Auditors and accountants have a very personal, intimate relationship with their calculators.
For most of my professional life, I had endured being laughed at, teased, made fun of, by non-accounting/auditing friends, who find my lugging around my ancient table calculator at all times, a source of never ending amusement. I don't mind. Few things came between me and my calculator (one of which is coffee, but that's for another blog), but for the most part, we're inseparable. I simply feel naked without it.
But perhaps what's even more unusual, is that it has to be the calculator. I have only changed calculators once in the past ten years, and it was with so much grief because I couldn't find my original, large numbered calculator. When I finally found it again (the original, large numbered calculator, or OLNC for short), I nearly sagged with relief. Far from retiring it, I had even used for a couple more years, even though its batteries have long died and it only relied on its solar power. With reluctance, I had put it in a "home" when the numbers are no longer discernible. The "home" was our little shelf in our condo where useful things reside: scissors, tape, clips etc. There, my battered, ten year old calculator would stay to be called only during special circumstances wherein I would have to calculate something at home (hey, it happens).
I write this blog now, because I have just been introduced to a nifty, far more advanced, and expensive looking calculator: the HP 171BLL Financial Calculator. It comes with its own leather case, and 300 page manual. It has buttons that are alien to me like "Print" and "Input" and "Math" (like, isn't the whole point of calculating is to do math?). Its packaging boasts of 28K user memory, 250 easy-to-use functions, a solve application nd RPN and algebraic entry. Browsing through its manual, I find that it can perform cash flows and mortgages without you having to put in an equation.
But despite all its cool functions, I feel disconnected.
I find myself longing for my battered, solar/batter operated calculator whose most advanced function was that it could back space. And yet, if I were a fantasy character and the calculator was a sword, there would be no question that I should be happy to obtain something so cool, it has its own name. But I'm not.
Maybe I'm just getting old and the barrage of information is too much for me to process. Or maybe I really just have difficulty moving out of my comfort zone. Or maybe, irrational or not, I just find it a sort of betrayal to the relationship I have had with my good, old calculator who has been a sort of friend, sort of security blanket, sort of good luck charm over the years.