I know there are many of you out there who think computers are run by Microsoft via Windows, or Apple, or Linnux, or some other operative system that I’m not familiar with. But you are all wrong. (Yes, I sympathize with the Luddite movement.) The rumors have been flying for a while, but I found out the truth. Computers are run by imps. And Bill Gates’s “discovery” was not how to buy an operating system and make it work better. No, his “discovery” was how to capture and force miniature imps to do his bidding. The problem is that miniature imps are a peculiar kind of devil. They do their job (they’re chained to the mother board) most of the time. Some speculate that when they use their magic properly to make things appear on the screen, then, as a reward, they receive a shock to the pleasure sensors in their brain. Sounds reasonable.
But my interest is when the imp’s true nature asserts itself and the system runs haywire. You see eventually the imp gets bored with electrical heroin, and he (they’re all male) uses his powers for evil. This is when things get interesting. For example, you’re happily editing your novel, and then the system crashes. Bloop, blink, gone. Of course, you reboot your system. Then the imp presents you with two choices. Do you want the recovered document or the saved document? Hmm. I don’t know, do you? In the end, it doesn’t matter both are now flawed and the choice is illusory. And the errors are hidden in your 300 page novel—you’ll never find them, but the literary agent who requests it will read things like “And then, Miranda loaded her Uzi with a new round of ammo and took out all the literary agents in a three mile radius.” That’s imp humor. It also gets your book tossed into the rubbish more quickly than a New York minute.
I see your skepticism. But what else explains the blue screen of death. Or, my experience yesterday on tech support. I’m “chatting” with Rocco (chatting is a misnomer since we’re both typing). And Rocco is no Italian. Rocco clearly cannot communicate in English very well. There are missing words in his sentences—important things like verbs, articles, etc. Not to mention the misspellings. Plus, the speed with which Rocco types clearly indicates that he’s never completed Typing Tutor or Mavis Beacon’s Typing version 7. At any rate, Rocco takes me into the bowels of my computer. And we delete things. Deleting always makes me nervous—it seems akin to chopping off an arm. But, hey, Rocco told me to (I know, if Rocco told me to jump off a cliff…) After we finish our “session” and he explains what a wonderful, blessed, “powerful” customer I am, he tells me to shut down my computer, reboot, and everything will be peachy keen. Sure, right. I do it. Except, when I reboot, nothing has changed. My computer still misbehaves and ignores my pleas.
I accept this—after all, this is what happens more often than not. But then, today, for no apparent reason, my computer decided to be obedient. Why? The only explanation is the imp. And I think I figured out what happened. Yesterday, on tech support, the tech “told” the imp to get his act together or they were going to cut off his electrical heroin. The imp said, “So what?” But then, as he went into withdrawals, he decided that it was better to simply obey the requests of the laptop user—voila, my computer works again. It’s the only explanation. Really!