"You better pray that things works when you put it back together or your Dad is going to kick your ass."
I looked at the carefully dissected guts of the Apple IIe my father had bought and experienced that chilling "oh shit!" moment reserved for ten year olds who don't think that far ahead. My boyhood friend Tom was right. I was staring down the barrel of eternal damnation and probably a serious ass beating to boot if I couldn't get this thing to work again before Dad came home from work.
I still remember the look of pride on my father's face when he brought it home. I remembered examining the box and packaging while Dad set it up in the living room. I remember the strange cables, the monochrome green monitor, the 5-1/4" floppy drive and the screaming state-of-the-art 300 baud modem.
"Computers are the future," my father predicted. "It's important you learn how to use them, son, because one day they will be everywhere."
So, the minute he went to work the next day, I pulled out my trusty screwdriver and took the entire thing apart. I don't even want to think about how much that first computer cost my family.
Happily, it all went back together again. I remember that frenzied and fear-filled hour putting everything back in while juggling the tiny screws. Amazingly it worked.
That Apple IIe opened up an entire new world for me. I credit that incredible feeling of accomplishment (and the joy of knowing I put it back together again and it worked!) with my love for technology today. These days I rarely take them apart anymore, but I still enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I get one of these goofy machines working properly.