I’m Done

This morning, about 300 words into some Merton-inspired piece about masks and the false self, my computer began gobbling up words. It ate them slowly, savored each perfectly cooked letter. One by one. Backwards.

s
d
r
a
w
k
c
a
B

The computer, which I am told can crunch numbers fast enough to put me on the moon if I were in possession of the proper propulsion, might have decoded my words, might have known that even my writing about the false self was, in-and-of-itself, false. After all, he’s read daggum-near every word I’ve written over the past two years and maybe there was something that just didn’t compute. Did its cyclops eye, that blasted camera above the screen, examine my contorted face as I shamelessly quoted ‘ole Tom? Did it send a message to the processor? “He’s not ready for this. Eat every last word,” I think it said.

Letter by letter Merton disappeared, as if being backspaced into oblivion. I, less panicked and more befuddled, tried all the tricks I knew. Saving. Copying. Pasting. When none of this quite worked, I began banging any-which character in an attempt to stop the holocaust of words. The computer mocked me, replaced my words only with lyrics from the Avett Brothers. And as much as I love the Avett Brothers, these words were no more mine than Merton’s.

They came in pasted chunks:

“and I’m done.”

“and I’m done.”

“and I’m done.”

I wish the lyric would have been, “be loud, let your colors show,” but it was not to be. Reading my mind, the bit-brain began flashing it’s own colors, popped up a big purple sad face before proclaiming, “Google Chrome has run out of memory.” Then, the machine looked me square with its one black eye, and slept.

Brilliant.

These are the drawbacks of Windows-powered machines. They, for all of their blue collar charm, stomp their unionized foot from time to time, gobble up the best parts of your work, and turn their back on you for their morning coffee break, or smoke break, or whatever it is that computers do inside the smallness of their casings. So, this is my morning message to Microsoft, whose operating systems shut down without warning and perform “updates” which I neither requested nor desired: “I’m done.”

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