Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)

Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)
"A curious and wonderful work of great human value by a Danish master." Sebastian Barry, Man Booker finalist (Click on the picture to go to the book's Amazon page)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How My Life Was Ruined After I Lost My USB Drive

The other day something happened to me that shook me to the core - something much worse than death or dandruff: I lost my thumb drive.

When I looked it wasn't in my pocket where I usually keep it. Like a madman, I went through my pants and my jacket. Oh my God, where was it? It would be a disaster if...

I emptied my backpack on a park bench. I even checked my anus to see if anyone had put it up there when I wasn't looking, but that didn't seem to be the case.

Yes, I totally went into panic. My soon-to-be-finished novel was on it. What if someone published it in Mongolia without giving me royalties? There were sensitive documents, too. And hundreds of pictures; some of them of a very private nature.

I did the only reasonable thing a grown up man could do. I started to cry. Had the USB flash drive fallen out of my pocket when I rode my bike? Or did I forget it at the computer lab at school?

Luckily, the lab is only used by staff and graduate students. Undergraduates aren't allowed, unless they look like cheerleaders. "But graduates can be thieves, too," I thought. "Especially law students."

I ran towards the university like a man possessed, knocking over senior citizens and beggars with empty bladders. Sweat was running down my cheeks. On the way, I prayed to all the gods in the universe, including several witch doctors in Togo. I promised them that I would be a model citizen if I got my thumb drive back - I would show compassion towards everybody, even the morons in the Tea Party.

When I arrived at the lab, I headed for the desk with an aura of entitlement. "Hi, I'm an important professor in The European Department," I said to the lab attendant, "did I forget my USB stick here this morning?"

The lab attendant looked like an unemployed tight end. He was tall with huge tattoos of his mother on his biceps. He calmly looked me over.

"Are you the dude who's writing on a novel?" he asked.

"Yes," I almost screamed. "That's me. Thank God, you really found it?"

"Sure. I didn't mean to pry but that's a cool USB drive you got there."

"Yes, it is," I said with a little less enthusiasm.

"I really liked your pictures, man."

I started to sweat, "Thanks, but..."

"I had no idea you Europeans weren't circumcised."

I blushed, "Listen, I really appreciate that you're helping me out ..."

"As I said, I didn't mean to pry, but I had to find out who owned the drive, right? That's my job."

"Of course," I smiled wearily, begging that he would hand it to me quickly, so I could get the Hell out, but the attendant took his time going through a box.

"Isn't it there?" I asked nervously.

"It should be." The attendant looked up and shouted. "Hey Connie, what happened to that USB drive we all checked out this morning?"

I felt a cold hand on my chest.

The woman named Connie looked up, "Oh, I think some of the girls in Human Resources wanted to look at it."

"Listen," I blushed, "my USB drive is a very private ..."

The same moment, the director from Human Resources walked in. When he saw me, he lit up, "Oh, there you are, professor. I had a hard time recognizing you with your clothes on."

A graduate student looked up from her computer, "It was totally awesome what you did with that blender. You don't mind we posted it on, do you?"

I breathed heavily, "Listen, this is outrageous. I'm a visiting professor from Norway with an excellent reputation in my field..."

"Well, I wouldn't be so sure about that" the lab monitor beamed. "You're on Headline News this afternoon."

"And Extreme Makeover," the woman named Connie said.

I fainted in the middle of the lab, going down in a sea of dandruff. When I woke up a few hours later, I was lying in my bed. Next to me, my wife of ten years was sleeping. I drew a huge sigh of relief. Thank God, I'd only been dreaming.

I made myself a strong cup of coffee while I laughed out loud at my nightmare. Then I sat down on my sofa and turned on CNN. The first thing I saw was my saggy balls on Larry King.

Copyright: Peter H. Fogtdal, "Danish Accent"