Bally Alley

The Forgotten Half

by Pat Brady

(November/December 1980 and January/February 1981)

These two articles first appeared in Cursor 2, no. 4 (November/December 1980): 78. and Cursor, 2, no. 5 (January/February 1980): 81-90. These appear to have been meant to be a series of ongoing articles, but these were the only two that were published.

This column is devoted to the forgotten half. You will know who you are!

To you, PRINT is that blouse that you bought that is still hanging in your closet.

A GOSUB is a small submarine that Jock Cousteau uses for exploring: a LINE NUMBER is what the birds do to your clothesline every spring. Do you remember when a PROGRAM meant "Days of Our Lives?" When pictures on the screen moved all by themselves and not with a Hand Control? For us, those days are long gone!!

Now, I don't know when your life changed, but mine changed on December 25, 1979. Yes, we were blessed with a beautiful bouncing BALLY!!!! Our new arrival seemed to look harmless indeed, offering hours of entertainment for the whole family and taking up minimal space on the coffee table.

The one cartridge entitled BALLY BASIC held no interest for anyone over SPACE INVADERS. We anxiously awaited being able to purchase a new cartridge. It became a compulsion, save some money, by a cartridge. This continued until we had every cartridge available and boredom was setting in. The BALLY BASIC cartridge was just lying in its box waiting.... (By comparison, Pandora's Box was an ice cream maker.)

As all good things must come to an end, a very clever person in this family decided to test our BALLY BASIC cartridge and see what it could do. Can you imagine the surprise on everyone's faces when by inputting BC=any #, the screen changed color? Of course you can, you've been through this, right???????? Right!

The beginning of the end: the end of TV shows on Saturday or Sunday. The end of Saturday morning cartoons for the kids. For a while, I was beginning to think I was losing control... every question I asked had to be in quotation marks to be understood.

I would find myself staying up late, trying to find a way to make this harmless toy that had taken over our lives, disappear....... Could I drop it down the stairs??? No, too obvious... Could I take it apart and steal the chips????? No, I could just see it, the kids would get blamed and I couldn't let them take the blame!!! Could I??????? No, what kind of person would do that.......DESPERATE....

I would welcome any advice on learning to cope, or barring that, at least a very sneaky and cunning way to get rid of the darn thing without any chance of the blame falling on me!


P.S. If you write me, you don't have to worry about his reading my mail. He's too busy with you-know-what to ever check the mail.

Here I am again! I knew I was not alone. I received several letters and felt this one merits your attention:

"I read your column in CURSOR and felt I had to write! I have suffered from the same problems you are going through now. However, my husband sat me down one day and explained how fortunate I was. He began with "at least you always know where I am!" He could be sitting at a bar, or going out with the boys twice a week, or worse yet, there could be another woman. He was right! I was being foolish, at least that's what I told him.

"Lately, I have noticed some strange things happening. I'll wake up in the middle of the night, and he's gone! And searching for him, I hear the quiet sound of the computer, but something is different about it now!

"When I walk into the room, he shuts it off, rewinds the tape, and seems very embarrassed! The following night, when I noticed he was gone again, I approached the room where the computer is located, and could have sworn I heard heavy breathing, with rhythmic sounds and quiet beeping. I was too afraid to look!!

"I know this may sound silly, but I think my husband is becoming involved with the computer. What should I do???"



Dear Bewildered:

Your husband may have stumbled onto something! I think what must be done, as this is a very serious matter, is that you should quickly forward the tape to me (so that I can study it carefully). There may be a way we can adapt this to the Forgotten Half.



Anyone else that feels that they have a problem or just a suggestion, feel free to write. All letters will be answered!

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