Computers in Coma Take Over School
AI Controlled by Hidden Supercomputer
Here we are, on the doorstep to the 21st century. According to official figures, our school is perfectly up to date with its technological equipment. Indeed, since last year, little cute computers have spawned themselves on almost every teacher’s desk in every classroom, and the authorities insist that every classroom will have Internet access – if not tomorrow, then at least by the end of the week. But is the situation truly as peachy as we are wanted to believe, or were the myriads of gray steel boxes and monitors implanted throughout the school just to pull the wool of false prosperity over our eyes?
There are three basic categories of computers at our school. The first, and quite possibly most numerous, is the invalid class. In most severe cases, these are the computers that, when turned on, start screeching bloodcurdlingly, equivalent to somebody undergoing medieval torture, and then colorfully crash without ever getting anything remotely coherent on their gaping monitors. More often, though, the invalids are capable of disguising themselves as normal PCs – until you start working on them, that is; at that point, if their processor speed of two keyboard presses per minute hasn’t discouraged your attempts, you will discover with horror that there are fatal errors that will, without warning, swallow that thesis paper you’ve been working on for the last half an hour, infect your floppy disk, refuse to save, or send baffling error messages to the printer that only serve to waste the remainder of the period. The invalids are scattered throughout the building, but their biggest quorum can be located at the Journalism lab, where, for a long time, the corpses of invalids who were “put to sleep” over the summer remained in a heap in the corner of the room as a morbid monument for posterity.
The second class of computers is the jailbirds, which can be found primarily at the library. They are properly functioning PCs (purchased just over the summer, in fact), with plenty of memory, good speed, and dozens of applications, and they are perfect if you wish to look something up in an encyclopedia or type a page or two in Microsoft Word. That’s where the user-friendly interface ends, however. You see, while we students are taught that we are important and will one day rule the world, the rational-thinking adults out there still consider us to be dangerous, infectious vermin with an insatiable appetite for destruction and vandalism. As such, they must protect the valuable computers from our hacker paws by creating (behind the misleadingly innocent interface) a security system that puts Alkatraz at shame. As soon as a curious student attempts to summon a function that is beyond the narrow parameters allowed by the district, alarms go off (why do you think we have fire drills so often and at such inopportune times?), and the unsuspecting high schooler is swiftly neutralized and taken away by the special forces disciplinary unit.
If you were told that the school building contains a supercomputer that has a Pentium 3 processor, a 20-inch monitor, more gigabytes in its hard drive than all the other PCs in the building put together, stereo speakers, and a built-in DVD player, you would either dismiss it as a preposterous rumor or start doubting this world’s sanity. Yet it is true that this monster exists, and it is the brain behind all machinations that go on in the building. Where is it located? Amazingly enough (and the conspiracy theorists will love this), it is hidden in the cafeteria, behind the food lines and burger grills. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Cafeteria food is the ideal dispenser of indoctrination vaccines; the food’s taste effectively masks the massive portions of condensed conformity gas that is injected into cheeseburgers and tater tots. Only those of us who have managed to avoid cafeteria lunches for several years in a row can begin to see the truth more clearly.
We’re ensnared into believing that our school district is putting utmost care into providing its students with the top notch, brand new technological equipment. Yet let’s face it – while everyday users are beginning to upgrade to Windows 2000, the school is still laden with Windows 95, and there still exist systems with Windows 3.1 on them (oh, the horror!); the beige little terminals with text-only interfaces, while still in existence, are individual teachers’ choices and thus exceptions to criticism. A good portion of the computers we have right now were either picked up at the Lafayette College’s garbage dump or, even simpler, moved from one classroom to another – and the novelty disguised the fact that the computers are still trash.