Friday, May 12, 2000

The Adoption Virus

Well, I guess nobody loves me. Or at least, nobody sent me the Love Bug virus. No "ILOVEYOU" messages in my in-box. It would have been okay, because I have a Mac, like you should too, and Macs laugh at viruses, ha ha! But as the foul contagion spread through Windows-equipped computers all over the world, messing up browsers, sending out e-mails, corrupting files, stealing passwords, I couldn't help but wonder: If there is such weakness in PCs that you can make so many changes with such little input, how come nobody has ever turned this power to the good?

I mean, if you can plant something obnoxious on people's computers, couldn't you also plant something nice? Or funny? Or silly? Why not a joke-of-the-day virus? A smiley-face virus that makes the little yellow suckers pop up all over your screen? A "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" virus that causes Regis Philbin's voice to ask "Is that your final answer?" every time you hit a command key? Why hasn't some politically savvy prankster used a virus to promote a cause? Collect all the names in your e-mail address book and, say, put them on a petition? The potential to capture eyeballs to promote an idea seems so awesome. And so, in case there are any sweaty little hackers out there looking for socially redeeming work, let me be the first to propose:


Warning! If you receive an e-mail with an attachment labeled HEYWHYDONTUADOPT, don't open it! It will infect your computer with unwanted content and infect your mind with ideas about adding needy children to your family. Your e-mail will be seized, your browser will be altered, your finances will be drained, your fingerprints will be checked, your house will be too small, your child-rearing capabilities will be pushed to the breaking point, and your heart will be enlarged. Some of the more dangerous features of this insidious virus:

* Places photos from waiting-children Web sites on your screen-saver.

* Makes the Wendy's Web site your default start page.

* Automatically subscribes you to adoptive-parent e-mail lists, which then propogate at the rate of about 150 messages a day.

* Plays a sound bite of Rosie O'Donnell promoting adoption on every computer start-up.

* Starts your computer up in the middle of the night to whisper subliminal suggestions that you can do this, you can do this, you can do this.

* Hacks into your bank account and adds about $20,000.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

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