Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Snake Eyes

Last week my work computer starting acting strange. Messages popped up telling me I was under attack, that my files had been corrupted. Ben, our helpful computer guy, took a look. "You have a virus," he said. "You should turn off your computer."
I frantically tried to save files. I rushed to complete a project. I wondered why and how this happened. Most of all, I thought about how we personify mechanical malaise and call it a virus. As if my computer has a fever and an upset tummy. Or a rash and a headache.
The urge to personify is supremely solipsistic, but it's understandable. We see the world through human eyes, so a weeping willow is a grandmother with long, stringy hair and a drainage tunnel is a pair of snake eyes. Computer viruses aside, personification makes the world a warmer, friendlier place.


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