Always On


I really don’t want to do this. I shouldn’t have to. I should have more self-control. But I don’t. Every thirty seconds my hand moves of its own accord, clicking the mouse, swapping out my Microsoft Word window for Jan’s SMN window. I hate him and I love him. I’m keeping tabs on him when I’m supposed to be doing my homework. It sucks. He told me off today, but I refuse to get it. What’s wrong with me? I’m not an unreasonable kind of girl. Why do I want what I know I can’t have? Why am I still going over the dozens of hypothetical things-to-say that might—might—make him possibly consider liking me?

I can’t do this. I can’t sit and stare wishfully all evening. It’s ripping me to shreds. I glare at my SMN buddy list. It’s done nothing but complicate things. No more. I’m getting rid of it right this instant. So what if I can’t physically visit Summer or Lily or any of my other out-of-town friends? I can still call them or e-mail them whenever I want, and when I’m done I’m done. No more of this “always on” stuff. Jan can have his privacy back; Theo and Ernie, well, Summer was right: They’re not for me. It was nice having them there my first week at a new school, but now it’s time to move on with my life. I’m sure they’ll find someone else to fill the gap.

I click the “Close Window” button. My buddy list disappears, though the SuperMegaNet icon is still in my system tray. I hover the cursor over the icon, right-click. The pop-up menu lists various options, but offers no way of exiting the program.

Okay. Option B. I right-click my taskbar and bring up the task manager. I scroll down the list of running programs until I find “smn.exe”. I highlight it, click “End Process”. I wait. Nothing happens. I try again, and again nothing happens.

Right. Option C. Into the Control Panel I go, with the intent to uninstall SuperMegaNet entirely. But when I highlight the program there’s only a “What’s This?” option providing a tooltip that reads, “Fix me.”

Ugh! This is ridiculous!

I crawl under my desk, grabbing and yanking the power cord out of the strip with a feral rawr. That ought to show the stupid computer who’s boss! I crawl back out from underneath the desk—and I do a double-take. Somehow the computer is still running.

Without being plugged into the wall.

I swallow hard.

What kind of a program is able to keep your computer running without power?

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Published by

Jesse Gordon

Geek. Writer. Supreme overlord of the SUPERMEGANET pseudoverse. Author of THE OATMEAL MAN, DOOKIE, and other such wasteful nonsense.