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Beware the Shareware Care Bears!!

By (NOT DAVE) Barry Silverberg

"Why buy computer games when you can download?"

"Why copy out song lyrics when you can download!"

"Why plan lessons when you can download!"

"Why tape off the radio when you can download!?"

"Why write term papers/ dissertations/ book reports/ laundry lists/ Nobel Prize winning poetry/ when you can download?!"

There are very few phases of human activity that you can indulge in today without somebody, and by somebody I mean somebody tall, aged 15 to 25, wearing a sanctimonious grin with acne on the side, loping up to you and saying, disparagingly, " You actually wasted an evening xxxxxx-ing xxxx?(insert appropriate activity which, until now, has been a standard part of your routine) "Why didn't you just download it ?" Followed by an unvoiced, "Nya nya nya!"

Is this fair?

Do I hawk said person a Chainekk why he doesn't download his dishes into the sink? Download his dirty laundry into the hamper? Or downseat, let alone download the toilet when he comes out? Or why he couldn't upgrade his memory the week before finals? Or why can't he be a little more compatible with his motherboard?

Well, yes. I do, endlessly. But what does that have to do with me getting ridiculed for refusing go take advantage of all this GREAT FREE STUFF?

Firstly, let me make this very clear: I resent being made to look like one of those mid lifers who prides himself (herself ) for being computer semi-literate. .

I don't make dumb jokes like how in my day a NET was what you used to catch a BUG . No way. I can cruse the information highway, not in the passing lane maybe, but I get there. I cut and paste. I create, backup, and delete files; I've wiped out my entire system more than once. I keep my files zipped and my viruses filtered. I am et ease with the new lexicon; I can even pun in it: Watch this!!

Beware of Geeks Sharing GIFs;

which brings us back to the point I was making: The trouble with FREE DOWN LOADS is that I don't believe them. I learned early that nothing in life is free. Who are these people who want to give me all this stuff? I don't know them. They could be digital versions of the old men (women) with the candies that my mother warned me about. Somewhere, I knew, there's a catch to it.

And I was right. Cause the day finally came when a real emergency came up and I had to take my plunge into the sea of shareware. (If you must know, I needed with the lyrics to "Why Why Why Delila" and fast, don't ask. So, I get into the correct site and the right place and I punch the button; Suddenly IT'S LIKE THE OUTER LIMITS: The screen goes dark. The screen LIGHTS UP: WE HAVE TAKEN CONTROL OF YOUR SET; then, this ominous warnings that any data I receive could be corrupted , and THEY ,needless to say are not responsible. So not responsible are they that they want me to click that I agree to this. Get it? Their asses are covered from all sides. And I'm already starting to panic. I'm going to zap this button, and somewhere, some how, some damage is going to be done. It's like that stuff we used to swallow back in the 60's; we knew that whole spirals of our DNA were going to be blasted into those little blue and green balls -- but which ones?

But I'm too far in to stop, so I do it. And now comes the really scary part: Another Outer Limit's takeover: This one has one of those rows of tiny green checkboxes that fill-in left to right - blllllllliiiiiiiiiiiittttt! The caption reads SPAWNING EXTERNAL VIEWER!

Get out of here! Now Way ! What's this spawning? Who's spawning here? Salmon spawn. Demons spawn. Nice boys from Winnipeg's Talmud Tora Day School don't spawn! Even the ones who committed the cardinal sin of making Aliah! What if one of my kids walks in: "Where's the Hummus-AAAA! Mom! Dad's spawning! And someone's taking pictures. "

Just last week they told me that I can catch a virus just by opening up an infected E-mail. Now I've let this External Viewer loose in my den -I can't even see where it's hiding. But I know it's out there, it's external, right. And I can feel it watching; And it' s beaming everything back to that giga-googolplex of memory in the cavern under the Gates mansion. Everything. Including the night I got a bit too Nettie naughty and checked out pictures of Brittany's Pears - an 18 year old superstar who, for some reason, is still wearing the clothes she wore in kindergarten.

And it's oh, so retrievable! See, when I learned FORTRAN, our professor was SO proud of having found a way to shave eight bits off the date; but today, there's enough to store everything down there! This is Big Brother's Big Sister!

So I know that one day it will get back to me: "Fellow teachers, Barry has teaching English at our Yeshiva for 73 years and tonight we present him with this lovely bakelite -Hey- What's That over there;

(Attention! Spawning external viewer! I am the external Viewer of Barry's past! LOOK UPON MY WORKINGS AND DISMAY! Click yes to funnel your pension fund over to us and not continue. Now you know what MEMORY CACHE really means!! AHA HA HHA HA HA! )

... .... ...

At this point I wake up, stiff with cold, disentangle my beard from the keyboard so I can pick my head up; The cat has knocked the coffee into the printer paper; The screen bears the message: DOWNLOAD COMPLETED, ER, WELL, ALMOST, ACTUALLY WE CRASHED WITH ONLY TWENTY SECONDS TO GO. And, just as you turn despondently away, the marquee of the screen saver parades by, blinking you a final message:

from the January 2000 Edition of the Jewish Magazine




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