Only MacWeems in our neighborhood (in the advertising game) did not own a personal computer, nor would he buy one. Smiley, two doors from MacWeems, had them in every room, the French provincial one displayed on the fireplace mantel between statuettes of Athena and Casey at the Bat. Grummidge, three doors down from Smiley, talked ''computer'' from morning to night, then most of the night. His personal computer (since he was so busy talking) slumbered on his trophy shelf 'twixt mastodon tusk and bronzed hole-in-one golf ball. Whickershom, four doors from Grummidge, gourmet cook, claims to have programmed all recipes - past , present, future - into a silicon chip program masterpiece for the ages.
Everyone in the neighborhood was doing more or less wonderful things with his personal computer except MacWeems. We felt, in spite of his objections, he would see the light if we were patient, although patience was thin. MacWeems gave the neighborhood a bad name - while it is not against the law not to own a personal computer, it is not far within it.
''It's not personal computers per se,'' argued MacWeems, killing the engine of his lawn mower and fixing me with that iron gaze, ''it's the faddishness of owning one.'' I pointed out to MacWeems that as a motivational advertiser, he was honor-bound to buy one, and that personal computers were not a fad but were as essential to life as the pop-up toaster. MacWeems shrugged, started the mower with a snap, clattered away.
The bimonthly assemblage of our Neighborhood Personal Computer Council assumed as its first priority the convincing of MacWeems. Smiley, Whickershom, and Aleshine suggested wrestling MacWeems to a party at Aleshine's, where all our pro-personal computer advice and wisdom could be focused and propelled at him until he surrendered. Grummidge said his trophy shelf was ready, willing, and able. Smiley vowed to smash MacWeems's procrastination by performing on her several personal computers simultaneously. Whickershom pledged to load the very air with obscure and romantic recipes. Aleshine promised to display her thousand volumes, bound in red velvet, of Personal Computer Tidbits and read from them.
Cleverly avoiding our invitations, MacWeems invited us to his home, and we accepted. Welcoming us dressed in a baroque printout suit, pockets bulging with, as who should say, important microchip data, MacWeems spoke more brilliantly, personal computerwise, than I have ever heard anybody speak. We eagerly congregated in the den, where the rococo personal computer decor was stunning - you thought you were actually inside a cozy personal computer. The carpet motif was of tiny personal computers pursued by larger ones. In place of a mountain rising from a forest on the ceiling mural, a personal computer. Our hearts leaped within us!
But that sly advertising fox MacWeems had checkmated us. Smiley held a rigged newspaper blaring the headline: ''Computer fad fizzling - unload before crunch!'' Whickershom and Aleshine (having toted in the last red velvet volume) wistfully bent to a solemn pre-taped voice proclaiming that the American Computer Caucus was selling out and figuring with pencil and paper. Grummidge intently watched a ''television special'' about personal computers being hammered into plowshares. Denouncing MacWeems's maneuver I tried vainly to rally the troops.
When MacWeems returned with refreshment (cookies shaped like personal computers, pop in personal computer glasses), babbling on and on about redoing, in arabesque personal computer, the house, garage, maybe the car - some of us, then others, gloomily arose, made excuse, left.
''You're carrying this personal computer stuff too far, MacWeems,'' I complained, snatching for my hat. You have to watch MacWeems all the time.