The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Melissa’

Sunshine Day

July 13, 2015 | by


A bank note of the Chung Hwa Republic.

Since moving to a neighborhood with a rapidly aging population, it has been my observation that old people enjoy going to the bank. While banking is, for most of us, a necessary ordeal, it’s also easy to see the appeal for someone isolated: you get time and contact and attention—all while conducting some sort of business. Plus, the air-conditioning is generally glacial.

The employees of my local branch are a patient bunch. On a recent visit, an old man in a baseball cap burst into the office where I was sitting, arranging a trip and enjoying the air-conditioning. “Where’s Melissa?” he demanded querulously. “I want to see Melissa!”

“Melissa isn’t here anymore,” said her replacement.

The old man looked bewildered and sad. Then he gathered himself up and said in my general direction, “Don’t expect any service around here!” and left. Read More »

Immune System

March 26, 2014 | by

Living in fear of 1999’s Melissa virus.


My father died when I was six, and though I didn’t, couldn’t, step into his shoes, I did inherit his role as my family’s IT guy. When I was around eight, I installed Windows 95 on our home computer with no adult assistance. This was a source of enormous pride and stress. I had dreams involving catastrophic software failures, corrupt data, red error boxes, low-res neon-green background screens. I wanted to find something arcane in Windows 95, something mystical. I looked through every file it installed on our computer.

A few years later, at my prodding, we bought an America Online subscription and lurched into the merge lane of the Information Superhighway, where my stress compounded. If I had any doubt that the Internet was a wild, dangerous place, it was dispelled by the bray and hiss of the 56k modem, which seemed to tear into my phone line—implying the abrasion and contusion necessary to connect.

After that, though, came the chipper baritone of the AOL spokesman: “Welcome!” Within the cheery confines of AOL’s walled garden—buddy lists, channels, chat rooms—I felt, as the company wanted me to, safe. I had a screen name. I had a password. Read More »