A true tragedy as Windows takes exception to the Bard


I’m not one of those numerous loony bin creatures who believes the world is imminently coming to an end.

Let me rephrase that. My computer not only crashed last week, but the hard drive cracked into a gazillion virtual pieces, all my data were destroyed, and the world seemed it would indeed come to an end.

It happened so simply: I rebooted my computer, and just as Windows woke up with a cheery “Good Morning,” a line appeared saying, “Oh, you seem to be missing your Config.sys. Would you mind rebooting again?”

Of course, I told the screen. Happy to oblige. This time, though, Windows decided not to appear. Instead, my monitor told me—not with cheer, but with gloating scorn, with a scream rather than a screen, “An exception has occurred at 00038KLL2. Please repair this immediately.”

Evangelicals turn to the Good Book. Chinese turn to the Tao Te Ching. I turn to Shakespeare, opening at random. “The bounty and the benison of heaven to BOOT and BOOT! And boot!” says King Lear in his madness.

Okay, I decided take his advice. I rebooted. Now the screen stared at me with a giggle. I didn’t panic, but with a deadline looming, I needed a solution. Well, a Bard in the hand …

What is the answer, Will?

Says the Danish Prince, “Rank corruption, mining all within, infects unseen.”

It was more than I could take. Three blocks from my house sat the Guardian Angels of the nicest computer repair shop in the world, the kids from Hong Kong knowing everything. But how in hell was I to remove all those plugs, cords, thumb-things, inner workings? Shakespeare, please help me!

“Thou shalt be whipp’d with wire, and stew’d in brine, Smarting in lingering pickle,” said Cleopatra. Oh, shut up, I told her. You don’t know your asp from your elbow.

I unplugged the plugs, unwired the wires, carried the CPU to my friendly kids and whispered that I could neither boot nor write, that all is death. They looked at me with horror, for they have seen this before, and recite their own Shakespeare line to warn others.

Your Windows are broke down in every street

And we for fear compell’d to shut our shop.”

They wished me a good morrow, but not to hope for very much. “When should I pick up my computer?” I asked. But the trio was silent, consulting a group of witches.

“Oh, tomorrow,” said one. “And tomorrow,” said another. “And tomorrow,” said the third.

On the morrow I did return, and they greeted me with crocodile tears. The worst is yet to come. The diagnosis: The hard disk is gone, the data is gone, nothing is left. I stood bereft. No hope at all?

Perhaps, they reckoned, the NSA—the National Spying Apparatus—found something treasonous on my machine. “Darest thou support a publish’d traitor?”

So I took my computer and my new virgin disk and my hopes back home. My Shakespeare and my spaniel greeted me. The latter wagged his tail; I turned to Will-power. Could I hope that a solution will be at hand?

“Being green,” said King Henry VI hopelessly, helplessly, “there is great hope of help.”

Which is no help at all. And you, dear reader, have you experienced the nightmare, the hopes, the countless disks upon which countless files are retained and disappeared? Can you imagine the desperation when reaching into a drawer you find countless antique floppy disks, some going back to the reign of Elizabeth the First?

Have you, dear reader, backed up and backed up and backed up again to find your efforts are all for nought?

“Don’t worry,” says Shakespeare, “it’s much ado about nothing.”

Nothing is what I have. And then the dramatist laughs at my efforts for backing up, and how I look to others.

Yet my spaniel is sympathetic. In his eyes glow the words that Shakespeare would deem for my efforts: “Would ye not think his cunning to be great, that could restore this cripple to his legs again?”

Oh, I can, I can. The efforts are mighty, the downloads are few, the discs are infected, the connection is too. As data comes sniveling back, I can’t even connect with the programs, I turn to food (perhaps nettles or poisons) to music (a hideous Bruckner symphony), and then…..ah, the first miracle. I can connect. Finally. And I shout with joy.

Until the next nightmare, all’s well that ends well.

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