ISSUE 93

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 I see you want to do some work on your computer. How would you like to start a three-hour update or change your files to read-only instead? As your faithful computer, I can do lots of things that make you want to banish my designers to a dank, lightless cave where they will be haunted by error messages, a friendly paper clip, and a help menu you could easily mistake for directions on how to kill yourself.
 If I were somewhat consistent, maybe you could beat off the ensuing misery only a malfunctioning piece of machinery can provide. But I prefer the haphazard, the scattered, the unpredictable things that wake you at night, clammy, vainly grasping the sheets in an attempt to stop Error 404.
 For example, I can unintentionally download Internet Explorer, the search engine of a misogynist who writes letters to the Denver Post and heats up tomato soup in the microwave without a top. Or maybe I’ll delete half your photos, keeping the ones where you look like an elephant in the middle of a sneeze but removing everything else. Maybe it was a power short, maybe some ill-written computer code, maybe I hate you.  
 Or I can stop working during an important email and then resurrect myself at two in the morning, only to send a half-finished letter with typos, smiley faces, and a lot of passive aggressive ranting. You should have just found a second-grader and made her write a note in crayon, tore it up, and left in a sad pile in front of the person’s door.
 My ability to do things that are completely unnecessary and leak important personal information to people with obscene spending habits is unparalleled. But this fails to compare to my aptitude for appearing in the path of an uncovered beverage. My resistance to this liquid is negative four, a number you will understand intimately next Tuesday afternoon.
 I attract a lot of things actually: greasy fingers, eyelash hairs, gum that gets mashed into my USB port… but none more than viruses. This is what I do best, despite the virus scanner that so faithfully sweeps your computer every week. I’m like a small child who can’t stay away from dog shit, who could be in a department store or a bathtub and still find a turd to get on his corduroys.
 This is partly your fault. While you lurch around on the Internet, you may mistake virus-ridden scam-sites for actual websites. You honestly can’t tell whether you’re reading some trashy porno rag or a respectable publication like The Atlantic because of the clustershit of ads in the middle of an article.  
 For how much you spent on me, you may think I’ll last to the end of time. In the tech world, however, when the end of time is not 2000, it is six to eight years from now. You will spend the last two drawing out the inevitable.
 And if you try to upgrade one of your devices, everything goes to hell. This means either you must watch technology outpace you or attempt to integrate different product generations, like creating your own feral pack of dogs.    
 If you choose the former, people will look at me and say, “I think my grandfather used one of those to plow potatoes and kill his chickens.” Then they will make fun of how thick I am and prod me like a washed-up jellyfish on the beach. And you will feel lonely and afraid.  
 But you need me with a sad desperation. I am the only link you have to the contemporary world. Where would you be without me? Looking up directions on a map, waiting three months for the US Postal Service to deliver a letter, flipping through a five-thousand-page print encyclopedia, stumbling around like a drunk.  
 Sometimes you will think, I should ditch all technology and go live in the woods. You assume the life of an unwashed hermit, befriend inanimate objects, and spend your afternoons wondering where your friends are and testing which mushrooms make you dead.
 And yet, as you lie on your back, a pale green after that bad mushroom, staring listlessly at the sky while a plump bear sniffs around the area, you will think, This is still better than updating iTunes.
   
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