Goats vs. computers make for an akkkk! kind of week

By Kat Bergeron

REGINA MISKOWSKY/AS I SEE IT PHOTOGRAPHYHow could you ignore a face like this when he is injured? But Ralphie, a LaMancha goat, definitely does not like injections.
REGINA MISKOWSKY/AS I SEE IT PHOTOGRAPHYHow could you ignore a face like this when he is injured? But Ralphie, a LaMancha goat, definitely does not like injections.

I am writing this on the fly. Not literally, of course. That would be a comical scene, getting a fly to be still long enough to scribble something on its tiny body.

I am figuratively writing on a fly, which by the plethora of generic Google definitions boils down to mean "doing something quickly, often while doing something else." So why am I doing this? My hard drive crashed, and I have been without fully functional computer for a week and still counting.

Deadlines loom. Akkkk. How can I write without a keyboard?

A technician came to my home office to install a new hard drive, the computer equivalent of a brain's memory. When I groused about being late on an assignment, he glanced at the assorted photos, plaques and odd bits of testimonials that attest to my 40-plus years as a journalist and writer. "I'm surprised you haven't hauled out a typewriter," he quipped.

Believe it or not, I have one. That wonderful non-electric, portable Brother typewriter that was my high school graduation gift is rare proof of my early beginnings as a writer, with most other evidence claimed by time or storms. Sadly, I can't find an ink ribbon for it.

A writer without a keyboard is like a bus driver without a bus. Or a breakfast chef without eggs. Or a goat with only three good legs.

I've tried hand-writing but that just doesn't work. My fingers, brain and computer keys are synced like well-tuned piano keys. Fingers, pen and paper are labor intensive and unsynced with the brain.

Even worse, my handwriting is horrible after decades of fast note-taking as a reporter. My fourth-grade teacher never knew I'd live up to her admonishment, when she held up an unnamed test paper and chided, "Whose chicken scratch is this?" Akkkk.

When it rains, it pours

My computer problems are just the icing on the cake this week. Again, the generic Websters defines "icing on the cake" as "something that makes a situation better ... or considerably worse."

The week began with learning that my transportation situation had changed drastically and I must rearrange my next planned trip between Virginia and the Mississippi Coast. I have to reconnoiter travel methods, social engagements and figure out how to get in-progress spring plantings and porch painting completed on a shortened schedule.

Also, I long ago committed this week to animal sit for my sister so she and hubby could take an anniversary trip. I can't back out of that.

My first day on animal watch, Ralphie came limping up to me. Akkkk. So much for an easy time of looking after goats, a horse, three dogs, two cats and a fish. Have you ever given a goat a penicillin shot? No? Well, neither had I.

Ralphie, in playing goat Houdini, tightly wrapped a thin wire, chewed off a fence, around his back right thigh. The leg, nearly garrotted, was inflamed and swollen three times normal. And it was a Sunday.

To cut to the quick (Generic Webster: "get to the point") a friend who is a veterinarian tech came to the rescue that first day but it fell on me to give Ralphie daily injections. For the first attempt, after being scared by repeated warnings to avoid arteries because that would kill him, I gave myself a C-. Ralphie, sweet Ralphie, would likely give me a D-. Despite another friend trying to keep him still, he moved, the needle came out of his hide and I had to do it again. Double Akkkk.

I am no born injection nurse. Needles are too reminiscent of the days when I was part of a military family that lived overseas so several times a year we had to line up in auditoriums for immunizations from dastardly school nurses. With hundreds of eyes watching, we all feigned bravery.

Goats are no different

I advised Ralphie to not make a big deal of his shots. So why did he limp in the opposite direction, as fast as he could muster, the second day I showed up with a syringe?

Being a bit scared and overly cautious about Ralphie's shots is doing a Pete and Re-Pete (Generic Webster: "Repeated again and again") as I try to piece this computer back together again. It's a bit like Humpty Dumpty, only nothing about this modern technology is as simple as piecing together a broken egg shell.

Because you are reading this, I at least have the word processor successfully installed. In modern lingo, a word processor is a computer's typewriter. Good thing Ralphie's hoofs are too big for my laptop keyboard because he'd have a thing or two to add.

P.S. After five days I begged the vet to switch to an oral antibiotic. So now I ask, have you ever given a goat a pill? Well, neither have I.

At least Ralphie doesn't run from me when I show up with crushed pills disguised in molasses. Now, if I could find such an easy solution for the techs who still don't have my computer ready to fly.

Kat Bergeron, a veteran feature writer specializing in Gulf Coast history and sense of place, is retired from the Sun Herald. She writes the Coast Chronicles column as a freelance correspondent. Reach her at or c/o Sun Herald Newsroom, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.