I’m like Christopher Walken in the Deadzone – with computers. I get eerie insights into how and when a computer’s going to die, or have a bad experience. Usually just from touching it. I’ve been having those feelings about my laptop, and once my subconcious tricks me into actually backing up important files, well, buckle up. Something’s going to go down.

As I’ve mentioned, August 11 is my birthday. I hate birthdays. So last night, the Night Before, I was starting to feel the birthday darkness descent upon my tender soul late in the evening, it was like a dusting of black, sooty soul snow. I felt like talking to someone. Too late for phone calls to friends or family on either coast, and I thought my wife was asleep. But as I paced the halls, it turned out she was in her office, the door was just closed. I figured she had the new cat in there, but when I tried to go in she shooed me out because she was wrapping presents for me. Now, if I were cynical, I’d point out that this is the kind of things about birthdays that drives me nuts – all I wanted more than anything in the world was someone to talk to, but the person I would have most liked to talk to was so wrapped up in the trappings of the holiday that she didn’t have the time for it. (Translation: she needed a couple quiet minutes to wrap presents for me. Poor, poor me.) But I’d have to be cynical to point that out, and it would make me sound unappreciative, which I’m actually not. Seriously.

So I tried again after about 15 minutes, but she’s not done. I’m feeling kind of morose, still like “poor me, someone’s wrapping presents for me and can’t talk.” Boo hoo. I give up, I figure I’ll check my email one last time and crash for the night. I pour a glass of San Pellegrino Limonata, it’s a lemon soda from the people that make that sparkling water, and I buy it when it’s on sale. Whatever. As I sit at my laptop, I set the glass on a less than ideal surface, and it tips toward the laptop. I watch in horror and try to fumble in the half-dark to stop it, but about 3/4 of a glass of sody pop, nearly a can’s worth, end up on almost every surface in my office. Not just the laptop, also my Wacom tablet, my phone, books, my desk, my floor mat, my chair, CDRs I use for work, scribbled notes on scraps of paper. All totally Limonata’d.

Somehow, it turns out that this substance just needs a brief exposure to air and it becomes tacky like fly paper. (Actually, a whole lot like fly paper, in the sense that flies love it and get stuck to it. Don’t ask.) I’m not sure how I’ll ever get it all up. But I managed to get my laptop away quickly, turned over, power off, battery out, keyboard popped off, and it’s more or less OK. The keyboard’s going to need to be replaced at some point, but I’m typing on it now, so it could have been worse. And it’s further fuel to the notion I’ve had that I ought to get a desktop to work on because if you spill Limonata on a desktop computer’s keyboard you can easily just get a different keyboard if you have to, but a laptop spill has the potential to get pretty ugly.

But it gave me an idea.

I pictured an elite SWAT team with some kind of ammo belt across their chests – diagonally – and there’d be 6 cans of this lemon beverage in there. If it was a slow night, heck, just crack one open. Nothing better to pass the time than a delicious beverage, that’s what I always say. But, if something’s “going down,” they could really use it. It would go something like this:

There’d be some bad guys – they’d probably refer to them as “hostiles” or “suspects” or something – holed up somewhere. The SWAT guys would be out front, and for some reason, they can’t use their guns. So the 3 SWAT guys in front each remove a can of Limonata from their utility belts and start shaking them up. The “hostiles,” realizing that it’s been too quiet, cautiously peek out and see the SWAT guys conspicuously shaking their cans, and then it goes all slow-motion, and one of the bad guys says “RUUUUNNNNNNN” in the slow-motion voice as he waves his compatriots back from the window. Then the Limonata cans crash through the window and create a beautiful cloud of shards – tons of shards, really, it’s the whole key to the slomo broken window shot, and then everything fades to white. Or black. I’m easy.

Flash forward, the aftermath. A bunch of guys with clipboards and walkie talkies and flashlights are perusing the “scene,” and it looks like everything has been covered with Krispy Kreme donut glaze. Stuck to the walls in various awkward positions are the bad guys; the tacky Limonata surface has them fixed in place like human flypaper. Sure, someone’s going to have a real time cleaning the place up, but it was worth it for a totally nonviolent capture.

Pretty quickly, there’d room for several SWAT-team Limonata accessories. Like they’d probably need a special human sized teflon-coated spatula to pry bad guys off the walls. (“Bring in the spatula guy! I found another one in here!”) The possibilites are limitless.

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