I recently bought my dream computer: a Mac. My old Toshiba PC, which I had come to loathe, had let me down. More to the point, I let it down by spilling hot tea all over the keyboard and then becoming angry when it died.

A shrink might deduct that I wanted to kill the sucker -- that I had unconsciously wished for its demise deliberately resulting in the spilled tea incident.

In any case, when I overturned the mug, I heard a gurgling sound much like a death rattle. I sat there staring down at my computer as slowly its lights dimmed and the screen went dark. It was then I knew it was over. My Toshiba and I had parted company. Fini. Kaput. The end. I called my friend, Ann to whom I turn when any malfunction -- emotional or otherwise -- crops up.

"I drowned my computer," I told her.

"As in killed it off?" she asked.

I relayed the story realizing as I regaled her with the gruesome details that my entire electronic life: e-mails, columns, articles and novels had gone down with the ship.

"You need to call our computer guru, Rick," she said. "If anyone can save the day, he can."

"But can he save my waterlogged data?" I asked.

Rick sounded skeptically hopeful. We made an appointment for the following day when he would come to my house, pick up the Toshiba and try to salvage what he could. I told him I was on my way to the Apple store to investigate Macs. Being that Rick is a Mac aficionado, he applauded my decision.

For years I had wanted to own a Mac. I observed with envy an array of laptops that sat on tables at Starbuck's and Barnes & Noble, their well-lighted Apple insignia staring out like a tiny beacon of respectability and refinement. I too wanted to be a member of this exclusive club, carrying my laptop around announcing to the world that I had arrived.

Anyone who has paid a visit to an Apple store knows it's an experience not to soon forget.It's like entering the home of long-lost relatives you haven't seen for a while. You are welcomed in with open arms. If hugs were appropriate, you'd be hugged. In a word, Apple people are trained to be not just cordial, but effusively accommodating. I never had that with my Toshiba. Nobody cared. But at Apple they embraced me with euphoric anticipation hardly able to curb their enthusiasm.

After a few hours of being introduced to a smorgasbord of fancy computers, I chose the MacBook Pro laptop, so stunning a piece of techie pulchritude as to be an objet d'art. I couldn't wait to embark on the Mac adventure except for one problem: I didn't know what I was doing.

"Not to worry," my personal Apple specialist said. "You'll sign up for our one-to-one instruction and be fully operational."

Allow me to digress: I am hardly ever "fully operational" with regard to mechanical equipment. It is only recently I learned how to utilize the features on my cell phone. A microwave oven terrifies me as does my electric toothbrush, and let's not even discuss my Cuisinart except to say it once nearly pureed my finger.

As promised, Rick did show up the next morning, and was able to retrieve my drowned material. "Show up" is an understatement. Rick "swooped" in very much the same way Clark Kent morphed into Superman. All that was missing was the costume, which instead of the giant "S" emblazoned across his chest should have had a large "Mac."

Rick did come through as promised. He got me up and running, so I could read and compose e-mails and write my book and columns. The rest of the time when I hit a snag and Rick isn't available and I don't want to bother my Apple family, I rely on the real experts, who know everything there is to know about Mac computers: my two grandchildren: 16-year-old Andrew and 14-year-old Caroline, who, with a mere push of a button, and a certain amount of eye-rolling, have me back in business in no time.

Judith Marks-White shares her humorous views every other Wednesday. She can be reached at: joodth@snet.net or at www.judithmarks-white.com