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FEBRUARY 29, 2012

Gah. Why won’t you work anymore? You wondrous pieces of machinery. Your veins shoot electricity, and your nerves are made of platinum. You ask me to push the green button, I push. I’ll push five more times if you need me to. You promised at least a year of smooth operating. Just work for me. Please?

Not gonna say I was biting-my-nails nervous on Jan. 1, 2000, but deep down, I wondered. You started going by this dance-pop name, Y2K, like, what, you were too cool for me all of a sudden? All around I heard people saying, “It’s going to ruin you. Your time, your job and your bank account will all suffer. You’ll lose whole years to this thing.”

When I confronted you with my concerns you said, “It’s not my fault — my parents didn’t teach me how to respect others’ values”. Individualists themselves, your parents only taught you how to speak for yourself, in your own language.

Still, how was I supposed to react when everyone was saying, “You’re way too committed. It’s going to hit a limit one day and reach an event horizon, and then you’re toast.” An event horizon is the boundary around a black hole, the point of no return. Light emitted from behind the horizon can never reach an observer. That’s abusive behavior, to put me there. Deep down, I thought, once we hit the new millennium, you’d forget all about me, and all the great games, stock quotes, launch coordinates and credit card numbers we shared would be meaningless after all.

With the big moment approaching, it all got too stressful for us. Line-by-line, we had to go through our communication and uncover the misunderstandings and the harmful assumptions we were carrying around with us. I said once you get to 1999 you have to move to 2000, and you said not necessarily. I was born on a leap year, which you tended to forget, and when I reminded you, you just kind of… beeped. I’ll admit, I’m complex. I’m not quite so binary in my thinking as you are. I’ve got a history, traditions and certain habits that are hard to break, like buying Treasure Trolls — I freaking love those things. But I refused to let you say that was grounds for abandonment. I’ll say it: I needed you.

You didn’t know it, but I had backup plans. I sure didn’t want to use them. I got so worried that I practically started envisioning planes falling from the sky, oil tankers colliding, World War III. I actually did think these things. Dramatic, I know. I went out and spent a couple hundred billion dollars on books, manuals and can upon can of creamed corn to help me deal. I seriously considered packing my bags and running into the woods and living alone in a yurt just to escape my fear. But in the end, I waited and had faith.

Clearly, your attitude was, “Let’s make this work.” So why, now, all of a sudden, do you print blank receipts back at me when I ask for fast cash? You’ve been learning new skills, expanding your horizons to photography and music and yet you get a jam when you try to simply print? I turn you on, you get an error alert and you “don’t know why”. You get an error while telling me you have an error, and all I can say is “OK.” You put words — profane, inappropriate words — in my text and make me look like an ass. And all the time.

You’ve been mocking me with that annoying little paper clip voice, bouncing up and down on my work. Get bent, paper clip. You know-it-all.

I’m going to go for a walk. Don’t look for me on Foursquare.

Contact Anthony DeMaria at 


FEBRUARY 28, 2012