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monitorSome of my best friends, on occasion, have hinted the suggestion that it is highly possible that I might be paranoid. When this idea was first floated, I smiled because I had no idea what it meant. Now that I know what it means it has given me pause to consider... finding a new set of friends.

Let it be known that I am not paranoid but the facts are quite clear that there are certain forces "out there" which have it in for Yours Truly. This is not being paranoid, it is simply the facts, ma'am.

If I have any sanity left, it is no thanks to my computer. I firmly believe that one crazy man surrounded by 12 little dwarfs makes all computers in one place. Sure, they all carry names like HP, Dell, Aspire and other such, however, let me assure you, this is all a ruse and part of the conspiracy.

The crazy man has it in for me. Any sanity I might have had in those thrilling days of yesteryear has been systematically and permanently destroyed. And the crazy man, of whose name I have no idea, laughs hilariously at the sight of my diminishing sanity.

Just when I think I'm getting a handle on using my computer, something happens to that computer necessitating me purchasing a new computer. I would not mind buying a new computer occasionally except for the fact that there is a conspiratorial aspect to these computers. For one, they know too much.

When I say they know too much, I mean they know too much about me to suit my fancy. And, I would like you to know, my fancy is not easily suited.

Recently the cycle came full circle and I had to get a new computer. My old computer was just old enough and the new computer was just new enough so that they were incompatible. This crazy man I referred to sits in his cave somewhere trying to find a way to make improvements completely incompatible with old computers.

These new computers have more contraptions and figgamagigs; it would take 17 years of constant day and night study to try to figure how they work. Since my time schedule does not allow a 17-year study sabbatical, I have to try to do with what I have at hand. What I have at hand is a contrary, diabolical piece of technology that has one purpose and that is to deplete any sanity I may have.

The first thing upon getting a new computer is to set it up with the programs you have finally mastered. Computer programs that have assisted you in lightening your workflow enabling you to carry on somewhat of a productive schedule. Programs you have come to love and are almost second nature to you as you use them.

The new computer knows this. And because he knows this, he has determined that no old program will work on any new computer. Of course, there is nothing in the instruction manual that even hints at this. The new computer wants you to spend as much time as possible trying to put the old programs that you love and admire so much onto the new computer. There's just one problem. None of them fit and none of them can be loaded successfully onto the new computer.

Just so the new computer can squeeze the last drop of sanity out he was so arranged that one program will be able to be loaded onto the new computer. What a happy experience it is to have a program that you can now use on the new computer.

During this time, the computer is smiling because he knows that even though that program can be loaded onto the computer it will never work on the computer. No matter what you do, no matter how many times you load and reload the program, it will not work on the new computer no matter how many new drivers you download. All of the programs for the new computer have to be new programs.

Finally, I had gotten my new computer to the point where I could use it. Sure, I miss some of those old programs I had come to love. But after the hassle of getting this new computer up and running, I'm just glad that I'm able to use my computer. But I was not at the end of the conspiratorial agenda of that crazy man.

One day, nonchalantly I opened up my computer and turned it on. I went to get a cup of coffee and then came back to sit down and work at the computer. When I looked at my screen, what I saw scared me nearly to death. It was such a frightening thing that I've never come closer to having a heart attack. And it just stared at me.

After I stopped shaking, and my blood started flowing I discovered a little gadget on my computer called a Webcam. Looking back at me, to provide me with one last conspiratorial joke, was me.

Only one person I want looking at me. "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalms 139:23-24).

The only way to escape the conspiratorial mindset is to invite God to look into your soul.

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.

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