I’m talking computer viruses here (although the viruses that make us physically sick suck too).

I should’ve heeded Charlotte Dillon’s warning a little more carefully about the new virus threat going around. I should’ve realized that the email from my sister-in-law with the attachment would never have gone into my bulk email if it didn’t contain something horrible. But I downloaded it, and yahoo said that there was no virus threat detected and that’s when I realized what I’d done. And then I yelled, “NO!!!” to the computer, as though the virus would say, ‘well, she’s yelling no, and that’s certainly enough to stop me.’ Sadly, that did not happen and my Norton Antivirus 2002 lost its life trying to save my computer (mind you I just paid for a renewal in May and now Norton doesn’t recognize the 2002 version – can you say scam). So I called my IT guy who didn’t say the reassuring words of, “I’m sure it’s okay.” Instead, he said, “it could be bad. Don’t use the computer.”

Now, this is the part when all the writers in the room can totally relate to. My first thought was, “What about all my books/files/etc?” Total and complete panic set in and I understood why a woman in my crit group travels with a disk of her stuff in her bag whenever she leaves the house. So I immediately deleted the old Norton AntiVirus along with whatever it had captured, downloaded the new version and scanned everything. So far, I haven’t gotten that ugly red box that tells me my computer has a virus. I aslo have no idea if I did the right thing or not. All I know is DON’T OPEN ATTACHEMENTS FROM BULK EMAIL. EVER.

Steph T.