It’s always fun to come across a rare item in a junk shop or yard sale. There was a time when I spent quite a few summer Saturdays cruising to find yard sales. But after a while it seemed that I was hitting a dozen or more yard sales to find one good item, and I backed off. I still swing by yard sales when I’m traveling, though. The lure of new hunting grounds is hard to resist.
Traveling in Florida today, I stopped by a church yard sale where I found some old computer equipment, among it some original Tandy DeskMate 3 software. As I looked through the box containing the items I spotted a familiar book: Getting the Most Out of DeskMate 3, a book I wrote in 1989.
DeskMate was then a contender in the PC multi-tasking software arena, but Windows 3 was close to winning the field. In the few months before DeskMate was overwhelmed by Windows, though, my book sold over 62,000 copies.
Spotting the book in the bottom of the box of old computer junk was a kick, just like the first time I saw one of my novels in a used bookstore, and later on eBay. It brought back some pleasant memories, and I was happy to pay three bucks for the book (even though I have several copies) along with the original DeskMate 3 disks and the scant documentation that came with them (I’d lost those over the years).
More than finding something I had forgotten I’d lost, the discovery was something of an affirmation of my career—proof that my work had reached across the country and helped new computerists master their machines. It was every bit as gratifying as seeing copies of my books in Indonesian, Italian, and Japanese, or learning that pirated copies of a couple of my titles exist in Russia and China.
Copyright © 2007, Michael A. Banks