My IT Practice is built around consulting services for small businesses – after all, I’m a Microsoft Small Business Specialist. In addition to all my business clients, I do have one or two home users, mostly because they are so admirable I just like being around them. That’s the case with Ed, one of my home user clients. Ed is 97 (shown here resting and very much alive) and today he told me that he doesn’t know if he’ll make it to 98. I’m always glad when Ed calls me with a computer problem a couple times a year because then I know he is still ‘on this side of the dirt’ as he says it. Ed goes to his office downtown, travels to Europe, and relies heavily on his computer for email correspondence with colleagues all around the world and to order books on Amazon. The doorbell at Ed’s house sounds like the buzzer that is sounded just before the industrial conveyor belt is started – it is LOUD! Ed’s hearing is a little weak but he is sharp as a tack. When he called me today the problem was connecting to the internet. I think Ed is the only person I know that uses dial-up access. Since I have known him his ISP has been aquired by another ISP two or three times. The problem today we found was that his dial-up access telephone number was for a line ‘no longer in service’. Even Ed commented it would have been nice if they notified their customers before making a change like that. I was wondering if this should have been stated in the singular instead of plural. About two years ago (at age 95) Ed told me he had been giving it a lot of thought and decided he wasn’t going to keep saving his money and that I should get him a new computer to replace his Windows 95 pc! A year or two ago when I was at his house one time he showed me his Outlook Express inbox and said: LOOK AT THAT – CAN YOU BELIEVE IT – THEY WANT TO MAKE MY PENIS LARGER – AS IF IT MATTERS! When I was saying goodbye to Ed today he asked ‘what do I owe you’. I told him he owed me nothing and to put his wallet away. Then I tried a tactic that I used to use on my mother-in-law whose memory wasn’t what it used to be. I told Ed that I would just include this service time in my bill the next time. He looked at me and said ‘that’s what you told me last time’. Life is Good – and part of it is the privelege of knowing people like Ed.