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[school-discuss] Get A Virtual Life

What's really interesting about this essay is that it is almost a decade old. . . .

> Monday, July 13, 1998 -- San Francisco Chronicle
> Get A Virtual Life
> LIKE MOST KIDS these days, Wilbur Melkin was cruising the Internet at age
> 5. He was a happy child, spending every waking hour playing games,
> scanning Web pages and visiting chat rooms.
>    His parents kept him home from school, figuring that he was getting a far
> better education electronically than he could in the classroom. Sure
> enough, he quickly mastered history, mathematics and languages, although,
> due to lack of practice, he did poorly in verbal expression.
>    But his father shrugged. "With e-mail," said Mr. Melkin, "who needs verbal
> expression?" So Wilbur grew up like any normal kid these days, and, like
> any normal kid, he fell in love. The object of his affection was Daffodil,
> whom he met in a little out-of-the way chat room frequented by asthma
> sufferers who used Serevent inhalers.
>    With so much in common, Wilbur was sure he and Daffodil were made for each
> other. The course of true love might have run smooth, had it not been for
> Hedgehog. Hedgehog had a 56K modem, 128 megabytes of RAM, a 16-gigabyte
> hard drive and a similar yen for Daffodil.
>    Not only was he a smooth DVD-ROM drive operator, but he was an
> unprincipled cad. He started a rumor that Wilbur was making 32 hits a day
> on the Wonderbra Web page.
>    Our Wilbur, however, didn't take this lying down. He anonymously e-mailed
> Hedgehog the hard-to-get software for the thrilling Annihilators II. But
> when Hedgehog gloatingly downloaded it, the secret virus inside ate every
> electron in his arsenal.
>    With Hedgehog out of the way, the triumphant Wilbur quickly won Daffodil's
> hand -- or at least her e-mailed acceptance. They were married in the chat
> room by a Zoroastrian priest residing in Qumquat who had a speedy modem
> and the loveliest ceremonial vows that the Yahoo search engine could find.
>    The young couple happily settled down, making a little home page for two
> with a white picket fence and bluebirds in the upper corners. In nine
> months, thanks to in-vitro fertilization, Daffodil produced a baby boy,
> whom they named Apple MacIntosh Melkin.
>    In keeping with American tradition, Daffodil delivered her baby on the
> Internet, and the proud father was thus able to watch the whole
> proceedings on his television screen.
>    The years passed. It was a wonderful marriage. Although they never met in
> person, they traveled extensively on the Internet. One day they would be
> strolling the Champs-Elysses and on the next they would be viewing the Taj
> Mahal.
>    Oh, they had their little marital quarrels, like the time Wilbur ordered
> huevos rancheros for each of them from a Mexican Web site, forgetting that
> Daffodil was allergic to huevos. But as they were never together, Daffodil
> couldn't know that Wilbur powdered his athlete's feet at breakfast, nor
> did Wilbur realize that Daffodil brushed her teeth five times a day.
>    After a long virtual life, Wilbur's cardiovascular system finally crashed.
> He was buried with his hands folded over his favorite modem. The
> inscription on his tomb read: "Wilbur Melkin -- Downloaded by God -- May
> He Eternally Rest in www.heavenlypeace.com."

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