The Virus

What's the scariest thing at work? Not your boss, not the economy but that little spinning pinwheel of death that shows up before you saved your work.

Today over the loudspeaker at work came two words that will freeze the bowels of any 21st century business:

Our instructions were to turn our computers off and don’t turn them back on until further notice.  The fear was that turning them back on could potentially cause an   Widespread panic!  We had been infected by some mutant ninja virus.  The firewalls fell and we were suddenly held hostage by failed technology.

Everything I do in my job, I do on the computer. My hands were literally tied. There were no records to refer to, no charts, no graphs, only a blank screen. I sat at my desk completely dumbfounded, with no clue how to proceed without my computer. Fortunately I was not sailing in this sinking boat alone. Everyone in our office mirrored my look of confusion.

I’m old enough to remember pencils and paper, file folders and the alphabet, but like everyone else in today’s businesses, I’ve been sucked in by the convenience of technology. I even have a bracelet that’s a flash drive. Many years ago, I had been a Now I can barely spell my name without spell check.  When you get older, your memory becomes totally unreliable. These days, it doesn’t matter if you can’t remember anything, because everything you ever needed to know is in your computer.  For the next few days, until the virus is dead, I’m working in the dark.  I can’t remember things and my old buddy Dell is now in worse shape than I am.

You would think that when you have a really sick computer and the prognosis is questionable, you’d be able to come up with lots of things you need to do that you can’t usually get done. The stack of records that has been on your floor for months that needs to be filed. Those office procedure manuals that you should have looked at last year need to be read. I didn’t want to file or read those manuals before the computer failure and I still don’t want to. I tried hard to think of some other important tasks I could do so I’d look occupied until it was time to go home.

I could read the newspaper. Oops! It’s online.

Oops! That’s online.

I could check on JLo and see if she’s found a new boyfriend since she dropped that Skinny Minnie Mark. Oops! That’s online.

Maybe I’ll write a letter. Oops! Can’t spell anymore and my handwriting has become awful at best.

 Oops! All my sing-along music is in my computer.

I could call aboutOops! No and no Google.

I can’t even tell how long it is until I can go home. My clock is on my computer. I hope someone lets me know when I should drift toward the front door.

But, luck was on my side. The real mail brought me my retirement packet with dozens of forms to complete.  What is the motto, “”  I’m not sure of the exact wording and can’t look it up.  I’m on “COMPUTER LOCKDOWN”.


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