“Grandma’s feeling poorly today,” said Mama. “I expect it’s just a little bug, but I’ve fixed a nice basket of goodies for you to take down to her.”
Little Miss Macintosh pulled on her clock and put the basket, filled to overflowing with apples and other good things, over her arm. “Okay Mama,” she said, tying up her hood. “I’ll be back by dark.”
“Not so fast, Dear,” said Mama, tucking a few RAM chips into the corner of the basket. “The woods are very dangerous lately. So don’t forget the rules. Stay on the path. Don’t speak to strangers. And, whatever you do, accept no cookies.
“Yes Mama,” said Little Miss Mac, and off she ran down the path to Grandma’s house. Soon she came to a field of software, blooming with games and other good things. She was sorely tempted to stop and play awhile, but she remembered the rules and kept her eyes on the path.
Now Wiley Willy Wolf was waiting for just such a chance. At the bend by the river he stepped out, ever so casually, blocking the way. “And where are you going in such a hurry, my lovely young miss?” smiled Wiley Willy.
Torn between following the rules and getting to Grandma as quickly as possible, Little Miss Mac simply smiled and said, “Excuse me, but my grandmother’s feeling poorly and I must hurry.”
“Then I mustn’t delay you,” he said. “But surely you have a moment to pick a few roadside flowers to brighten the basket.” And with that he swept out his arm toward the flowers beyond and bowed low to let Little Miss Macintosh pass.
Little Miss Mac did not want to appear rude. “Thank you, sir,” she said edging past the wolf. As she bent down to gather a quick handful of blossoms, she did not notice when Willy, finishing with a flourish, slipped an extra cookie inside her basket.
No sooner had she disappeared around the bend than Willy checked her out on a nearby Web. “Ah, this is better than name, rank and serial number,” he chuckled, noting where she had been and where she was going. For his cookies were chock-full of the latest chips. And off he loped through the woods to Grandma’s house.
“Grandma, it’s me,” called Little Miss Mac, tapping softly at the door. “Just lift the latch and come on in,” replied a feeble voice. “I can’t seem to get myself started this morning.”
Alarmed, Little Miss Mac hurried in and stopped short. “Oh Grandma, what strange eyes you have today!” Grandma poked her nose out of the covers.
“Yes, Dear. My monitor’s on the blink. Come a little closer please. You are badly out of focus.” Little Miss Mac stepped slowly toward the bed and stopped again.
“Grandma! What strange ears you have today!” Grandma mumbled something about problems with her sound card. “But Grandma Mac,” exclaimed the child, “you don’t have a sound card!”
Thoroughly alarmed now, Little Miss Mac reached out to feel Grandma’s forehead. Just then Grandma grinned. A big grin full of glittering bits and bytes. “Oh Grandma! What strange teeth you have today!”
At this the wolf leaped out of bed shouting, “All the better to convert you with, my dear! Pentium II forever!” And the race was on.
“Grandma! Grandma!” cried Little Miss Mac, navigating wildly about the room. “Help!” But Grandma was hiding in the Cookie Jar and would not come out.
“Woodcutter! Woodcutter!” cried Little Miss Mac. “Save me!” Woodcutter lived just down the lane and could always be counted on in times of trouble.
But, when Woodcutter burst through the door, it was only to shake Wolf’s paw and pass him a receipt. He had traded in his woodcutter’s coat for a shiny new sweatshirt that read, on the front bezel, ‘INTEL U’ www.intel.edu
, and on the back, ‘I’ve Been Bought $’.
Still, all was not lost. Little Miss Mac dashed to the phone and dialed the sacred number, the number that promised lifelong support as long as we all shall live. “Operator! Quick!” She gasped. “I need 1-800-SOS-APPL and I need it now!”
But she was too late. Lifetime support had been axed. She was on her own. Little Miss Mac in a Microsoft world.
Will Little Miss Macintosh, deceived by wolves, sold out by education and abandoned by Apple, survive? Or will our story have a sadder end? Will we find a ‘Little Miss Microsoft,’ exploring our woods with a dim candle, while the bright lights of genious, creativity and user-friendliness slowly flicker out, one by one?
Steve. The Forest grows dark and the Wolf is at the door. It’s up to you.
Susan Howerter (firstname.lastname@example.org)