As it turns out, computer viruses can be transferred from 3 1/2-inch floppy disks. And unintentionally ruin a computer.
During the beginning of my college career I didn’t have the cash flow to invest (wisely) in an Apple computer. I was stuck with my parents’ junky PC.
If you used the Internet enough, a PC would contract a virus, no matter how much Norton tried to prevent it. The computer would slow, programs would run incorrectly or in some cases, wouldn’t work at all. Complete crashes weren’t surprising.
Before the days of flash drives and iPods, we had to use 3 1/2 floppy disks to transfer files. Or zip drives, remember those?
I had a group project in my speech class so we decided to meet at someone’s house to discuss our work. Everyone had to write a draft of something, a scenario we would all have to study, memorize and then perform in front of the class.
My writing was thorough and detailed so the group leaned on my work the most. But I had to transport the file somehow. Sure, you could e-mail it, but remember, I had a slow PC with dial-up Internet.
The alternative was one of my 3 1/2 floppy discs. I had four of them — a black one that housed all of my fiction; a red one for school work; and two blanks, a blue and a yellow. Since this was for speech class, I saved the assignment on the red one.
The group met at this Asian girl’s house. There were five of us. Her parents didn’t bother us and that was good since there was a great deal of yelling about 20 minutes after we all got started. We all had floppy disks and we took turns inserting ours into the Asian girl’s PC. We changed scenarios, printed stuff out, corrected grammar, it was an orgy of disk insertion.
I had a funny feeling about my disk. See, I knew my PC had a virus. I knew all of my disks, save for the blank ones, were dirty as well. Like the thoughtless person stressing over their next herpes outbreak but never planning to reveal it to their next victim, I wondered what was going to happen to this unsuspecting PC.
When nobody was looking, I placed my disk in the computer and walked away. Nobody even looked at the screen, they were too busy discussing the assignment or writing.
The Asian girl noticed after a couple minutes because a huge window popped up on the screen.
“Birus!” the Asian girl yelled. “Birus!”
Yes, her English wasn’t so great. Her chants of Virus! sounded like Birus!
She kept shouting, “Birus!” Despair filled her soul as she stared at the window.
The rest of the group didn’t know what she was talking about. I knew though. Despite her rough English, I knew what she was yelling. My floppy disk had fucked her computer.
She hovered over the computer attempting to click on something, but the huge window prevented her from doing anything. It displayed a loading bar (that traveled extreme slow, it was a PC after all). The rest of the group had realized what had happened and all of them seemed surprised.
I feigned ignorance, of course.
We blamed nobody. Because there were so many disks going in and out of the computer, we figured it could have been any of ours. Maybe it was from the college. Who knew?
I knew. I knew the truth.
My infected disk possibly ruined that poor girl’s computer. I didn’t think that would happen. I figured it was a PC, all of them were that way.
So Asian girl in my speech class freshman year, I’m sorry for the error. I have moved on to Apple computers, hopefully you have too. We got an A on the project and I got an A in the class.
I’m not sure what everyone else got in the class. I am sure that that computer isn’t being used today. Rest in peace, diseased PC.