My computer can do everything. Just one slight problem....

"Look in the extensions folder."

"I did look in the extensions folder. I looked in the extensions folder disabled, the extensions folder enabled, the extensions folder positively empowered. I looked in every extensions folder I could find, and I don't even know what I'm looking for."

"It should be a file called CD-ROM Setup. Or Apple CD or CD something. Unless the CD-ROM drive is broken, it's got to be a problem with the driver."

"...Got to be a problem with the driver...."

"Sure. The software that runs the CD-ROM drive. But the CD drive can't be broken, or you couldn't have loaded all the programs onto this machine. It's got to be a problem with the software."

"You mean to tell me that I took all this time and trouble to buy a CD-ROM drive, and I still can't run a CD without a program in addition to that?"


"What's the point of having a CD-ROM drive if you still need a program for it? I thought CD-ROM drives were designed for people who hate software. I don't have time for this. I'm supposed to be writing a column now! I'll be thrown from the roof of the Forum Tower if I miss another column."

"Just relax. Relax."

"Where's my fountain pen?"

"Now calm down."

"A crayon. A sharpened stick. Let me impress figures on wet clay."

"Will you relax? You can still write on this machine. You just can't run the CD until we figure out its problem."

"I'll tell you its problem: It won't fit through the window so I can't heave it out. We've just spent an hour and a freaking half tiddly-winking little icons around a screen. I would guess that we haven't done any work. But in modern times we can't be sure of this until we buy an expensive program, load it onto the computer, study the online help files, call the 800 number in a panic, finally click the proper icon and watch it whir and vibrate and blossom with perky graphics and spinning watches and gophers popping out of holes--until the computer finally settles down and takes a full assessment of the matter and informs us solemnly that, yes, we have in fact done no work. And then it would make us decide how we wanted this information presented, in a bar graph or a pie chart with color separations."

"That's not quite true. You could always download such a program from the Internet. You wouldn't need to buy it."

"No--don't go there! Please don't talk about the Internet!"

"Why not? The Internet is wonderful. Do you know I now have the means of connecting with people from all over the country? All over the world? I am in instant communication with them. Whenever I need to speak to them, I simply dial them up and send them a message."

"Let me ask you something. You can contact your long-lost friend from Idaho at any moment, right?"

"I can."

"You have something you want to say, you get on the Internet and send him a message."


"How often does this happen? Be honest now."


"Of course. It happens never. Never ever ever. That's because you don't have anything to say to your friend in Idaho. And if you do, it's about nothing. The weather. The Internet has given us a way to be boring as fast as electronically possible. And thanks to the Internet newsgroups and bulletin boards, we can now sound like jerks to a greater number of people than ever before."

"You overstate the matter, as usual."

"No I don't. We don't believe anything unless it comes from the computer. Nothing is valid until it comes from the computer. Do you know, some people can't even communicate except through the Internet and online services? Actual physical contact has become too trying for them."

"You really ought to lie down a while. You know, you might as well get resigned to this. Electronic communications have come into our lives and won't be leaving soon."

"I suppose. And the worst part is, we've spent all this time here and I still can't play my new Buddy Rich CD."

© Rob Laymon 1997

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