The Day The Modem Dies
by Wilbur Witt
There used to be two things that were certain, death and taxes. These two events came for us all. The human experience has grown, people. Now we all will experience that third phenomenon. The morning you get up, make coffee, light your first and your iPad tells you, “Your iPad is offline. Please check your connection.” Internet is down! Of course, first you run to the modem, and router, do the usual restart . . .nothing! Do that again. Nada! Ok, check the bills. Paid! You know better, but you finally call the provider. You must climb the call tree. After pressing one for English, two for problem, and three to simply SPEAK to someone, Mohammed, wherever he is, answers the phone.
You begin to describe your problem in your best Rush Limbaugh voice, and he, of course, tells you to restart the modem. Rather than argue, you do it. Who knows, maybe Mohammed has some secret power Allah has given him that will bless your modem. Nope! Dead as day old beer. Thanks Allah! Now he says he must schedule a technical trouble call with all the usual warnings about cost should this turn out to be your fault. Of course, the date is a week out! Their system is so screwed up they’re a week behind just fixing all the problems? You thank him, end the call and face a brave new world.
Your life has become a vacuum. You don’t subscribe to cable itself so you can’t even turn on the news. You know what the weather IS because you can stick your stupid head out the window, but you don’t know what the weather will BE! Of course, If you live in Texas the forecast is most likely hot, hotter, hottest, so that’s no big deal. The hurricane season usually brings a break to this. When your hoping for a hurricane that’s a whole new level of screwed.
You find your way to the porch. It’s very quiet. You have absolutely no idea what’s going on in the world. You know Obama hasn’t screwed the pooch too bad because the nukes aren’t raining down, but what if some girl just got kidnapped and you don’t know about it? She could go through the entire ordeal without your knowledge. What if some movie star put their house on the market? What if, OMG, George Zimmerman got a parking ticket in Austin and you were never told? This is not good. You hear a distant train begin to roar in your head.
Ok, ok, calm down. Restart the modem again. Maybe it just had a bad hair day and it’s well now. Nope! Check the wires, CHECK THE WIRES! No. It’s dead that’s why the little lights aren’t blinking. You give it a little kiss on its dead cheek, and take your iPad back to the porch. You wonder why you even took your iPad to the porch in the first place. I mean, it can’t DO a God Damn thing! Practically everything of any value must have an Internet connection to function. All but that dumb ass deer hunting game, so you hunt deer for about fifteen minutes. After playing a computer shooting game for fifteen minutes you begin to realize how stupid kids are these days. You also realize that any kid who is dull witted enough to do that all day will never have the testicles to shoot a real gun at anyone.
There are a couple articles on the iPad you always meant to read, but just never found the time. Now you have the time. Some of the pressure begins to come off. That train roaring in your head begins to subside. Amazing! You read the articles and then search your documents folder for more. Nothing. The panic starts to rise again. The train speeds up. Your mind races. What to do? You go into the house, feverishly hunting for diversion. You must outrun the train. In the distance you see a book shelf. Slowly, almost sloth like, you open the glass doors and pull out one book. You blow the dust from the cover and it’s Dr Phil’s book, “Real Life.” There’s even a picture of Dr Phil with his shit eating grin right on the jacket. Some years ago you paid twenty six dollars for this book at the supermarket and always meant to get around to reading it. Well, you’re holding the Round Tuit right in your sweaty palms.
You return to the porch. After checking your Internet connection one more time you open the book. You settle on the chapter about stress. Lo and behold there is actually a part talking about how stressful it is when the Internet goes down! Dr Phil understands your pain. God bless you Dr Phil, God BLESS you! Spurred on by this spiritual connection you devour the book, and a bottle of wine for most of the day. One of the nice things is that after reading about all the things that CAN go wrong in your life you discover that the dead modem is just about the only thing that DID go wrong in YOUR life. By now that rushing train in your head is pulling into the station. You notice that there are birds in the yard. You think that just maybe there may be rain on the way, and it’s so simple, there are clouds blowing in from the north. When you were a child you knew that this almost always brought rain, yes, beautiful rain!
The day passes. Friends come over. The real kind, you know, the kind who bring wine and eat bread and cheese with you and talk. There’s even a girl, who, while not as pretty as the pictures you get from Nigeria, is not that bad, and she’s WARM! At the end of the day you retire. You fall quickly asleep. The next week the man from the provider comes and replaces your modem. Overjoyed you rush to the porch and sign into Facebook. You are very behind in pokes, and pictures of everyone’s dinner, and trivial arguments, and, and, and . . .and you suddenly realize the most poignant acronym the Internet has ever produced is W….T….F!