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Friday, September 26, 2008

The Day the World Forgot to Blog

It had to be on a chilly November morning in the not too distant future, sometime within the deep clutches of autumn. The trees were barren, steam was rising up from the gutters, the sun was starting to peek over the cold horizon, and a very curious incident was unfolding. The erstwhile expert armchair force of blogorama around the globe was about to go atypical. Instead of ingratiating themselves in front of their laptops or other sundry hardware of choice, the collective took on this rather unusual turn of events.

Marlene of Freiburg, Germany walked into her study to put in writing some of the insights she’d gained attending a business seminar over the weekend, and as she attempted to do so, her hands mysteriously froze right above the keyboard. She sat looking at them as if waiting to see what they’d do next. She couldn’t move. After an extended moment of awkwardness, she had to step away from her machinery. She checked herself into the hospital and was treated for zombie blogaritis.

In Osaka, Japan, Akinori was going to update his recent hang gliding exploits, but as he turned his computer on, an error message came up which translates to “Insufficient memory. Do I know you?” He rebooted only to see the same message again. He would have to get reacquainted with his computer before he could blog again.

Bradley, a 6th grader in Auckland, New Zealand was perched atop a tree waiting to access his site on astronomy. Though he generally typed only eleven words a minute, it didn’t prevent him from sharing his thoughts on the stars. On this day, however, even 80 words a minute wouldn’t have mattered. Suddenly he couldn’t spell. Three-letter words like ‘the’ and ‘you’ and ‘get’ became too complex. He couldn’t hit the right keys to save his life. So after a spat of entering gwl ev fio eer ykyh dlr wel doxy wjer zunthc v prwim dn qf icxf jby, Bradley astutely gave up.

Nobody could seem to blog. As hard as they tried, it wasn’t working. Even those plugged in from phones, handhelds or implanted microchips could not access the ports to upload their vaunted commentary. Each thought it was just them, but little did they know it was an epidemic.

Dave Barry’s personal assistant, Penelope, was loading his latest essay but didn’t realize that all the words were getting juxtaposed. When readers went to Dave’s blog, all they saw was “Messing Mind With Are Mutant My Porcupines,” and the article itself was completely illegible, as opposed to how it was usually only somewhat illegible. Fans flooded his e-mail box with complaints, calling him awful things like “dupe” and “miscreant.” Dave instructed Penelope to hold all his calls and sought exile in the foothills.

Sue from Utah had a flash of brilliance that morning as she usually does at 4:00 a.m., and she jumped sprightly out of bed and put on her pink bunny slippers to post once more. As she was sipping her caffeine-free candy apple mocha lite with coconut marshmallows and a twist of fermented lemon, she logged on and noticed to her astonishment that her blog provider had inadvertently failed to pay its power bill that month (the one that says powered by Zapotech — that kind of power), and so the site was down for the count. She pounded her fist into the mocha, creating a cacophony of liquidous sounds that are suitable only for mature audiences and some species of crustaceans.

This was developing into the worst disaster in the history of blogdom. Mothers were taking their kids off the streets. Wall Street was in disarray. Wolf Blitzer was stuttering uncontrollably. But it only got worse.

Over in Alberta, Canada, a becoming something mom named Natasha was about to reveal an exclusive to the world that she had discovered a natural remedy for all chronic conditions through a mixture of non-alcoholic moonshine and pomegranates, and she was all prepared to tie it into a story involving unsuspecting citizens she encountered and vagrant animals that came onto her property. However, as fate would have it that morning, she accidentally grabbed the epoxy to apply eyelash, and before she knew it, her eyelids got stuck shut. Like any dedicated blogger, Natasha still faithfully tried to type out her decree to the world. I can type by touch, she thought. But no such luck. The spell checker was having a field day zinging her every offering, and nothing was coherent. She had her kids look up a remedy for diffusing skin, reasoning that eyelids might be expendable. The closest they could find was embalming fluid, which unfortunately they had run out of the day before. And since the combined age of the kids was still under the driving age, the blog would have to wait.

