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Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Either this will all pass into history, a side trip on the time line ("Remember when we were all so worried about anthrax?"), or it will become so routine to wear gloves when opening the mail and do regular environmental sweeps of public places that we won't remember it any other way. There's a third alternative, of course, but if that happens there won't be anyone left to write the history or tell the stories, so it's not worth thinking about.

I'm pretty sure it isn't anthrax that's going to kill me. It's more likely to be one of the drivers I met while running my errands this morning, the kind that doesn't seem to realize they're sharing the road with anyone.

If it wasn't the guy in the Toyota who couldn't decide which lane he was in and therefore straddled the line, or the woman in the Toyota who stopped at the green light and then tried to make a right turn on red and barely missed colliding with a car (a Toyota, I think) making a U-turn. She didn't leave the Toyota room to complete the U-turn, but she tried to wave the other driver through anyway. Thus does traffic come to a total standstill for minutes (okay, seconds) at a time.

But wait, this was about me, wasn't it? If anthrax and bad drivers don't kill me, it could be the copy machine, which lately spends entire days with its fingers around my throat.

When the automatic document feeder doesn't work, it's frustrating enough. The big deal is that I can never figure out how to fix it. I read the manual, and I follow the instructions (which are translated into English from the original Venusian). Every one of the twenty-three indicator lights on the machine has its own three- or four-letter abbreviation, which tells me nothing.

What's the difference, for example between ADF and SADF? According to the book, ADF stands for "continuous-feed mode," while SADF stands for "single-feed mode."

I don't get it either, but if you push the wrong button you get into an endless loop where the same wrong thing keeps happening, over and over, until somehow, after about an hour of pushing the buttons in different combinations (and throwing a chair across the room, knocking over a speaker and almost breaking a window when the candle holder on top of it falls against the glass; this part is not in the manual, and therefore optional), it works again. For awhile, until it doesn't.

So there you go. My office equipment is trying to kill me, and has a much better chance of success all the white powder in Saddam Hussein's factories. And that's why I'm not letting myself worry about anthrax.


This bug on my desk was on my Diet Mountain Dew can just moments before. I drank it anyway.

One other thing that isn't going to kill me is an earthquake. The fault lines had their shot at me already, and they missed.

On the other hand, I can't even look at the date above and not feel the earth move under me. I know there have been more cataclysmic events in the last twelve years (not to mention the last five weeks), but when it comes to personal experience, I hope I never go through a more traumatic day than the one I described in last year's entry. It's not that I thought about it all day long, just whenever I had to write the date.

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