This is not the article I'm supposed to be writing. The article I'm supposed to be writing concerns women and what men think of them. This article concerns a major screw-up.
I'd rather be working on the other article, believe me. Women are infinitely more interesting. Women are pretty. They smell nice.
This story contains none of those elements.
We'll have to go back a few days, because that's where the beginning is, and it's always easier to start at the beginning. The beginning, in this story, was last Sunday. Being a Sunday, God was probably resting, and I'm convinced that's why He wasn't around right when I needed Him most.
I was hard at work, answering comments and clearing my tracker and generally farting around when I realized there was an "issue" with my e-mail. "Issue" is a euphemism I use when circumstances will not allow real cuss words.
After a minute or two of clicking on all the wrong buttons and smacking the monitor and muttering mildly disturbing profanities, I was suddenly struck with an Idea.
My best friend will tell you that if I have an Idea and a computer at the same time, havoc is bound to follow. I am, after all, the Original Techno-illiterati.
It occurred to me that my e-mail address had been changed since I opened this account but I had never registered the change with the omniscient Website BooHoos. The old domain name had been put out of its misery months ago. Could this be the cause of the enigmatic e-mail issue?
All I have to do, I said to myself, is re-register my account with the new e-mail address, and the world will be rosy once more. What I forgot to say to myself is, What the hell was the password I used to register ten months ago and never wrote down?
Did you know that if you persist in trying to log on to your page with different passwords. all of them wrong, some omnipotent Cyber-God will decide you are an unauthorized user and lock you out?
Neither did I.
Somewhere out in the etherworld there's a flotilla of nasty e-mails, addressed to the Administration BooHoos. I have no idea if they were ever received, much less read, by any thing resembling a human.
Now I had a dilemma. My old e-mail was defunct. My new e-mail was not recognized, or being acknowledged, by the the Uber-Geeks at Administration. How do I get them to recognize me as a Serious Customer and not just some long-haired loon with a nasty e-mail obsession?
Then I was struck with another Idea.
Remember what happened the last time I had an Idea? See the pattern here?
I will open a new account, I announced to myself. I will have a brand new direct link to the Obergruppenfueher Himself.
So, i went to the little green "New User" box and signed in as "believer" with a new password. The little green box obediently informed me that the user name "believer" was "available". Good news! Every one will still be able to recognize me.
Wait. If "believer" is "available" then the old "believer" must be, uh, "unavailable". Defunct. Deleted.
Words cannot describe how disconcerting it is to discover that a years worth of work, carefully crafted words and carefully crafted friendships, have all disappeared into the Great Cyber-Void. My entire on-line persona, vanished like King Louis' servants on that very first Bastille Day.
Well, it couldn't be helped. I started over. Dedicated to my mission, I plunged fearlessly into the cyber-wars, determined to make up for lost time. Column to column, article to article, dropping brilliantly inane comments and amusing the snot out of myself, I ran amok until I ran smack into somebody who could match me word for word.
This was serious warp in my universe. A doppelganger! My old page was still up. My old comments were still there. My old friends were still lurking, joyfully ripping me to shreds when my back was turned and gang-swarming me when it wasn't. Everything was the same except....I had no control over the old Believer. He was no longer me. He was a loose cannon with the potential to do permanent damage to the reputation I had so carefully Frankensteined into reality.
It only took me a minute.....well, maybe three...to understand my friends had no clue that I was actually Believer Reincarnate and the old Believer was in suspended animation, a poseur waiting to unleash a reign of cyber-terror. For the most part, they thought I was the same lovable lout that they had been mentally destabilizing over the past year. A few noticed little differences. One of them said, "Hey. You're not blue anymore. You're gray!". I was a little disappointed that she didn't mention how distinguished the gray made me look.
I spent four days as the Second Coming of Believer. I even found myself starting to enjoy being a cyber-virgin again.
Then on the fourth day, the inevitable happened. I was blissfully scrolling through the hash of political obscenities and the semi-sexual innuendos when I saw it.
A Green comment box. We all know what a Green comment box means. It means one of the Great Grand BooHoos himself was making a rare appearance among the infidels.
My reflexes kicked in. One click brought me to his page. Another click. Damn straight I want to "Contact Author" you chip-infested bogey box. The computer had created my doppelganger. Now I was going to use that self-same computer to commit murder. I wanted the Old Believer back, dammit, warts and all. I kinda liked the guy.
After a quick exchange of e-mails with the Holiest of Holy Techno-Geeks, I was told that my darkest wishes could come true, but only at a cost. I would have to permanently delete every byte of the New Believer. Those four days of virginity would be no more.
I didn't hesitate. Not one damn cyber-second.
I watched with malicious glee as my doppelganger began to discorporate into the Great Mystery he had sprung from. In a few minutes he was sleeping with the fishes, as my uncle used to say.
There was a down side. He took with him, into the etherworld, four days of rather brilliant commentary. On the columns of my friends, those insightful sparks of wit and insanely comedic gems collapsed into dull gray boxes, reading simply "believer---deleted"
Naturally there was consternation among certain people. One of my friends mused that all those "deleted" boxes on his column would make him appear as a true blue dictator, killing comments left and and right with arbitrary evilness.
I assured him he would be treated with respect now. He would be feared by the unwashed masses.
Rumors and questions flew like flies in a barnyard across the website. The answers to "What happened to Believer?" were as varied and as inaccurate as the minutes of a Congressional investigation hearing. There were stories involving poltergeists and CIA operatives and smuggling and kidnapping and funny blue men in space ships. There were snickering hints of illicet love affairs inside Tiki huts and unspeakable acts involving web cams, snow globes and Mason jars with bits of male anatomy floating in formaldehyde. There were dark whispers of secret closets full of things too horrible to mention, and eerie "clackety-clack" noises coming from behind closed doors.
There was even a particularly viscous rumor that I had indulged in some "dirty talk" that was so uncommonly vile that the Great Grand Uber Boohoos had kicked me off the site. Supposedly, there was a "video" making the rounds which allegedly showed me committing this heinous act.
That video guy didn't even look like me.
I slowly began the process of recovery, painstakingly searching out my friends, repeating the story of how my back-stabbing, treacherous computer had turned on me without warning and left a mute but dangerous "anti-believer" lurking around the edges of the cyber world, and how I heroically risked my already tenuous hold on reality to battle the imposter into non-existence.
So now you know. I hope I don't have to admit, publicly, ever again, that I screwed-up. I wrote this story to avoid that humiliation, and also to remind myself to never punch a button if I don't know what it does.