I had a bad dream. A nightmare. It was a flashback of January 1, 2000, but this time the millennium bug did come about. Somehow, there still was electricity, running water and heat, but the computer systems around the world ceased to function. Computers crashed terminally, with no option for resuscitation.  The idea of the computer-free life scared the pants off of me.

But everyone else seemed to not care. People were fine with the horrific analog existence. Computer-deprived children were playing outside, and it did not surprise their parents.

Folks were hanging out, and not in a normal online way, but by physically coming together, or chatting via non-smart phones.

To travel, they used oversized paper maps and outlandish compasses. To write, they used paper and pencils. To spell-check, they were surfing through heavy dictionaries. To find a recipe, they called Grandma. To buy stuff, they were going to the store. To pay the bills, they were sending checks by mail.

Researches were spending days in libraries for what could be done in minutes. Designers and engineers were using sketch pads, as in ‘heavy-weight paper’ and not an ‘online application’.

People forgot the true meaning of words. By ‘virus’ they meant some kind of bacteria that makes you sneeze and puke. By ‘windows ‘-openings in a wall to admit light or air and allow you to see out.  By ‘mouse’ – a small rodent with a long tail.

Since they could not google, people had to actually THINK. And they did it by using the mushy gray matter of their natural brains. And while a fundamental extension of their brains was removed, they did not feel handicapped.

Everyone seemed to be fine. Except for me.

I dreamed the Hell. Fortunately, I managed to wake up. I jumped out of the wet bad and checked my computer. It was working. Thank God for the beautiful smart box!

I started to appreciate the comfort of digital life. I realized how vulnerable and fragile we are. If my computer stops working – I am totally in a private Hell.

But, as perfect a phenomenon as the Computer is, it still can fail us. The personal metal box, containing the precious silicon chips, can be defective and endanger our life.

Without computer and Internet we are crippled. We are losing our artificial intelligence. And we are not sure if we can function on the biological one. We start to panic. We immediately call those geeks from tech support. We rely on them like on emergency doctors. And like doctors, they shamelessly charge us for restoring our life.

Phone conversations with the geeks are very humiliating. We can’t understand what they are saying. And we don’t understand what we are asking. We are not on equal ground. They are sitting in front of working computers, and we are staring at the malfunctioned device.

-         Click on the 'my computer' icon on the left of the screen.

-         Your left or my left?

Really, we are not that stupid. We are just stressed. They ask us to read the error codes and warning messages. We read and we get embarrassed for the content. Honestly, we did not write this stupid stuff. Other idiots did.

"There is a problem with your internet connection, please search our    website for solution"
"No keyboard present! Press any key to continue"
"No mouse present! Click OK to continue".
"An error occurred while displaying an error".

Is there some internal logic, we cannot understand? We are willing to spell the weird codes, we are even ready to debug, if you tell us how. But our brain will still resist understanding.

“The exception Integer division by Zero. (0xc0000094) occurred at location 0x047d683b. Click OK to terminate program. Click CANCEL to debug the program”… - Should we debug to find out why the jerk who wrote the program wants to divide by zero?

Chances are, the tech-doctors will not operate over the phone. They will probably detect a virus and request you to bring the disease to their office.

Viruses are definitely couriers from Hell. I don’t mean the tiny infectious bacteria. I mean the malicious humans, conceiving the viruses and ruining our digital paradise. It is no immunity against them. We are damned.

We bring our virus to the computer doctor. We have to wait in line – viruses are highly contagious. And we have to leave our computer there for days – days, thrown out of life. And then we have to pay. But this is a lesser demon. We already know, the computer will need maintenance sooner or later. Like in old Texaco commercial –"You can pay now or you can pay later". The problem is, with the blooming virus industry we’ll pay now, and we’ll pay later, and then again, and again. Smart geeks are already offering some kind of season tickets for returning customers. Sure, we buy them. Because the computer is a vital organ, we can’t survive without.

I had a bad dream. Now I know what the Hell is. It is a community without computers and Internet. And everyone is forced to think with his own brain.