T H E   'I    L O V E   Y O U'   V I R U S:
A   P S A

BY JAMES H. TWINBEIN

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We have been asked to alert readers of the appearance of a new and insidious programming 'bug' commonly known as a 'virus.' Technical issues are not our strong point, so bear with us. Based on our best understanding of the material, readers should be aware of the following:

A virus is when an unwelcome intrusion is introduced into an otherwise stable system. Users should be aware that a virus can occur at any time, sometimes just weeks after setting up their system. Experienced users can see the early stage development of this virus, but frequently are unable to do anything to retard its progress. Users typically realize the virus has struck when presented with the subject 'I love you.'

The virus is typically contained when the target awkwardly ignores it in silence or mutters 'Oh. Thanks,' or other indistinguishable phrases of dis-affirmation. The virus often persists, making repeated attempts to infect the host with the subject. Persistence is variable based on the system configuration. If the host successfully deflects the virus, a new strain often evolves, with varying degrees of ferocity and danger, the most extreme version of which is the 'I hate you' virus. Oddly enough, this can coexist with the 'I love you' virus for a indeterminate length of time, though often both disappear during a change in seasons.

The effect of the virus, should infection be successfully thwarted, is often the destruction of the system. Users are advised to be wary of seeking out new systems for some period of time, as they frequently become the carriers, injecting the virus into the new system themselves.

It was previously believed that the virus could be combated by simply parroting the source, in hopes of creating a nullifying détente. It should be noted that this approach has limited impact, and is only effective when presented reactively. Any proactive presentation increases the likelihood of more virulent strains of the virus, typically starting with the 'Do you ever think of living with me' virus.

Some users find the virus to be an enhancement, providing a more stable operating environment and opportunities for expansion. Others do seek it out, but are misled into believing that it can be purchased via the acquisition of expensive peripherals. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusing and ill-intentioned literature on the virus. Experts cannot determine the start date of the virus and do not believe it can be entirely eradicated.

Users are asked to proceed with caution, and reminded that repressed or un-shared expectations can drastically increase the likelihood of the virus. Careful system maintenance, as always, is the best defence.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.




OTHER McSWEENEY'S STORIES
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