To the person or persons who designed, plotted and sent the virus that destroyed my computer over the weekend: Nice job. My hard drive is toast. Nothing but smoke. Picture the atomic bomb hitting the west desert.
There were no survivors.
It wasn't a pretty sight. With the push of a button, my screen looked like Baghdad in the Gulf War. Years worth of files and notes were blasted to Cyber Heaven. No sweat. I'll just retrieve them from my brain's soft drive, which should be no problem for a guy who can't remember what he ate for dinner last night.
You're probably getting chills as you read this. I just made your day. For you, it doesn't get any better than this. It's one of the highlights of your adult life, the equivalent of, say, having a a baby for normal people. You're probably calling your friends right now and throwing a big celebration, which, in your case, means a Friday night visit to Radio Shack where you and your buddies can talk about "ram" and "gigs" and "megahertzes."
May you be cursed with a raging case of carpal tunnel. May your children grow up to be like the Osbourne kids. May your new boss be Simon Cowell. May you be afflicted with a permanent case of whatever it is that's wrong with Dell Schanze and Dan the Laptop Man.
Not that I'm bitter.
I won't resort to calling you childish names for spending your free time plotting, planning and executing your viruses. I mean, you can't help it if you can't get a date. On the other hand, yes I will. You're a loser with nothing better to do with your time than create viruses between "I Love Lucy" reruns — that is, if you can get TV reception in the basement of your parents' home, where you live at the age of 35.
You know, I feel better already.
I don't know how this happened. I thought people got viruses, not — machines. Can a car get a virus? What does it mean — does my computer have the smallpox? Flu? A little head cold? How did it get a virus? Did someone sneeze on the keyboard?
I even had a "virus scan" program on my computer, which is supposed to destroy viruses, whatever they are. But according to the computer whizzes here at the Deseret News, Will, Ashley and Brady (who I would never call computer geeks because they are great and I'm not just saying that just because they've saved me from computer problems so many times that I have built a statue of them in my office) my virus scan hadn't been updated. Which would have been useful information before, say, last Friday. I guess I missed the memo that said you should update your virus scanner every month, or even every week.
According to the computer people, my computer could have viruses, worms or Trojans. What is this, the cast from "Lord of the Rings"? I thought a Trojan was a — never mind. I was told that people, and I use that term loosely, send out viruses just for kicks or because they're mad at someone, such as a local newspaper columnist (marching bands just moved to the top of my suspect list).
There are supposedly thousands of viruses out there in cyberspace just looking for a home. New ones are created all the time. In fact, three more were invented just in the time it took me to write that last sentence.
One computer crime detective says even the average home user can create viruses without needing special programming skills. One young duo — 19- and 21-year-old men — infected 18,000 computers with a worm.
Sounds like fun!
Postscript: I've got a new computer and it's virus-free. I'm typing this column and nothing has gone wrong while*$&^#@%@$(##)$xpffffffttttttttt.
Doug Robinson's column runs on Tuesdays. E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org.