Your issue sounds like the hard drive is failing or it was bumped or moved while it was operating and corrupted the data on the drive.
Hard to tell for sure, run through this list of fixes
Note your signature says it's a 2009 model, that's almost 4 years old and near it's end of life stage of apx 4.5-5 years, a new drive might fix the machine, but clogged dust vents could be killing it too..
Out of AppleCare and warranty, looks like you might be doing it yourself.
I sure hope it's not the hard drive, I just got that replaced last month after my previous one died, along with the bracket which connects it to the logic board. It cost me $250, I'm not paying that again. I've loved macs for years, but if it is a hard drive problem a month after getting it fixed, I am done with them.
If it is a hard drive problem a month after getting it fixed, I am done with them.
I don't blame you, why I keep my precious at home and take netbooks with me.
My next machine is going to be a Windows 7 3D gaming tower, will sit like a rock for the next decade.
Run through the Step by Step, it's a nightmare but it's through.
Thanks for trying, but I did just about everything on that list (except I couldn't run a hardware test for some reason, even though that is pobably the thing I needed most, but I don't have the osx install cd or whatever it takes for it to start. I tried the option-d startup command as well to no avail). Now I'm just going to decide wether my next laptop should be a mac. This really stinks (apple won't let me say s u c k s), but sh*t happens, it will cost a grand or so, but there's not much I can do. I'm not going back to the crooks at the apple store, I've put $1750 into this laptop, and I'm done. Anyways I guess I'm ranting now so I'll stop. Thanks again for the help.
Well it is 4 years old and their life expectancy is about 4.5-5 years with near daily use.
Have you tried installing OS X on a external drive? At least this way you can find out if it's the internal hard drive.