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In the months following The Virus, IT men abused their women like drunk Newfoundland fishermen after the fall of cod. Corporate users beat their machinery until mercury snaked in rivulets through office park parking lots. Men in their 80’s reinflated, hauling-out mothballed transmitters until radio was king again. Derek was among the foundering computer addicts who at first hid trembling in their mildewy bedrooms, but eventually trickled into public parks to clutch and mourn together. There was no way of getting around it, all the systems were down forever. The computer had been his Narnia; the cubicle in the library basement where he sniffed his forearm trying to decide if the scent was from the hair or the skin. It was safety and complexity and the most brilliantly intertwined manifestation of divine giving. Derek had discovered and then clenched the world of computers after giving-up on humanity. In his teens, he would blithely pacify himself with the mantra that we are all one. He felt like part of such an intensely beautiful human family. He was sure that in college everything would gel, but after years of struggling with social alienation he began to hate extroverted men, and all women, and playful children. His philosophy putrified: Fuck humanity—-we’re all independent—-a bulging sack of poison moth caterpillars shifting, writhing, blistering—-trying to rip a hole in the silk in a fight against our brothers—-to be the first to shovel leaves into our gullet—-humanity is the vomiturition of God. But the machinery saved him (like a well-organized kitchen had saved his mom) until the day of The Virus, when data pissed in a tornado of mistaken code, destination was origin, and the air held an omnipresent contagion, rendering digital dead. Derek suffered and emaciated for a few weeks screaming "password!!" at passersby, but finally gave-in. Following the example of so many fellow destitutes, he "logged-off", tying-off with a mouse cable and injecting with CRT fluid til his eyes sheened like the inside of a mussel shell.
Date Written: July 26, 2005
Average Vote: 4.16667