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Guest op-ed: The Raving

By Anneli Byrd - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Oct 23, 2021

Anneli Byrd

Once upon a morning dreary, while I plodded, weak and weary, / to my desktop, where I’d often been before. / Sighing I began a tapping, tapping, tapping, grimly rapping / on the keyboard’s shiny plastic core.

And again, the screen a lighted, telling me I was invited / to explore enchanted realms delighted, / browsing through the web’s vast varied store. / Every website, none ignoring, some adoring some abhorring, till at last I / might consider–after this last look at Twitter, / to do the work, I should have turned in weeks before. / Just one password matching what I have in store, / only this, and nothing more.

All at once, my stomach churning, and my mind with fever burning / to recall the password yearning to return through memory’s mystic door.

KumQuatLover! / BrightCognition?

But alas no recognition, of that clever password, used before. / Perhaps there was an underscore? / Just one hint and nothing more.

Pretending to comply, it gave me, the dread question that would save me, / if I answered it correctly as before. / Name your place of birth it teased me, smirking as though this were easy / to remember what I’d entered once before. / Is it state, or just the city? Space, or no? There is no pity, from the squarish monster sitting, sitting, on my desk while I look for…

That piece of paper, where I’d written, that dumb password that would fit in / the nagging space that I could not ignore. / While I searched, I then reflected, on my forefathers, / not connected to a website undetected / Free of passwords to restore. / They had pens. And nothing more.

A slip of paper! I behold it! With trembling fingers, I unfold it / FluFFySnokerkinsIwuvYou2! / In disbelief I sat there blinking. What on earth had I been thinking? / Why, that embarrassing phrase doesn’t even scan.

As that stupid phrase I stuttered. “This lousy bleeping bleep,” / were words I muttered. / But a simple prayer of thanks I uttered, / as I sought the website to restore. / At last, I’m in! Now to my work in quantities galore.

But I sat with conscience pricking, looking at the work I should be sticking, in my outbox, sadly empty as it was the night before. / Could I make my paltry labors look like more? / Perhaps with some exaggeration, I might save the situation? / Wait! I’d forgot, my boss was on vacation! / Far away in Singapore, she’d not come knocking at my virtual door. / I could postpone my work, that endless, boring chore. / With shouts of glee, I found the online store!

After all, I’d do work later. My boss would not think me a traitor– / to wait till motivation would be greater, / as it would be after shopping at the store. / Besides she’d never know, far away in Singapore, / where waves were lapping, lapping, lapping on the shore. / I’d just buy this, and nothing more.

Password? Sure. I quickly entered, thinking of my purchase centered, on my mantel in the place that I’d made for… / What? My password’s incorrect? It tells me. / Just a typo, that’s all surely. / I’ll retype more slowly than before. Shortly, I’ll be looking at the store!

Password’s incorrect.

In years to come you’ll find me sitting / at my desk with headache splitting, / often hitting, hitting, hitting, / my brains against the nearby wall of stone. / I think deep down I’ve always known, / Hell’s not a lake of fire and brimstone. / It’s this wretched box Bill Gates condoned / to chain my soul forever to this chair alone.

And the error message never leaving / mocks my lonely soul bereaving / the horrors the next download has in store.

There’re only errors, nothing more. / And I will leave here, nevermore.

Anneli Byrd is an academic adviser in Weber State University’s Student Success Center.

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