Over the last three and a half months, I have recounted the travail of my brave little USB stick:

First an unanticipated trip through the washer and dryer. Then, miraculously, it survives and still works! Then, a warning from a tech savant that corrosion is already setting in. Then, a bath in WD-40 as salvation. Then, another trip through the washer and dryer. And another WD-40 dunk. And all the while...  still chugging along.

Here is how it looked after the first ordeal:

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r96/jfallows/IMG_4087.jpg

Yesterday, I grabbed it to switch it to another machine, and the plastic housing simply fell off. Post-traumatic stress effects of the washer and dryer? Of WD-40? Of general abuse? Who knows. Yet even in this naked, skeletal condition ....  still it works. Though here is how it looks these days: The bare green circuit board, shown plugged into a ThinkPad, is what's left of the USB stick. It's hard to see in this picture, but its red LED light is flashing, showing that it's actively doing something. (Click for closeup.) The castoff plastic housing, like a shed skin, is beneath it, in two halves.

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r96/jfallows/IMG_5294.jpg

I will rename my USB stick "Hawking," signifying a being that, as its corporeal shell has suffered and been diminished, has been distilled to its pure thinking essence.

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