Every time finals week rolls around, I’m repeatedly left wondering why I accepted admission to this school — or why I chose to attend college at all. This week is a hellish time. I typically consume enough caffeine to power my flight back home, and showers are about as common as a non-heinous screw date. And at the end of the week, the Yale Bookstore “buys back” my trillions of dollars in books (the majority of which are still encased in cellophane) for approximately 22 cents. Basically, I’m left with a handful of change, a serious twitching problem and the thought, “Wow. I smell really, really awful.”
I started taking finals seriously since the semester in which I foolishly took a class on the New Testament. After receiving the lowest grade of my life in a class devoted to my own religion, I spent the entire next week in church convinced I was going straight to hell. Ever since, I’ve taken a more active role in my classes, and by “active role” I mean that I attend them.
Consequently, this fall semester I was on top of my classes — mainly because there were only three of them (if my parents ask, the “W” on my transcript stands for “wonderful.”) Studying had been going well. True, I was occasionally distracted. I did spend an hour devising a theory that my teacher, Professor Cryptkeeper, actually died centuries ago and is now functioning by means of animatronics. But overall, I was getting things done. Papers were being completed without my having to adjust margins or line-spacing and without worried cries of, “I may have to go Courier New!”
I was wrapping up one of my papers when it happened. Later investigation revealed it was the “FunLove” virus that did me in. Yep. “Fun” and “love” were not the words that came to mind when the virus crashed my computer, taking the entire contents of my floppy with it.
Everything on the disk was erased. My nearly-finished paper was gone. My two graduate school essays (yes, I managed to find a school with a very late deadline that didn’t outright refuse when I requested an application) were gone as well. All three papers were due the next day, and none of them were backed up to the hard drive. And like the doctors on ER (though not nearly as hot), the only thing the computer assistants could say was, “I’m sorry. There’s nothing we can do.” Apparently, my disk was “corrupted” and thus unsalvageable — like Robert Downey, Jr. The walk back to my room from the Connecticut Hall computer lab consisted of sobbing and a lot of dry heaving.
Later, when I told my friend Skyler what had happened, she responded the way that only a true friend would — she laughed hysterically. “Are you f—— kidding me!!??” she howled with amusement. “I can’t believe it! I’ve used that excuse hundreds of times, but I didn’t think it actually ever HAPPENED!” It can. It did. I have the subsequent therapy bills and an empty bottle of Dubra to prove it.
Once at home, I resorted to what my mother calls “pitching a fit.” I looked at my corrupted disk. The fact that it was pink was only a small glimpse into the evil it represented. I knew there was only one recourse: it must be annihilated.
The last thing it saw were the stiletto heels of my Nine West boots.
Afterward, I curled up in the fetal position for a good two hours. All brain activity ceased. I’d been reduced to the level of the guy from high school that did so much acid that he’s now institutionalized and believes he’s a glass of orange juice. Mentally, I put up a Do Not Disturb sign — the kind of sign usually reserved for the hotel room doors of people who were having sex.
Because I was definitely screwed.
Later, after my friends talked me back from the ledge, I did some begging and got an extension on the paper. Then I stayed up all night and rewrote my grad school essays from memory but, of course, they weren’t as good as they were the first time. What did I expect? Intellectually, I was Boober the Fraggle. But on the bright side, at least I now have something to blame besides myself should a rejection letter arrive in April. In fact, this experience did wonders for my scapegoating abilities. For the rest of my life, whenever I lose anything, I will know that it was not my fault at all. In actuality, the object was sacrificed to the black hole that is the A drive — the place where good things go to die.
Once I’d mailed off the application and turned in my long-overdue paper, I was able to put the event into perspective. Yes, this is probably the worst computer-crashing story I’ve ever heard, and it’s unfortunate that it is mine. But, as is true of all things, the incident passed. The sun did come up the next day — I know this because I watched it happen. And besides, I even got a column out of the whole debacle. Which I backed up. Twice.
Noelle Hancock, an unlucky senior in Saybrook college, was awarded stock in Enron for winning a business competition in high school. She thinks now would be a good time to sell.