Felix+Clippy ‒ A Love Story

author: Gene Biondo

October 1, 2002

It was inevitable they would one day encounter each other...
That was the day. It’s been many months now, and at last I can bring myself to convey in words the incident that will forever haunt me.

Felix is happy for now.Two creatures made their respective homes on my desktop. It was inevitable they would one day encounter each other, but would they become enemies? Would they learn to co-exist or even be friends working together at the common goal of providing maximum distraction and annoyance while I work? I couldn’t have predicted, nor hardly could I have prevented that fateful moment when it did come to pass.

Many long, languorous Summer microseconds passed before it finally transpired. After spending a small eternity closing toolbars & crap and pondering the sly deviousness of MicroSoft at managing to make a simple dropcap take 27 steps, I happened to glance up from MicroSoft Word 97 (don’t ask why my company hasn’t upgraded in so many years). Will Clippy live on?With a gasp, I saw that which I must have expected so many seconds ago when I’d first launched Felix. No, not the above run-on sentence; I speak of the instinctual slow sauntering attack of a feline. The teasing approach that could easily turn from curiosity to vicious hunger with no warning.

I feared for Clippy.
Sure, I’d hated his smug galvanized ass ever since he’d first deigned to interrupt my work so, so long ago. It appears that you’re writing a run-on sentence; may I be of some assistance? Get bent. Still, despite his odious character, he was after-all a questionably living questionable being. I felt a non-humanitarian obligation to step in, to arbitrate, to lend my guidance and a literal hand to those lifeforms, themselves devoid of thumbs. I leapt to take control of the optical MicroSoft IntelliMouse which rested on my mousepad, but alas, I found that at this crucial moment, its sensor chose to become confused by the requisite and enigmatic bits of paper, eraser, styrene packing foam, chocolate, Doritos, peanut shell, cheese shavings and dried hair gel that mysteriously collect on everyone’s desk including yours and mine. Don’t they? Anyway, the point is that the mouse pointer refused to move and then finally overshot its mark as my hand slipped off the mousepad. I was too late.

You know, I’ve long wondered where MS gets off creating hardware products like their mice and keyboards, when their very name is clearly derived from the root part of the word “Software.” I think it’s no coincidence that both that rebel mouse and my protagonist Clippy himself came from the labs of the same evil geniuses. Hey, there’s a suspicious amount of chocolate on the keys of my keyboard as well...! What are they up to?

Oh yeah, that cat met the paperclip. Let’s see, where was I?
I observed helplessly as Felix’s eyes narrowed, which is hard to do when they’re already only a single pixel as it is. My heart raced as I realized I would be unable to stop the born hunter from having (1)his or her way with the animated office supply. My pinky ached as I realized my hand (and mouse) had smashed into my Roget’s-brand thesaurus, which lay in its usual place to the side of the mouse. Still in its original shrinkwrap, its main use to me is for applying its weight to pulverize peanut shells en masse; a clever use, if you ask me, for a book that is so – what’s the word? – useless? Plus I can collect a whole mouthful of those tasty filberts at once. Jeez, will you quit interrupting?

I’ve never actually looked under Felix’s animated tail.

They collided with the slow force of something slow and forceful. What does a thesaurus do, anyway? My heart and pinky were still doing their respective things. The cat mewed — or was it a growl? Fur was raised, ears were pointed, tail was in back as usual — perhaps the last to become aware of the impending life-changing moment. Clippy’s eyebrows appeared to actually float beyond the boundaries of his wiry form. I mean more than usual. Damn your eyes!It was as though they could escape and be spared any carnage from the oncoming fangs which glistened from between Felix’s already open jowls. Those spherical eyes would make perfect cat toys once they began to roll. Oh Clippy, run!

But he didn’t run. Indeed, I’ve never once known him to run, turn his back or do much of anything beyond his usual unbending, bouncing and winking. Damn his arrogance. What use would that attitude be against a deadly set of claws swiping down with utter menace? “None,” I thought. “None.” Clippy was going to die. I ate a peanut.

I checked the time. Deep sigh. It was 10:23am. Why can’t a computer give you a massage? I don’t see a MicroSoft peripheral for that. Perhaps it’s among the alien-acquired technology that the government refuses to release in my lifetime. Why can’t they trust the populace? We can reshape our economy to accommodate any such advancements. I decided to go downstairs for a juice.

Oh yeah, Clippy didn’t die. I guess that wink somehow worked in his favor. After a prolonged sniff from the cat, which seemed rather futile to me (I find that Clippy has even less Aroma than personality,) Felix shot forward, not to attack, but to rub in that way that every cat-with-no-collar must do at times — fervently and desperately, head-first. Clippy leaned in and smirked — his expression showing he was even more full of himself than usual.

I was disgusted. They were shameless. The World staid Its course and Life played Its daily game of bitter irony, topped with chocolate. I knew I would feel a psychotic need to thorougly scrub my hands both before and after my juice today. Let’s get started. As I rose from my chair, I saw that they carried on and on. Yada yada yada. Ad nauseum. Did you know that Clippy’s tongue is purple?! I could stand no more. But before I escaped to my juicebreak, I managed to tap the hotkey for a screenshot. I knew you wouldn’t believe the oddity I experienced, but more importantly I knew my boss wouldn’t believe my sickening reason for needing to extend my juicebreak to three hours today. This is the closest thing I can provide to proof. Brace yourselves:

Felix+Clippy - A Love Story

The evolution of their Love is beyond me. Why a paperclip? I don’t know. What forces control the workings of the non-human heart? Perhaps MicroSoft. I couldn’t bear to break them up, nor could I stand to see their private antics in the corner of my screen. I have vanquished them to an old PC in my kitchen – a room where I never go. The computer that is their new abode has very little RAM and runs quite slowly. Still, I can often hear their nocturnal clicking and scratching throughout my home. I deem it a sign that they are determined to carry on with their chosen lifestyle, that they continue to be happy together, and that they even enjoy the slow pace of their low-resource environment; nary a worry of societal mores, the World outside their screen, or the idea of being upgraded. Gosh darn, they’re happy. If they try to breed I’ll wipe the disk clean and install Linux.


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