Zach Gets Subpoenaed.

1 03 2010

It’s all Apple’s fault.

After doing a system recovery on my PC for the 10th time within a 12-month period, I had had enough.  Enough with the consistent updates.  Enough with my computer being absolutely vulnerable to cyber-attacks.  Enough of walking into a Starbucks and not being able to engage in conversation with anyone other than the baristas, due to all customers having their nose buried in their smartphones.

I needed to burst into the latter half of the previous decade.

I needed a laptop.

I researched.  So many choices.  A netbook wouldn’t be enough.  This machine would be replacing my PC as my main computer.  I wanted it to have power, a nigh-limitless hard drive, and wireless built in so I don’t get looks from passers-by while I twirl my USB wireless adapter over my head, hoping to find a signal.

I decided that if I was going to do this, I had to make a splash.  Go big, or go home.  My friends were helpful, offering advice on what I should be looking for.  It’s a wonderful thing, having technical aficionados as friends.

I told them what I wanted: A machine that could be used to help me jumpstart my career as one of America’s foremost comedians.  A machine that would allow me to upload and edit video and sound effortlessly.  A machine that, yes, would bring me to the pinnacle of human existence.

They listened, and most agreed: My best bet would be a MacBook.

Of course!  Apple is usually the leader, tech-wise.  The innovations they have made have allowed us to condense even more productivity into our lives.  No longer do we have to idly sit at the dinner table, wondering when Uncle Steve was going to be done with his story about saving penguins.  With Apple, we could let everyone know we were wondering when the story would end!  24/7 access to the world!

I wanted it, I needed it, I craved it!

But, how much was I willing to pay for such luxury?  I certainly could not afford a refurbished MacBook, let alone a sparkling new one.  I had to be savvy.  Clever.  A Suze Orman of the computer world.

I turned to CraigsList.

So many choices!  And lo and behold, what did I find but a used MacBook, being sold for a mere $400.

My expression was aghast.  Did this person not know the brilliance they had in their hands?!  And it was to be mine, all mine, less than 50 cents on the dollar!

I consulted with a friend.  Showed him the ad.  He told me to be careful, said it was too good to be true.  I had a moment of pause.  Indeed, it was.  What were they trying to pull?  An elaborate scam, perhaps?  A ruse to get me in a dark alley, only to rob me of the 400 greenbacks I would have on my person?

“To Hell with it!” I countered in my mind.  “Fortune favors the bold!  I am a man!  I will make this choice, and let the consequences come if they shall!”

With the training montage of Rocky IV playing in my mind, I boldly emailed the seller, informing them of my interest.  After pressing Send, I leaned back in my chair and let out a long exhalation.  I was in this for the long haul.

The next day, I met up with the seller, and made the transaction.  As I slipped back into my car, I admired the sleekness of the MacBook.  It had some weight to it, some heft.  But it felt warm in my hands.  It felt…safe.  Secure.  Comfortable.

I headed to the nearest Starbucks.  Finding a seat near a power outlet, I proudly unfurled the power adapter and plugged it in.  Not only am I enjoying your tea, you corporate entity, I am now also stealing your power!

My finger traced over the touchpad, the pointer coming to rest on the icon to get onto the internet.  Taking a deep breath, I clicked.

My eyes went wide. Not because I hadn’t realized that in order to access the WiFi at Starbucks, you had to either purchase a Rewards card, or the time in of itself.

No, my eyes went wide because the page that the browser opened to was a static page for Henrico County Public Schools.

That’s…odd.

I closed out the browser, and looked at the dashboard.  To the left of the trash can, was an image of what looked to be a small, green, dinosaur-like creature.  Hovering the mouse over this image conjured up the text “HCPS Apps.”  I clicked on the faux-dinosaur, and was greeted with several applications that would be put to use in an elementary school.  Slideshows on Egypt and Saturn.  A folder labeled “Funtertainment.”  Lesson plans for grades 1-6.

The revelation hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was in possession of stolen property.

Closing the page, turning off the laptop, I made my way quickly out of the Starbucks.  Returning home in record time, I pulled the MacBook out again, turned it on, and took another long look.

Nope, nothing had changed.  Same static page, same faux-dinosaur.  Same slideshows on Egypt and Saturn.

There was only one thing to do.  I picked up my phone and got in touch with the police.  You don’t steal from kids.

As I’m talking with the officer on the other end of the line, I notice the light next to the built-in web camera (yet another innovation I was looking forward to using) began to flash on and off.  My mind went back to a story I read a few weeks ago, about how schools could remotely access the web cameras.  There is much debate over the ethics of schools having this power, with one argument being that if the technology were ever stolen, the camera could be used to catch an image of the suspect.

And that’s when another revelation hit.  This camera was taking photos of me.  On the phone.  With the cops.  I immediately said a silent blessing that I had decided to take the virtuous route and inform the authorities of my possession of the hot property.

Now, nearly a week later, and the story has come to a fairly happy ending.  The laptop was returned to its rightful owners.  The suspect who had sold me the computer in the first place had been arrested and was close to being arraigned.  I should have my money returned to me, more than likely after the case goes to court within the next couple of months.  And I’ll get to miss a day of work, once I’m subpoenaed to go and testify.  Hopefully it’ll be around the time Iron Man 2 has been released.

After all, there’s nothing like enjoying a movie on a hot summer day after being a witness in a larceny case.

-ZA

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