the tiny hand pointing, and how hard it could be to find it again. Those old mice with the roller balls that would collect lint and dust and bits of dirt, which would of course make them stop working, so you'd have to open them up and take the ball out and clear all the linty bits out with a pair of your stepmom's eyebrow tweezers.

    Now, I write this on a neat, clean, thin metallic laptop that doesn't even require a mouse. There's a pad in front of the keyboard that seems smarter than me and it's whole raison d'etre is picking up my own movements and translating them into zeroes and ones. This little miracle gives me options about how to control the screen, with one finger or two, with a tap or a snap.

    I can already feel my back starting to hurt again.
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