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By. Roland Dodds

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Once there was a machine….
and it loved a little girl.
And every day the girl would come and she would switch on the machine
and make it spin and chirp
the melody to her favorite songs.
She would ask it questions
and have put stickers on its case
while she laughed the way only a child can.
They would play videogames. And when she was tired,
it would soothe her to sleep with sounds from its MIDI soundcard.
And the girl loved the machine very much.
And the machine was happy.

 

But time went by.
And the girl grew older.
And the machine was often alone. Then one day the girl came to the machine and the machine said, “Come, Girl, come and press my buttons and spin with me and I will sing you a song.”
“I am too big to play those games,” said the girl.
“I want to buy clothes and have fun. I want some money.”
“I’m sorry,” said the machine, “but I have no money. I have only plastic and metal. Take my case, Girl, and sell them at school. Then you will have money and you will be happy.”

And so the girl grabbed the
machine and pulled off its case
and carried it away.
And the machine was happy.

But the girl stayed away for a long time…. and the machine was sad.
And then one day the girl came back and the machine trembled with delight
and it said, “Come, Girl, play a game. Listen to my MIDI songs.”
“I am too busy to play with you,” said the Girl. “I want internet notoriety,” she said. “I want followers and accolades. Can you give me these things?”
“No, I can not,” said the machine.
“But my RAM may be useful. It will help you upgrade to a new life. Then you will be happy.” And so the girl ripped out its RAM and carried it away to use in another device.
And the machine was happy.

But the Girl stayed away for a long time. And when she came back,
the machine was so happy but could hardly speak due to insufficient memory.
“Come……. Giiiiiiirrrrlllll…..,” it whispered, “come an000d play.”
“I am too old and sad to play,” said the girl.
“I want to wipe my internet past from the face of the earth. I have embarrassed my family.
Can you erase my digital past?”
“….Wha—aatt is digital paaaasssttt…?,” said the machine. “Play…be ha**appy.”
And so the girl grabbed the lagging device and carried it with her into town. And the machine was happy
… but did not know why.

The girl brought the device to Google.
She had strapped it to an explosive.
“Giiirrrlll…..what yooouu doinnng?,”
said the machine.

“I haaaave ….nothing…
leeeeft to giiiive you –
Plllleeeeasse….no destroyyy.”

“I have ruined my career,” said the girl.

” I haaaave ….nothing…
leeeeft to giiiive you –
Plllleeeeasse….no destroyyy.”

“I am sorry,” sighed the girl.

The girl threw the device through the window and it exploded.
She was arrested and the site was gutted.

The machines tattered parts were strewn throughout the site.
It was swept together and sorted; the machine was placed in a bag.

“We can sell these parts to Chinese manufactures for scrap,” said the excavation crew. They put the machine on a ship to sail across the sea.

The machine would live again,
And the machine was happy.

Roland Dodds is an educator, researcher and father just north of San Francisco who writes about politics, culture and education.

Lee Noble is from Los Angeles, California.