God sat in the command chair in the Universe Control Room, and studied the huge earth monitors along the walls. He did not like what he saw, writes Bill Conroy.
Men, women and children of every age, and of every race on earth had laptop computer devices, or handheld electronic contrivances upon which they lavished attention to the exclusion of all else. All mankind spent every living hour gazing at screens, posting embarrassing and inane personal information on social sites, and texting or talking complete rubbish on a wide variety of electronic devices.
God was much troubled by the behaviour of mankind. Every section of the human race, in every part of the planet, was obsessed by computer devices and worshipped at the altar of electronic wizardry. As God stared down he saw how wicked everyone on earth was, and how evil their thoughts were, and he was very sorry that he had ever created the human race.
He remembered the great flood he had unleashed about 7500 BC, and he found it difficult to believe that this was the 21st century in earth time. Nothing had changed. The human race was still as stupid and arrogant as it had always been. God turned and spoke to Michael the Arch-Angel, his chief of staff.
“I can’t wipe them all out again, Michael. We had enough trouble trying to repopulate the earth with Noah’s sons – they weren’t up to it really. That lot down there are worshipping false gods such as iPods, Kindles, Androids, social networking sites like twitter, and blogging. Will it never end? And now the unkindest cut of all: they’re claiming they’ve found the God factor. Is there no end to the arrogance of man?
“Michael, I must intervene, otherwise all the good we have done since the dawn of creation (DOC) will be wasted. Let us play the electronic card. Get our IT people on the job and we’ll send modern man back to the pre-computer age (PCA).
“Let’s try a modified great flood plan format updated to the modern age but aimed at the electronic messaging industry in such a way that every personal electronic device on the earth will die. Wreck the banks. Destroy the internet and computer industry.
“I’ve decided to ask Bill Gates for help because he is faultless and is the only good man of his time. I will make a covenant with him – he can be our modern version of Noah and he can help us to repopulate cyberspace, and get rid of twitter, blogs and social networking sites.
“Call the Celestial Management Team (CMT) together to come up with a workable strategic plan by 5pm today that I can put into operation overnight. Please put a call out for Mr Gates to come up here on temporary secondment so that we can work out a detailed plan of action.”
When Bill Gates arrived by Virgin Airways rocket the Lord said to him, “William, I have decided to put an end to the electronic plague that is on earth and I have a plan to achieve my purpose. I want you to assist me by revisiting the 19th century to find the engineering plans and then build a replica of Babbage’s Accounting Engine.
“The human race will have to learn to survive with no personal computer hardware except a basic accounting engine. You must unleash something like an Apocalypse computer virus so that it will totally destroy every personal laptop or handheld electronic device on the earth’s surface and then you are to repopulate cyberspace by using the Accounting Engine only.
“I stress this action is to be directed to personal electronic devices. Computers being used for the safety, survival and comfort of the human race – such as the operation of aircraft, electricity and water supply, supermarket checkouts and so on – are to continue to operate in the normal way.”
Bill Gates joined the CMT and they started work on God’s electronic closure plan. For hours the team worked planning the last fine detail required to implement the plan that would see the final act in the electronic plague. By 1700 hours (GMT) they were finished and God inspected their work.
“William, you and the team have done well and I do believe your plan will work superbly. Go and rest now and muster here again just before midnight when we will start the process.”
Just before midnight Bill Gates and the CMT joined God in the Universe Control Room and did one final check of the Celestial Electronic Destruction Plan (CEDP). Bill Gates was satisfied so everyone settled back to await ED hour.
Precisely at 2400 hours GMT God muttered “LOL” activated a switch at his right hand and a power-surge of incalculable force surged along the earth’s magnetic fields and released an Apocalypse virus that did its work.
Every personal computer and handheld electronic device, in use or in sleep mode, from the jam-packed cities of America, Europe and Asia, to the wilds of the far-flung Amazon jungle, closed down and the machine died. The electronic Armageddon had arrived; the font of all knowledge – the internet – was dead.
From all corners of the earth, in every known language, came a great wailing of voices, souls crying out in anguish, shouted screams of despair, or fury, beseeching the electronic god that so many worshipped for help in solving the problem with which they were now confronted.
IT consultants across the globe were nonplussed and worse. They could do nothing. Confusion reigned. Many of the electronic devotees saw no irony in attempting to text friends with messages beginning “OMG”. But he did not help. Silence was their only answer.
God looked down and he was pleased.
• Bill Conroy has worked for many years in local government and is now a freelance writer and poet living in retirement in Tauranga. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published in the February 2016 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.