Thursday, October 06, 2005


You are concerned about the safety of your computer, considering it is now the home of all of your law school notes and briefs, and so this morning you of course assent to to the latest Windows update. And you are also concerned that your antivirus and firewall protection seems conspicuously obsolete, as no helpful prompts ever appear to encourage you to update them. So you decide to shell out $40 for the latest Norton Antivirus. After all, what's $40 when you're living on the government's dime anyhow?

You begin to install Norton right before your morning torts class. Something is wrong - the screen is frozen and an error box has appeared - fatal error - the mouse is not responding - so you restart. When you restart it is as if you have opened a door into the wrong room. Your icons have been replaced with uniform blank boxes. You cannot open any files, any programs. Somehow, in this fog of uselessness and utter confusion, you are able to access the internet.

You spend two hours of class wracked with nerves, sweating. You hastily take out a notebook to take notes, but you can't focus. You hastily scrawl a note: "My computer died - should I stay or go try to fix it?" but you don't know who to show it to. You stay. You can't restore it, you can't work in safe mode, you can't access the twenty-odd documents that are the sum of your nascent law school career. At one point in class your arm starts shaking. You think of what you will say if you are called on. Once, in class, your computer emits a loud and broken beep and many people turn to look at you. A death knell.

After class you run to the tech center and they can't help you. You need to reinstall Windows, apparently, but your files should be ok, and until then you are stuck with a thousand-dollar paperweight. You eat lunch in ten minutes before class starts. Your body is anxious and exhausted from worrying. In a fit of inspiration you realize that you can email your notes to yourself, so you do that - you'll be ok.

People were talking about you and your dying computer today - you heard your name in the cafeteria. You left law school today feeling low, low in the dirt, stressed and discombobulated. You needed a drink, you almost needed a cigarette. Your new goal over the weekend is to restore your computer.

Thank God you spent $40 on Norton Antivirus to avoid any debilitating problems with your laptop.

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