Don’t Mind My Computer, It’s Just a Bit Slow…As In Dumb
Unemployment, as I’m sure anyone who has been without a job lately can attest to, is a lot of things. It’s depressing. It throws off your sleep and showering routines (“Yeah, I’m gonna set the alarm for noon, maybe shower after lunch if I spill something on myself”). It’s not a good subject to mention when meeting women. It’s also insanely boring, which is an aspect that should be emphasized more. I’m not exactly sure how people who go without work for months, or years even, deal with all this damn free time. The government really should address this. Along with an unemployment check, they should send people a book of word searches and a DVD box set of According to Jim: The Complete First Season, just so all that down time doesn’t lead to insanity.
New hobbies have a habit of springing up during unemployment. I’ve been reading more, and have perfected the art of making instant coffee. But most significantly, I’ve become addicted to playing chess online. I would say, on average, I spend two hours a day playing chess online against the computer. Is that because it’s fun? Does it suck me in with the lure of endless entertainment, the way Internet porn does?
Nope. There is one sad reason why I play Internet chess so much – because I completely suck at it.
In the past three weeks, I have not won one single game against the computer when it’s set to the “medium” level. “Yeah, sure, medium,” I think, remembering that one time I ordered chicken marsala at an Indian restaurant, the menu claiming it to have a medium level of spiciness, and then it made me burst into tears like I’d just gargled with Tabasco sauce. Whatever this medium level is, it’s like playing against a tandem of Deep Blue and Bobby Fischer. I don’t stand a chance against it, and yet I keep coming back, hoping to once, just once, snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and, in doing that, realize something that I’ve always secretly wished to fulfill.
Call it gigabyte envy. Although I know it’s impossible, I want, very much, to be smarter than my computer. To believe that my brain is more powerful than its Intel Processor. Lately, beating it at chess is apparently how I’ve chosen to go about it.
There are other ways to prove superiority. Some people in this world apparently are about as smart as their computers. They can use all the programs without difficulty, and it doesn’t take them two hours to figure out how to make a playlist on Foobar. When they get error messages, it actually means something to them. When I get error messages, it’s like trying to decipher smoke signals. These people tell their computer what to do, and not vice versa. They’re the ones in charge. These are the people who don’t get a great sense of unease when going into their computer’s settings, and who can watch a video online without accidentally installing ten new and random programs on their desktops.
In other words, people who are probably a lot younger than I am.
What I want, essentially, is a computer that’s kind of dumb. I don’t mean a shitty computer that’s slow and crashes all the time…I want something I can boss around. Somebody, Dell or Apple, whoever, should invent that. The Low IQ Computer. Its greatest contrast with regular computers would be that The Low IQ Computer would have an inferiority complex that it would express with an abundance of apology messages.
“A Shockwave Plug-In Has Crashed,” the computer message would say. “Do you want to stop it?”
“Yes!” I would respond. “Of course I want to stop it! It’s fucking everything up! Why on earth would I want you to keep trying to run it?”
There would be a pause, and then The Low IQ Computer would start groveling. “I feel like such an idiot. It’s like I try to run these plug-ins but I just can’t do it…and you tell me to stop trying but I don’t listen and I won’t give up…I’m such a failure.”
That’s really all I want from my computer. Groveling. On occasion, I would send the computer error messages myself just to mess with it. I would click on Microsoft Word and then, once it opened, I would immediately close it and send the computer a messages saying, “An error occurred. This program is already running.”
“Um, no it’s not,” The Low IQ Computer would reply. “What do you mean it’s already running?”
Would I respond? Absolutely not. Let it deal with the frustration. I’d even open Microsoft a second time, for the sole purpose of sending the computer the same error message again.
“You’re wrong!” it would scream, finally breaking down and losing its cool. “Stop sending me the error message!”
I wouldn’t engage. Cold stoic silence. And then I’d open up Google and whip its ass in chess.
It’s a dream, anyways. Man, I really need to get back to work. Then I’d have coworkers to spend my day with, instead of this genius machine. A job could really improve my self-esteem if, for no other reason, because it would get me bathing again. I could solve things and make the boss think I’m smart. In the long run, would I become miserable? Yes, absolutely. But at least I’d be entertained.