Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me; your help line and your IT staff, they comfort me.
- Psalm 23:4. Internet Edition v2.0

After years of being beaten down by mysterious and ill-timed failures of technology, I am beginning to suspect that I am the victim of unexplained dark forces originating from the valley of the shadow of death. Silicon Valley, that is.

Because when it comes to interfacing with all of the technology that is now ruling my life, I have incredibly bad luck. Bad karma. Bad juju.

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Or as my kids believe, maybe I just don’t know what the hell I am doing.

Regardless, It seems to me that I get more than my fair share of frozen screens, missing data, spinning circles, unresponsive applications, critical update errors, lost connections, indecipherable messages, unintended windows, and general application mayhem.

Not to mention some bad investments in Internet startups.

I am a firm believer that when it comes to tech, Murphy’s Law rules. If anything can go wrong, it will. To which I add my own particular addendum, at the worst possible time.

I know I am not alone in this belief.

Anyone who has tried to send or print a document minutes before a deadline knows the feeling. The dog ate my paper was always a questionable excuse for not turning in an assignment. But my computer crashed or the server was down is now completely acceptable and even likely to draw a sympathetic extension.

Which I guess is why we are told to back up our phones and computers, and not our dogs.

Sometimes technology is petulant, like a spoiled child. But other times it can seem calculating and vindictive, praying on our sense of helplessness and betraying our trust.

For example, I am one of those people who always prints out a boarding pass when traveling.

Because I fear that when I enter security my phone will fail and I will be denied access and miss my flight. I don’t want to be in the uncomfortable position of trying to convince an armed TSA security guard that I lost my boarding pass somewhere in my phone.

Even though it is probably more convincing than telling him my dog ate it.

I am also one of those people who writes down directions before I drive to a place I have never been. I dread that I will mysteriously lose a GPS connection and miss the exit to New York and end up in, say, San Francisco.

OK, it was Philadelphia, not San Francisco. And I didn’t realize my phone was in airplane mode. And my sense of direction is not that great. But still, it doesn’t mean technology was not conspiring against me.

The point is, I suffer from technology paranoia. I truly believe technology is out to get me.

I know in my heart this is silly. I don’t believe in the supernatural. I don’t believe that my fate has been infected with some sort of malware mumbo jumbo.

But that doesn’t mean that the electronic things that surround me are not themselves powered by dark forces.

It doesn’t mean the devil has not struck a deal with my computer, and Satan now owns the soul of the machine that sometimes displays the Blue Screen of Death on my desktop.

It doesn’t mean that a malicious spirit has not taken control of my television, causing it to speak in tongues. Or at least randomly display Spanish subtitles.

It doesn’t mean a high priestess of touch screens is not coercing my phone to play music in a quiet theater or butt dial Australia.

I reserve my most colorful, god-invoking language for those instances when technology stops working for no apparent reason. For the imposition without apology. For the absence of explanation. For the violation of trust.

Fortunately I have discovered practical and healthy ways to deal with the helplessness I feel when technology turns on me.

Like wearing an amulet of lithium-ion and frayed charging cables around my neck or rubbing a sacrificial boneless chicken breast across the television remote or fashioning the likeness of a laptop from a pillow and sticking it with pins.

Just before I lost my Internet connection, I went online to cast a retribution spell on the Cloud, wherever that is. It seems a likely residence for evil.

You may explain the details of your request during checkout. After your order is received, you will receive an email with the date and time the spell will be cast and any other incantation instructions as necessary.

Add to cart.

When my email account starts working again, I expect I will feel a whole lot better.