a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Starting Small: The TI-83 Plus

< by Jill >

This week, I’m mining through my home on a mission to let go of things that aren’t adding value to my life. It’s part of my “moving on” series, and I’m starting with something small:

TI-83 Plus

Item: TI-83 Plus

Year acquired: 2001

Current home: Desk drawer

Last use: Don’t remember (it ran out of batteries in 2008)

Best use: Coaster for chilled beverages/weapon for bludgeoning centipedes

Confession: My senior year of high school, I dropped calc the second week of school and switched to stats. I loved stats (this was a fortuitous discovery) and found it really cool. With stats, you can reliably predict the probabilities of winning at craps on a roll-by-roll basis. With stats, you can make better picks during March Madness and increase your probability of winning the office pool! Above all, with stats, you can finish all your homework during class and use your TI-83 Plus for its true purpose: playing games.

I now present my top 3 favorite calculator games:

1. Insane mailman: deliver bombs to your enemies in hopes of blowing them up
2. Snake: eat digital dots and avoid running into your own growing tail
3. Tetris: stack tiles without creating gaps and hitting the ceiling

I’ve had a hard time letting go of this silly old calculator because every time I look at it, I think, “Someday I’m going to put some batteries in this thing and play Insane Mailman, just one more time.” But here’s the truth: I have no clue how to operate this thing anymore. Besides, it’s got a two-tone screen and operates via key commands. That’s so uncool. So today I’m releasing it to Goodwill. I hope that some day, somebody finds it at a thrift shop and tries (in vain!) to beat my top scores.