The Public Eye

printed 12/13/2019

During the course of a week, I receive hundreds of emails, most of which I don’t open for fear of something very, very bad happening.

Like, say, a computer screen suddenly filled by an exceptionally bold and detailed anatomical lesson, or, to put it another way, one that refutes the old Perdue Farms chicken commercial that said, “Parts is Parts.”

I will tell you now that parts is definitely not parts in all instances. There are parts, and then there are PARTS!

What blew up on my monitor screen last week after I clicked on a seemingly innocent Google Alert email, which I subscribe to for regional news, was parts, all right, very, very big parts. Chicken wings these were not.

I’m not kidding. The last time I saw anything like that was when my sixth-grade class toured the National Institute of Health Museum: “Holy Cow! And it’s in a jar!”

I don’t know why our science teacher thought this would be field trip-appropriate for a group of pre-teens, but I can say many of them exited that exhibit swearing that the human race would just have to go extinct because they were never ever going forth to multiply.

As for the more current situation, I clicked on an alert that said, “Accident on Route 50.” Naturally, I wanted to know more about that, even though we were on deadline, because we might be able to get it in the paper.

Click.

OHHHHHH NOOOOOOO!

There, on my ultra-high-definition, panoramic, pixel-packed and perfectly color-calibrated monitor were … PARTS! Lots of them.

The rules of total panic stipulate that this is the last thing, or things, you want on your monitor at deadline, when people are prone to popping into your office for guidance.

“Yeah, well, you see that?” you say pointing to the screen. “That’s the route I’d take.”

Absolutely not.

I am telling you I inhaled every ounce of air in that room, and in the span of about five seconds had myself appearing before a judge — “I swear, your honor, it was an accident.” — contemplating the merits of just setting the computer on fire and being done with it, and finally settling on pounding the keyboard with both hands to shut it down instead of merely pushing the “off” button. Which I would have done, except I didn’t, because panic is the rapid form of stupid.

I did get it shut down in time, but now I live in fear of all email. So, if my reply to anyone’s message isn’t as timely as it should be, it’s because I’m avoiding accidents, on the screen or anywhere else, for that matter, should panic ensue.

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