There are times when your computer will up and decide to have a poltergeist-style fit. Maybe it’s because of that time during quarantine that you thought you were going to start making Pop-Smoke-type beats instead of staring at the ceiling and, in a rush to lay down some 808s, convinced yourself that the link you found for Logic Pro **FREE** didn’t even look that fishy. Maybe it’s just old. Who knows.

In this fit, your poor, mistreated mechanical friend might briefly hack up some intergalactic computer gibberish, do a funny little computer-man groan, and violently restart just as you were about to hit 2048 during physics. It would reboot to inform you, oh-so helpfully, that “your computer restarted because of a problem.” Interesting. Okay. You don’t say? I hope it saved my game.

If that sounds like you, what were you thinking? You don’t have it in you to make a beat with the violent intensity of “Dior.” 

There are many types of virus out there, but I always seem to get the garden variety browser hijacker. . For me, browser hijackers evoke an emotion somewhere between disgust and endearment, like when your dog shits on the carpet and then tries to play it off like nothing happened. 

With my browser hijacker, I’ll be in the weeds with some lecture, look away for a couple seconds to scribble some notes, and all of the sudden I’m reading, “Nothing improves your day like cheesy garlic bread.” After getting the recipe down, I might shake my head, give a pained smile, wave a hand as if to say “oh you,” and return to my studies, my day improved.

Sometimes I think maybe I should feel more threatened by whatever hawkish algorithm has its claws in my beloved Google Chrome. But this algorithm is less like a hawk and more like a pigeon — it really does not have the killer instinct that you’d expect of a newfangled browser-hijacker in the year of our Meliora 2021. 

Like, come on. Browser hijacker, did you really think I was going to re-purchase Spotify premium for 129 rupees? Fuck it, I can’t pull my wallet out fast enough — but where is my pop-up tab with the exchange rate? I bet that those Bollywood hits you’re baiting me with are total heaters, but your data mining capabilities are truly pigeon-like, if pigeons even know how to data mine. Evidently not.

It’s also a possibility that my browser hijacker thinks it’s 2004 or that I’m an X-er, because that would explain why it keeps giving me Yahoo! News articles about George Clooney “knowing what he wants.” George, I don’t care about you or your half-handsome face. You mean nothing to me unless you’re reprising  your role in “Spy Kids” and apparently also “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is a George Clooney movie like how “Madagascar” is a Sacha Baron Cohen movie. King Julien is the only palatable S.B.C. character. There, I said it.

There was one pop-up that got me a while back while I was preparing a week in advance for my midterm like the hopeful young scientist that I am — bam, all of the sudden I’m booking a one-way ticket to Paris. You know, browser hijacker, you might be hitting on something with this one. I could give myself to science, or maybe I ought to take my dining services refund before my parents see it, chuff a few darts, salt some snails, get back on Duolingo, write a poem, and go live out my Parisian dream. I think I would probably wait until after I got to Paris to write the poem, but the rest stands as written. Browser hijacker, are you actually a French pigeon calling out to me from beyond the sea? Am I really such a fool?

So I’ve become begrudgingly attached to this thing over the course of the year, and like any attachment borne of isolation, it has become somewhat of an unhealthy affair. Sometimes, when things get too one-sided, you have no choice but to put your foot down. So yeah, I’ll be making a trip to the Genius Bar or something. I would consider switching to Safari, but it’s really not that deep.



Ask Riley: Hello and welcome!

Everyone needs help from time to time. Yet, not everyone has someone they can turn to for guidance. What I’d like is for people to feel heard and understood. I want them to know that there are other people out there who may be just as confused as they are.

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