Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A Revelation Concerning Ombeline

A year and a half ago, my hard drive emitted its death rattle and gave out, three or so days before I was to leave the country for a year. I ran up and down the halls screaming and weeping while my father calmly performed the miracles that a computer programmer, the Holy Man of the modern era, can do. He saved all of my files and installed a new hard drive, and I got on the plane with a healthy and happy computer.

I was plagued by one problem, however, of a very Disturbing nature: a philosophical nature. Philosophy goes in the Disturbing category because it’s always forcing you to make decisions between the life of your grandmother and your adorable, helpless puppy or asking you things like, “Is there a difference in value between one life and a million lives?” These are questions I feel I am no more qualified to answer than, say, George W. Bush.

On second thought, the fact that I may actually be slightly more qualified than George W. Bush is enough to put him officially in the Disturbing category along with his entire Cabinet, Willem Dafoe, probability, the death of Douglas Adams, Mr. Rochester’s idea of moral correctness, global warming, misused punctuation, and my uninsured and jobless future.

Anyway, the replacement of my computer’s hard drive gave me cause to regret not paying attention in Philosophy 105 when we talked about whether Joe is still Joe after his brain transplant. Watching the hard drive being physically removed from my computer, I asked myself tearfully, “I am witnessing the death of my faithful, if not entirely trusty, laptop? Is my Ombeline still Ombeline?” Until this question could be answered, I resorted to calling my computer Noripsni.

Yesterday my dad, the aforementioned shaman of electronics, was updating some software on my computer and he was supposed to name it. He was about to type in NORIPSNI when I began to bemoan (again) the tragic loss of Ombeline. And he said, “The hard drive is more like the spleen. The processor would be the brain.”

As he spoke, rays of divine light shone down upon Ombeline, and all present struck Classical poses with handkercheifs and garlands, and wept.

And that settles the excrutiating philosophical question around which my life has been centered since October 2003. Ombeline survives! And hopefully will forgive me for calling her Noripsni for a third of her life. The alarming question I now wrestle with is this: will the transplant of Ombeline’s spleen affect, in anyway, her French accent?

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