by Brodie H. Brockie

I love you.

In those words, there is power. They are the words that have made countless individuals link their lives to others against their better judgement. They are the words that led Othello to murder and self-destruction. They are the words that were spoken to Han Solo to sustain him just before he was frozen solid by Darth Vader and handed over to Boba Fett, who, in turn, sold him to Jabba the Hutt who put him on the wall until Princess Leia thawed him out.

They are the words an anonymous mischief-maker decided to link to the virus he or she unleashed upon the world.

But why?

Was it simply to compel the receiver to the open the e-mail message that would trigger the virus? After all, they are hard words to ignore; words we are drawn to as the proverbial moth to the proverbial flame - like the not so proverbial guy with high cholesterol who can't help but eat a bunch of tasty cheese sticks. We have been hurt by these words before, but they always draw us in.

Or was it a twisted sense of humor that lead to the naming, a love of the ironic? "I love you" leads to getting a virus. It's a simple joke, and not as subtle as the Melissa virus, named after a stripper. Perhaps this was meant as a cautionary message to the kids. Careful, kids, it's scary out there.

But maybe, just maybe, our programmer meant it.

I see a man alone at his computer. He buys his books online, he pays for his groceries in the electronic checkout line, he makes his travel arrangements through a website, and the only time he ever hears from his friends is through e-mail. A cold realization creeps across him one morning: he hasn't spoken to anyone in a week. He whispers aloud just to check on his voice. It sounds strange to him.

He comes up with a plan. Part of his motivation is selfish, but in part he wants to help the world go back to where he thinks it belongs. He decides to throw a monkey wrench in the gears of progress. He tries to destroy the village in order to save it.

He tries to bring us back together by shutting down our e-mail.

But first, he tells the world, "I love you."