Dominic, a businessman in Italy, had an emergency appendectomy and didn't make it to his blog. Stephanie contracted 24-hour malaria, and was bedridden all day, postponing her posting. Alphonse got amnesia and started acting like a petunia. Yvonne temporarily turned into a tree sloth, losing her opposable thumbs.

Alice from New Jersey thought it was just another normal day. Her house phone and cell phone were ringing simultaneously, her dog had just produced a puddle in the entryway, and her hard-boiled eggs turned out to be overboiled when she negligently left them on for an hour and all the water went away. With smoke everywhere, she slipped while reaching for the dog, the first person hung up, and the second heard her scream as her feet were going out from under her. It was her literary agent, and they needed a little more promotional material, figuring her latest local publicity could spur more subscribers, if she would just post something today. She grimaced with the pain in her foot, and then consented just to get them off the phone, now realizing that she had twisted her ankle, and was still sitting in the present her little Fifi gave. The doorbell rang, the smoke alarm went off, she opened the door, the dog ran down the street, and a man in a blue suit wanted her to sign for a package. Looking up from the floor while holding onto the doorknob for stability, she muttered, “You can keep your lousy package.” And she slammed the door on the world, and just lay there, wallowing in her circumstance.

Jed wrote daily from the snug confines of his darkened Manhattan studio. His electric bills were low since he eschewed light bulbs. He even took the one out of the fridge to keep the food from getting perky. Jed wrote of the seamier side of life, and had a penchant for the vernacular. Jed was a basket case. As he was about to write his blog, Jed's computer started talking to him. It said, "Welcome to your worst nightmare. Would you like to play a game, Jed? Keep typing for the curse." Each time he dared enter another character, it would audibly count down. He thought it was a prank until the computer started carrying on a conversation with him and reading his mind. He ran out of the building like a lunatic, and was later admitted as one, with mouse still clutched in hand. Jed's blog didn't go out that day.

Maria mistakenly pressed "Reformat Hard Drive" instead of "Submit" when her blog was ready, so that minor technicality kept her from being published that day. Gustav was hallucinating and thought his keyboard was a calzone, and he ate it. Hortens had a nervous breakdown and couldn’t restart. Cornelius spontaneously combusted. Frank lost his Internet connection when a boa constrictor got inside the utility panel and chewed up all the wiring. And this phenomenon perpetuated around the Internet.

All these people who were used to writing their blogs were suddenly unable to do so. Their readers didn't know what to do. At first, they just went looking for the next blog on their reading list, but after several unsuccessful attempts at finding fresh entries, they soon realized that it wasn’t going to happen, and they panicked. Their worst suspicions were realized: the blogosphere had been compromised. All was not well in Xeon.

Off in the distance, the faint echoing of a wistful dog bark could be heard. The streets were motionless. For a delicate moment in time, the world stood still. All awaited the next move. Hidden near a park bench somewhere in downtown suburbia, another leaf broke away and fluttered gently to the ground, anonymous to the masses.


Renee said...

I don't know WHERE you come up with this stuff! Very fun! The creativity in your details are great. One of the cutest, about Bradley, the 6th grader: "Though he generally typed only eleven words a minute, it didn’t prevent him from sharing his thoughts on the stars." :)

Fun read while eating my Kashi Go Lean & berries. I enjoyed the music too. -- Renee

Anonymous said...

I like Kashi Go Lean too.

Rusty, you had me thinking I had lost my mind. I come and check here every day or two and all of a sudden there are these new posts. I felt guilty for not reading and commenting when I was not feeling insane. Then I remembered that when you start a post with Blogger and save it, it picks the starting date as the publishing date. Which is SO DUMB. Stupid blogger trying to put me in the nut house.

Are any of these bloggers besides me and Alice real? And did you bury me in there to test me to see if I read your entire novels? (I do. Some nights it takes great concentration. Yours is a morning blog.) And I do NOT wear false eyelashes. You couldn't have come up with something about my arm wrestling lessons or my calzone obsession? Oh, but you DID mention calzones. You're welcome for the inspiration.

Silly, silly. Love it.

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