Su Lum: Slumming

The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

On Sunday night two weeks ago, I sat down to write my penultimate endorsement column, when up flashed a full-page message that read:

“THE FIREWALL OF THE UNITED STATES COMPUTER BLOCKED. This computer has been blocked to Americans by the United States Government Firewall.”

Two official-looking red seals flanked this announcement. I got out my magnifying glass and found that one read: AMERICAN CENSORSHIP DAY and the other: THE GREAT FIREWALL.

What the hell? I read on:

“Illegally downloaded material has been located on your computer. All activity of this computer has been recorded. To unlock your computer and to avoid other legal consequences, you are obligated to pay a release fee of 200$ payable through GreenDot MoneyPack. After successful payment, your computer will automatically unlock. Pay within 72 hours or a criminal case will be initiated immediately.”

I know I haven’t downloaded anything suspicious – ha ha, funny joke, thanks a lot, hacker nerds.

On Monday morning I placed a desperate call to Sheldon Fingerman, my computer guru, who called me right back but something had, in the meantime, gone wrong with my phone and I couldn’t hear him. So the phone was ringing and I kept saying, “Hello? Hello?” to no avail -not an auspicious beginning to the day.

Using my other phone, we finally made the connection. Sheldon came right over, took a look and said he’d have to take the computer to Kevin in Glenwood to get the hard-drive cleaned out. Kevin told him that this virus was making the rounds and he had three other computers in his shop infected with it.

Sheldon left me a loaner laptop to write my column on and the fun continued. What happened to my keyboard? Where’s the “delete” button”? The finger mouse flew wildly across the screen, reminding me of the first time I tried to use a Water Pik and soaked the bathroom.

I remembered a point I wanted to make in the first paragraph of the column, but by the time I got back to it I’d forgotten what it was. Seethe. I wandered around the house patting my butt (that’s where Bill Cosby says old people’s brains have gone) and my thought finally came back to me. Slowly limping onward.

All’s well that ends. I managed to finish the column on time and my computer came back the next day.

Now comes the waiting for the election returns, promising to be a very long day or more. Please not more. Please not Romney.


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