I have long believed in wee forest folk, and have blogged about my affinity towards them previously. My belief now extends to their urban cousins, the computer Gremlins. These rascals take up residence in the machines that have now taken over our lives, where their mischievous ways wreak utter havoc.
In recent weeks these pesky Gremlins have hidden my entire iTunes library, caused several draft blogs to vanish, and have started to selectively delete emails from my inbox (never the promotional drivel, or the weekly interest rate updates from every mortgage broker on the continent, but only the important stuff that I need to return to)
I’m afraid I have a pretty short fuse when it comes to childish pranks that interrupt my quality time in front of the computer screen, so war has been declared on the Gremlins – they may be cute, but they gotta go!
I have learned to my chagrin however, that it is a campaign that may not be so easily won. They have laughed at my self -help attempts to dislodge them, nimbly dodging every virus catcher software update I have thrown at them, along with hard drive de-frags and operating systems patches. I don’t dare google “gremlin removal” on my home computer, since they are clearly monitoring my internet activity, and the computer tech I hired limped away defeated, with his tail between his legs.
I have grown despondent over my stubborn Gremlin infestation, so much so that I have even contemplated abandoning my computer entirely. I have taken to scribbling blog posts out long hand, so that I at least retain a draft, if the keyboarded version disappears into the ether, and I figure the handful of meaningful emails I send and receive can be similarly be replicated off-line with a quill pen.
Indeed, the only thing stopping me has been Google – how could I survive, without having the entirety of mankind’s knowledge at my fingertips, instantly, 24/7 ? How did the Ancients survive, I wondered, in the days before Gremlins had computers to infect ? And how, indeed did they deal with their gremlins? In attempting to answer those question I think I may just have found the answer to my own Gremlin problem.
It seems that for over a thousand years before the advent of the computer, humankind slaked its thirst for instant knowledge by consulting the Etymologiae- the world’s first encyclopedia – all 20 volumes of which were complied by Isidore, the Archbishop of Seville, the last scholar of the ancient world, whose ambitious quest was to compile a complete summary of all human knowledge. His Etymologiae became the Google of its day.
The Archbishop dealt with his Gremlins in a pretty straightforward fashion- through the power of prayer: and, after a century or so, was rewarded for his piety by being canonized as a Saint.
A very few years ago, at the turn of the present century, theologians, recognizing perhaps that increasingly, heathens such as myself were being driven to prayer, and possibly even exorcisms, in order to purge their computers, officially designated Saint Ididore as the patron saint of the internet, and computer users – Imagine that, our very own patron saint !
So there you have it – the computer age now has its own patron saint, and we now know who to light the votive candles for, and who to call upon in our prayers .
Now, let us pray for deliverance from Gremlins. It sure can’t hurt !