Treat your computer well

The computer is a machine fraught with mystery. Though now only a machine, people look to it for direction, knowledge, solace and enlightenment. If, after a brief session, one of these desires remains unfulfilled, the disgruntled pilgrim turns away while the computer remains unmoved upon its plastic pedestal. What many do not realize is that it is simply not enough to lay our troubles upon the keyboard. Have we learned nothing from the multitudes of long-deceased, pre-Columbian tribes of both North and South America? No self-respecting idol will give you the time of day unless you first ply it liberally with libations and burnt offerings. The veneer of rationality lent to the computer by the binary system (a siren song sucking in the hapless hordes who hate to count) distracts people from the computer’s true nature as an idol, easily tripling the time spent in frustration in front of the screen. The difficulty with the computer is not determining whether to offer libations and burnt offerings, but determining what form the libations and burnt offerings should take.

Those who come to the computer empty-handed, though they come from all the directions of the compass, will leave having failed. It matters not how far you have traveled, or how long you have fasted; the computer demands the electronic equivalent of a sacrificial yak.

I had not yet learned this when I came to the computer, overflowing with love. I came, open-armed, with my emotions on my fingers. I typed, in full faith of receiving some sort of response. I waited, only to find my most profound emotions trundled up like so many roast pigs and squashed into binary packets. The aforementioned profound emotions had suddenly become barren and lifeless like beef jerky. Or pork jerky.

It is enough to make one wonder about the biological aspect, whether humans and computers are akin to donkeys and horses and any byproduct of the two is necessarily a dead end, an electronic mule. No one seems to give much thought to mules. Donkeys and horses keep reproducing and ending up with this little, sexually defunct species. Mules are exceptionally sure-footed, hardy little beasts, but without any of their parents’ natural hilarity. Their joie de vivre was extinguished when Mother Nature deemed them unworthy of reproduction. All they have to look forward to is a lifetime of carting other peoples’ heavy loads. This seems unfair. Horses and donkeys should not be consorting if their offspring are only going to be doomed to a lifetime of frustration. Neither should little ones and zeros be getting together if they are only going to add to the entropy and chaos in the world.

Separately, ones and zeros are quite handy. They’re nice little numbers, not too big, and they fit well on a small piece of paper. They could almost be mistaken for letters of the alphabet. Then you string them together, take out any sort of helpful punctuation, and it all comes out in mules. Billions upon billions of kilobytes of mules. Eminently practical (or so they say) and completely unenjoyable.

I am not blaming the computer. It has every right to be bitter seeing as how no one, save perhaps the technologically-advanced Wiccan, gives a second thought to its well-being. No burnt offerings, no libations. It’s a rough life. It’s enough to make any divinity want to enmesh the world in meaningless gibberish. But there must be some sort of compromise.

Of course, because the computer is such a mystery, there is no telling what this compromise may be. We must live in doubt, taking cues from our polytheistic ancestors. Small mammals, monetary offerings, and other similar gifts are sure to be appreciated. Treat your computer well and who knows, one day it may all make sense.