Computer gremlins strike | TheFencePost.com

Computer gremlins strike

Mildred drove over to her friend Gladys' ranch and stomped into her kitchen.

Mildred: Gladys? … I gotta use your computer.

Gladys: Well, uh, sure, but what's the matter with yours?

Mildred: Furthermore, I hate, loathe and despise computers.

Gladys: Wow. tell me how you really feel.

Gladys: How come you abominate computers? I mean, don't you write a column once a week?

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Mildred: Yeah, tell me about it. I have to have it emailed to the magazine by 5 o'clock today."

Gladys: "So what's the problem?"

Mildred: "Hijacking."

Gladys: "Hijacking? What do you mean?"

Mildred: "Some rogue thief out there in techie land has invaded my computer and disabled my word processer, my email function and I don't know what all."

Gladys: "Oh, that's terrible. Can it be fixed?"

Mildred: "Dunno. I don't have time to investigate. Gotta get a column written."

Gladys: "Can't you call some tech-nerd for help, or call the company, or the store where you bought the outfit? Or … well, surely there's something you can do. Get one of the high school kids to fix it. Teenagers are all a whiz at tech stuff.

Mildred: "I repeat. I gotta have 600 to 800 words ready to send off by late afternoon."

Gladys: "Okay then. I'll make coffee."

Mildred: "Thanks."

Gladys closed the door to her office leaving Mildred frowning at the screen. Now all Mildred had to do was harvest 600 to 800 words in some kind of meaningful form. She stared, she furrowed her brow, she felt perspiration starting, she knew her blood pressure was probably about to stroke her out; she began to understand homicide as an option. Problem was, there was no specific individual at which to take aim.

Was this how people "went postal" she wondered? She beavered away punching the keys on Gladys' computer. Revenge, she thought, I want revenge. All computer users are sitting ducks out here in technology land. I have no power, no protection. Those expensive programs that claim to safeguard a computer — well, they don't. And all of 'em "update" and make one pay again and again and again.

"Maybe I'll form a coalition and start a revolution," she muttered.

I'll go on Facebook and email and use those sorry "links" and so-called "social media." Once I get a bazillion members, I'll arm them with spit balls and then we'll march on congress and insist they DO something. Mildred paused. March on Congress? What good would that do? The hackers are on their trails as well as targeting mere peons like me, she thought. Not to mention, when was the last time congress actually did anything useful? Or as Mark Twain put it: Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of congress; but I repeat myself.

Finally, finally, Mildred typed enough fairly sensible words and shipped them off through space. She began to relax. Done for a week. Now to address her sick computer's hack problem. She thanked Gladys, got in her pickup and drove home. Once there she trod firmly to her desk and began unplugging all the connections of the computer. She toted it out to the pickup and let it ride in the passenger seat while she drove to the bridge spanning the Yellowstone River. She parked. She got out of the pickup, went around to the passenger door and opened it

"Come," she said to the computer. Reaching in, she clasped it in her arms, strode to the bridge railing and hoisted her burden to the top of the railing. She kissed the computer on its top. Then she gave it a shove and watched it hurtle downward, then kersplat into the water. It sank immediately.

"From now on," she mumbled, dusting off her hands, "my only form of communication will be smoke signals." ❖