Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

P.C. Paranoia

They’re watching me!

How did I ever allow it to get to this point? It was all so subtle. Honestly, I never saw it coming.

Of course, I’m referring to the invasion of computers, more commonly known today as a PC, which means “personal computer.” Here I am at my desk at home staring at this technological wonder that only a few years ago wasn’t even a thought. Now, I can’t go through a day without sitting down in front of this harsh taskmaster. It has an eerie resemblance to the Sirens calling out to Hercules, nearly driving him mad. My computer whispers of such wonderful things! You’ve got mail! Yes! That’s it! There’s an all important message waiting for me and I must be prepared to reply immediately. Or, there’s that web site I’ve been wanting to check out that promises such wonderful deals. Just think of the money I could save!

My computer sits patiently atop my desk where it crowds what used to be my writing space. Other than signing my signature, the only other time I write anything with a pen on paper is my sermons. These I write out in longhand every week in preparation for each Sunday’s services. It’s my final holdout to a bygone era. The computer, none-the-less, beckons to me of how much more I could do with my sermons if I would only succumb, bowing before the god of technological wizardry. Why, I could use the Power Point program, dazzling the congregation with appropriately placed quotes, scripture references, cartoons, or pictures as I preach from flawlessly printed sermon notes with enlarged print aiding my slowly deteriorating vision.

One of the collaborators of the computer is the printer. This tool is integral to any use of the PC. Printers today are not content with merely printing incredibly precise documents that make it impossible to tell the difference with the original. No, these wonders also collate, staple, bind, fax, scan and any number of other tasks all built into an amazingly small gizmo that nearly rivals Kinko’s.

What awes me the most about the advent of the PC is the enormous amount of information available simply by typing in a couple of words, whereupon you can spend the next several hours researching any number of web sites that offer a plethora of facts and figures on your topic of choice.

Since I’m an avowed history junkie, I can research to my heart’s desire! To borrow from the old Yellow Pages ad: Let your fingers do the walking!

I admit it. I’m hooked on using the PC. I have been able to locate long-lost friends; and have also been contacted by others looking for me. It’s easy to stay in touch with folks through e-mail. I enjoy reading some of the best columnists and writers in the world who are a couple of keyboard clicks away.

But it’s the lights that worry me.

I’m looking at four pieces of computer equipment on my desk and they all have soft-green lights, some of which blink rhythmically, and others erratically. The rest stay on continuously. My laptop has a constant soft-green light indicating it has power and is on. There’s also the same colored light indicating my Numbers Lock is on, and my Capital Letters Lock is on, and my Scroll Lock is on. My All-in-One printer has the same soft-green light indicating the power is on. And whether I’m using it to Copy, Scan, or Fax, each one offers the same green light. My wireless router has numerous such lights. Most are soft-green. The exception is an amber light indicating the line is not in use. Then there’s the Cable Modem with four soft-green lights. Two are constantly on, and two are intermittent, one of which is spasmodically blinking with an urgency that makes me wonder.

Why soft-green? Why not different colors? Aha! This color is easy on the eye! That’s it! Or maybe not. It could be that this benign color is really an advanced communication system used by little green men in flying saucers who are monitoring our activity from outer space. Surely our government would know! Or maybe they’ve been taken over and are actually part of the plot! Could this be a cosmic version of George Orwell’s book, “1984”?

O relief! I just discovered that my Wireless Optical Mouse has a red light! Well, now I feel better.

Hold the phone! Why is it red? And why is it not visible unless you turn it over? Wait! My cordless phone base also has a red light! Are these two in collusion? Are they in cahoots with the forces behind the soft-green lights? Or are they working against each other? Is the human race merely pawns in a pending inter-galactic Armageddon?

I think I’ll stay home today. It’s not that I’m paranoid or anything, but even in the small town of Ripon there are traffic signals. And we all know they always have green and red lights.

You can’t be too safe.

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