The virus took hold two weeks ago. It started with the computer. Then moved to me. Next, it struck the Hubs. And, finally, the dog fell sick.
Up until then, I was feeling good. Not just good, great. I’d discovered the key to being “the best me I could be,” which was all about actively living in the present, finding my passions, listening to the positive voice in my ear. “Make some jewelry,” it said, and I obeyed, journeying to the local craft store to pick up trinkets—whatever “trinkets” meant. The voice neglected to mention buying a book on jewelry making, I thought as the cascading waterfalls of colorful beads and implements overwhelmed me.
Thank God for the Internet, right? You can learn how to roast a turkey, sew a button, and fold hospital corners with the click of a mouse. Google is awesome for that. Just type in anything and up pops literally millions of sites to expand your knowledge. So I typed “how to make jewelry.” Simple enough. Even simpler: Google’s “image” button which allows geeks like me to get a visual search. So I clicked on a few pictures of lovely necklace pieces. Then I saw an image out of the corner of my eye, a pendant in between two breasts. The actual breasts were out of frame, but cleavage definitely peaked out. And I clicked.
“WARNING: THIS WEBSITE CONTAINS MALWARE. WARNING: YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED. WARNING.”
The bells and alarm on my sound system told me what I feared most: Like a teenage boy, my computer had been undone by boobies. Worse still, what I thought was a necklace pendant turned out to be a pentagram tattoo. I was now some e-victim to a naked, jewelry-making pagan, or, more likely, some Russian Oligarchic Trustifarian with nothing better to do than recruit my desktop computer for his robot army. Sheesh!
About eight windows opened up on my monitor—most suggesting I download programs to remove the virus, one teaching me how to play poker. I’d been around this block before: my mom once sent me a Trojan horse disguised as a “send this angel-mail to 8 friends and good things will happen” email, so I felt it best to not touch anything. I ran the typical scans and my computer kept saying that everything was fine. Except I couldn’t open my malware firewall program, and going to http://www.malware.com produced only a blank screen. Pulling up http://www.cnn.com, I was whisked to some bubble gum gossip website touting the latest exploits of a creature known as “Speidi.” I’d been hit hard.
“Oh well,” I said to my husband, using the new catch phrase designed to reflect my new outlook. “I’ll just call someone to fix this. No problem.” I was so pleased with myself for not coming apart at the seams, for not feeling as though I were sentenced to a lifetime of dread. A quick phone call and maybe $80 would easily repair this, right?
“If I had done this,” he said, “I’d never hear the end of it.”
He was right. Anytime he’s ever clogged up the bathroom sink, made a wrong turn on the highway, deleted my DVR queue, you name it, I’ve acted like he was the most incompetent person on the planet. I’ve rolled my eyes and clenched my jaw. I’ve flashbacked to our courtship for any signs of senselessness. I’ve whined a lot.
“Well,” I said, trying to remain calmly. “I’ve got a new way of thinking of things. So, we’ll just do what we have to do.”
“And this all happened because you clicked on boobies?”
I cleared my throat. “I clicked on what I thought was a necklace. It just happened to be between cleavage….And it was actually a pentagram.”
He exhaled a self-satisfied chuckle. “I’m just glad it was you and not me.”
I wasn’t particularly glad at all. And I’m less pleased because, two weeks later, I haven’t fixed the problem. (Remember, I procrastinate?) But I’ve got a good excuse: nearly the next day, I came down with my own virus—a bronchial one with a sinus infection on top. It’s next to impossible to fix a computer when knocked out by NyQuil. The next week, the virus passed to the Hubs, who never ever falls ill, thanks to his penchant for pickled jalapeños. The dog, who initially had been pleased to have us home, was noticeably perturbed by the constant nose-blowing, throat clearing, and endless naps. And then he got a tummy virus that kept him on sticky rice for two days. Our home was now under quarantine, no tech support would dare cross the threshold.
But this latest plague is coming to end. The course of anti-biotics is finished, the NyQuil returns to the medicine cabinet, the sheets are washed of all the germs, and the dog is eating on a regular schedule again. The computer, of course, still waits for that techie who’ll come and restore it to sanity. And when that happens, I will return emails and resume my writing. And, I don’t care if it’s a photo of the Venus de Milo, I solemnly swear to never click on boobies again.