My computer went nuts. I'm not sure that's an accurate diagnosis from a technological perspective, but it fits anthropomorphically. The thing was evil. I think it was actually possessed.
I first suspected maleficent motives when my portfolio disappeared, but my computer's habit of freezing up, as though to mock me or test my patience, was enough for me to consider pulling the plug that gives it life. I could almost hear it laughing as I frantically pushed arrows around the screen, clicking and cursing until I would finally turn it off with an aggressive blow that I hoped it felt.
More than once, I had an overwhelming desire to blow the thing to smithereens in an exuberant and gleeful moment of cathartic ecstasy. With its extensive record of recidivism, I saw very little hope for rehabilitation and absolutely no hope for a compatible relationship in the future. It was over between us.
But I must admit that we had some good times. There were times when my computer and I had a relationship that would have made Dr. Phil smile. We once worked together toward mutual goals, laughed together at e-mail jokes from friends, shared a tear when a sentimental message arrived or when sad news came via e-mail.
Before it demonstrated psychopathic symptoms, my computer was an equal partner in writing projects, making it easy to correct errors and format a page, thus allowing my thoughts to flow freely. I'll never forget the novel we collaborated on a few years ago. And the stocks it helped me buy, which, now that I think about it, lost money.
Ahhh Ha! That's another trick in its bag. The computer suckered me into buying stocks by making it easy and almost too much fun to click, click, click my money away.
If I had only known its true motives
But here's how I solved the problem without destroying my computer. I made a phone call to a man who deals with these situations. I can't give you his real name, so I'll refer to him by his occupation. He's a Computer Exorcist.
He's the man to call when you suspect that your computer has gone over to the dark side.
It was late at night when the Computer Exorcist appeared under the streetlight in front of my house; dark coat with the collar up, hat pulled low hiding his eyes, a black bag in his left hand. I opened the door and he entered without a word. My wife peeked out of the bedroom as he and I listened to the strange sounds emanating from the den.
Our eyes met and I'm convinced that he knew what he was up against. I stepped back and the Computer Exorcist opened the door to the den and entered slowly. The den door seemed to slam shut on its own and the gut-wrenching sounds immediately increased in volume while an icy finger seemed to run up and down my spine.
After several hours, total silence descended on the den and the Computer Exorcist emerged, disheveled, physically and emotionally drained. Without saying a word, he staggered out my front door and disappeared into the night. His job was done.
I waited until the following morning to venture into my den. The computer was quiet and appeared benign. I approached it tentatively, and when I turned it on, it purred like a kitten. I began to relax. I was amazed to find that it obeyed my commands, it didn't tempt me with stock buys, and it opened screens with renewed enthusiasm, sifted junk mail in the blink of an eye and displayed my favorites gleefully. It was just like the old days. The exorcism had been a success.
Exorcism can only be successful in extreme cases, where a computer has progressed from neurosis to rebellion, through a psychotic phase and finally to outright possession. At that point the Computer Exorcist should be called. However, in the event that an exorcism should fail to remove the demons from your computer, a fire ax or a shotgun should be considered Plan B.