One Sunday evening after a trip to Chicago, we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant we’d frequented at least a dozen times. After a quick meal, returning to the parking lot I found my truck to be the subject of what the very polite Atlanta policeman later described as a classic “smash and grab.”
Most of my travels take me through Atlanta’s airport. The old saying here in Th’ South seems to be true: If you wanna go to hell, you have to fly through Atlanta. Fortunately, my offspring live in Georgia’s capital, so every time I’m passing through Hartsfield-Jackson, I try to spend some time with my children.
One Sunday evening after a trip to Chicago, we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant we’d frequented at least a dozen times. After a quick meal, returning to the parking lot I found my truck to be the subject of what the very polite Atlanta policeman later described as a classic “smash and grab.” The passenger side windows were destroyed, and my suitcase and computer bag gone.
My first thoughts weren’t of the nice suits in my travel bag. Oh no, my first thought was of my laptop. My life was on that laptop. Business data, photos, videos, you name it-it was on there. I had a great collection of anterior segment ocular photos collected over a career of which I was truly proud. But the greatest loss was my lectures: every PowerPoint presentation I’ve ever given was on that computer.
Gee, Ernie, you dummy, didn't you have backups? Of course I did. I’m obsessive; I back everything up. Like I was taught, I kept those backups in a location separate from my computer bag. Because I had work to do on this trip, on this particular occasion I had placed them…in my suitcase.
More from Dr. Bowling: AAO: Truly about fellowship
So, what did I learn from this very painful experience? First, back up early and often. There’s a shiny new one terabyte hard drive sitting on the desk at my home office. And Dropbox is my new best friend. Heck, where before I had one backup copy of my data, I now have three! Second, while I had lost faith in people (I mean, how damn low can someone go?), I have been doubly blessed by the help of our Academy Primary Care Section Diplomates who covered for a missed lecture as I sorted through all the details (again, something you really don’t want to have to do), and the well wishes of colleagues, many who have graciously offered to help replenish my photos and PowerPoints. Thanks, folks. I'll gladly take whatever you're willing to share.
While my friends commiserated with my loss, many said they also learned from my misfortune and immediately backed up all their data. So let’s all learn a lesson. If you haven’t backed up your data, I highly recommend you do that. Now. More than once!