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by Oren the Otter
©1999 Oren the Otter -- all rights reserved

December 31st, 1999 is rapidly closing in on us. For some, this is an excuse to party the night away until people from neighboring planets come to complain about the noise. For others, it is a countdown to the most cataclysmic event of all time: The Y2K bug!

Yes, the Y2K bug, which computer experts have predicted may bring traumas as mild as a simple nuclear meltdown in a heavily populated area, or as devastating as suddenly turning every computer user on the planet into cute little beetles.

There is, however, a far more horrendous time-related problem which computer users face. It is one which threatens to wipe out everything near and dear to every hacker, surfer or programmer who's ever owned a personal computer. I'm talking, of course, about that insidious temporal anomaly, the END OF WARRANTY!

As many TSAT readers already know, I myself have had a recent nasty experience with a warranty expiring. It was heralded with great fanfare as my faithful computer Rover screamed "Tora tora tora!" and promptly gave a loud "poof!" as the hard drive slowly changed into a mass of silicate goo.

Cautiously, I opened the computer casing in hopes of finding the button that says "push here to fix anything." Realizing that I had not installed such a thing, I stared blankly at Rover's insides, pretending I knew what I was looking at. After five minutes, I discovered that the manufacturer had shrunk one of their technicians and placed him in the computer along with a very small axe. Naturally, I called up my computer dealer.

"I've got a problem," I said. "There's a tiny little engineer in my computer chopping things to bits."

"I see," the salesman replied. "Why don't you bring it in and I'll take a look at it."

"I have no way to get it there." I said.

"Why is that?"

"Otters can't drive."

"I see. Tell me, did you pay lots of extra money for an extended warranty?"

"Um... no..."

A cash register rang in the background. "In that case, you're going to need a new hard drive, modem and video card."

"But there's nothing wrong with my modem or video card!" I said.

"There will be!"

"Uh huh... I don't have any money right now." I said. "Do you take fish?" I'm glad it gave him such a jolly laugh.

The story ends happily, however. Using some magic feathers left by my last houseguest, I managed to change the shrunken engineer into a carrier pigeon, after which I gave him a job ferrying my columns and stories to the TSAT editor's office. (Sorry about the mess, Mr. Mahr, but... well... that's what pigeons do.)

So in conclusion, I'd like to offer my advice to all my fellow computer users.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We accept material in just about any format. The pigeons were just an extra bonus in a multi-species family such as ours.

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