My Alarmist Antivirus

Every day, my daily routine starts with the process that is starting up my computer. Though one might often thinks of this as a rather simple activity encompassing all of pushing a button and walking away, I find that my computer requires a little more cajoling to get into the mood.

Whether this is because he is three years old, missing the function key, and has had a chewing tobacco spittoon knocked into it twice (same night, by the by), could be points worth mentioning. Nevertheless, I am not taking any chances.

The process: I say good morning, pet him gently, clean his keys of honey, cereal, cat hair, and the gap that used to be the function key, and ask him to beseech upon me interruption-free work and speedy access to those portals of the internet that I’d like to inhabit on this fine day. Then I push his button and make coffee. I have named him Leonard.

I have to admit that part of my gentle treatment of Leonard is a simple hedging of my bets. The horror and thriller genre have long shown us the potential backlash that can occur from treating technology, among other things, badly. Terminator: Rise of the Machines, Maximum Overdrive, Killdozer!, and the terrifying thriller Short Circuit all serve as examples of why one should perhaps treat their inanimate objects with kindness. As more justification is necessary, television took aim as well by broadcasting a show called When Machines Fight Back, which was part of a series centered on the alarming idea that the innocuous things in our life will eventually decide they have had enough and rise up against us. Other examples in the genre are: When Animals Fight Back, When Cars Fight Back, When Selfies Fight Back and, the nightmarish, When Legs Fight Back.

Today, as usual, once Leonard gets going he is quite responsive. To be honest I breathe a sigh of relief. See, it’s nice to have things in my life on an even keel. A few thousand miles to the west,  an alarmist president spends an inordinate amount of his time (more time than you’d think a president would have) to screech about how everything and everyone is out to get us. He is even building a wall to keep those things out. Though the effectiveness of that will be roughly the same as me putting shoe in my doorway to keep the cat out of my room.

There is a massive initiative underway in the UK-based on that same chicken without a head thinking. This is not to mention the fact that half of the world is trying to figure out if our microwaves are watching us masturbate and if Russian people and former President Obama are on the other side watching us do that. The world’s inhabitants are not in general terrible people, and yet many of our leaders are hell-bent on scaring half of us about the other half.

So it’s nice when I can find solace in the everyday things in my life, like Leonard. I begin my search of the internet for purely academic purposes and my antivirus starts acting up. And not just acting up, but alarmingly so. You have had 1,293,492 viruses in the last 20 days! I can almost hear him scream. Viruses are becoming much smarter! He whines into my mind’s ear. I recoil from him and click the X.

I wonder if this The Sky is Falling! approach is the only way to get people’s attention anymore. We are inundated with so much information that being reasonable, evidential, and scientific doesn’t cut it anymore, so the tactic has become shrieking into people’s faces to scare them into hearing you. I hope that’s not the case. In any event, I have decided to name my antivirus after the voice I hear when he tries to alarm me.


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