Some days I think my computer is too personal—and annoying.
All messages are insulted day in, day out. Is it weird that I scream at my monitor every now and then?
For example, when I decide to delete a document, I get the message “Are you sure you want to permanently delete the ‘Cody Enterprise column’?” Or when I’m ready to empty my recycling bin, I see, “Are you sure you want to delete these 50 items?” After a dozen times a day, I had to shout, “Of course, I’m sure, you crazy machine!”
Yes, on more than one occasion, I have been bad mouthing something inanimate.
In all fairness to my machine, however, there were a time or two when I wished I hadn’t been too quick to click “OK” when the message asked me if I was sure. My anger at being asked a dozen times a day made me angry at the thirteenth time yelling “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Then, the moment the document or message disappeared with little or no thought on my part, “Uh oh” crossed my mind.
I believe my computer is only looking out for my best interest.
Another one of my favorites is “You have no right.” Who does my computer think is telling me I don’t have rights? It got worse. My computer messages me more and more. “You don’t have permission.” “You don’t have the right privileges.” And then, simply, “Access is denied.” Some days I feel paranoid.
From time to time, I’m typing quickly, making all kinds of progress when, at the most inopportune time, I see “Word has a problem and needs to be closed.” And it did. The document I worked so hard on is gone. After that, when I reopened the program, my computer—always looking out for my best interest again—announced that it had saved a version of the missing document. It asks if I want to keep the “recovered” form or the original.
I know that my latest programs save automatically—usually. That’s when I realized that if I followed my own advice to “Save as you go,” I wouldn’t need to recover a single document.
After a while my laptop came out with the message, “You have performed an illegal operation.” A decade or so ago, it seemed like the message always appeared—but maybe it was operator error. There was a time when Apo No. 1 put jellybeans on my disk drive, which led to some inexplicable program glitch. When the scary message appeared, I was half expecting a punishment from the computer, like electrocution or an automatic call to the authorities.
Of all the communication between monitor and keyboard, then and now, I dread the message of doom and gloom the most—the one that leaves me with a blank stare, sweaty palms and a lump in my throat. I swear I could almost hear the taps as the screen announced, “Fatal Error.” Then, my work disappeared, and the monitor turned an eerie blue, signaling the kiss of death in cyberspace.
Now, for those who don’t have this reason, cheer up. You are better. Am I sure? You bet me.