The Lite Side

Dellmentia, Unintendonitis, and X-ema

A Glossary of New Computer-Related Medical Conditions

- 2002.02.11

You thought carpal tunnel was bad? Just look what's waiting for you in the wings:

Dellmentia: This rare condition occurs to users who think the Sleepy Eyed Slacker Guy on Dell's television advertising is a knowledgeable, expert computer technician. After purchasing the Dell, they often let their brother-in-law borrow the car with no deadline on when it must be returned. They get their dentist from 1-800-DENTIST, weep when the lady says, "I've fallen, and I can't get up," and believe that Pokémon are real.

Punditrella (PUN-dit-rella) Syndrome: A belief that everything you read about the Mac that is posted after midnight will always come true, given enough time.

Allheinz's Disease: A condition which comes from incessant game playing to the point where the only thing left in the house is ketchup. Eating too much ketchup without any other food causes acid buildup in the intestines. The side effects are . . . well, let's just say it's unpleasant and leave it at that.

Unintendonitis: A condition caused by unknowingly infecting everyone in your department by bringing a virus-laden floppy disk or CD to work - or opening an infected email using a Microsoft email client on a Windows computer. Symptoms include irritability, loss of memory, confusion, and a tendency to shred documents. Interestingly, Mac users can be carriers of this disease, but cannot catch it themselves.

Wintel Monodigm Fugue: You know the look a rabid animal has when you hit it with a shovel? Well, maybe you don't, but it's the look that an experienced Wintel user who has never used a Mac gets when you declare you don't use Windows for ethical, logistical, security, or aesthetic reasons. These are the people who ask if they make Windows for the Mac. They turn their heads very slowly, as if just realizing for the first time that driving with your headlights on actually reduces your gas mileage. Then they blink, once, twice, three times. Then they ask you to repeat what you said; and you finally have to explain how computers work to them. Several times. Severe cases require a towel to wipe the foam from their lips. The fugue is temporary; it ends when the victim starts talking about market share and what software is available from Staples or Office Depot. People who are unable to make smooth paradigm shifts are particularly vulnerable.

Compatibility Crisis: This condition occurs when the user can't make a document on a Mac open up properly on a PC. It's uncurable; doses of identical cross-platform versions of Microsoft Office alleviate the symptoms but do not cure the condition. A light therapy of MacLink Plus will occasionally clear up the condition for a few days, but a regression occurs when a document shows up that does not retain its formatting from platform to platform even if the words are readable. Victims develop an eye twitch, and may lose control of one side of their face (often mistaken for a stroke). Loss of color, lack of emphasis, and smoothing of indentations are other symptoms.

Central Digital Hyperextension Seizures (cramps of the middle finger from overuse): Occurs when users of two-button mice with overly sensitive dorsal scroll wheels keep the middle finger suspended while clicking left and right buttons repeatedly. A similar condition occurs to Mac users in an all-Wintel workplace, but is unrelated to mouse controls. Related to Secret Office Guy Syndrome, but that is more of a mental condition.

Secret Office Guy Syndrome: Suffered by individual Mac users in an office full of Mac haters, the symptoms include an unrelenting urge to tell people about your troubles while lacking the will to do something about it. Eventually leads to ulcers, eye twitching, compulsory purchases of Connectix products, and schizophrenia.

Torvaldic Shock Syndrome: Comes from reading Linux manuals late at night while debating mentally whether you should get out of bed to finish slicing that one last bit of code. With one leg out of bed, and one leg in, the most common symptom is injury due to falling out of the bed - or suddenly waking up as you fall.

Low Enderoids: The body's temperature rises in reaction to stress. Occurs when you're trying to decide whether it's more cost effective to upgrade your low-end Mac or buy a whole new machine. The only known cure it to upgrade your Mac and buy a new one at the same time.

OSchitzophrenia (oh-ess-KIT-zo-free-knee-uh): Inability to decide whether or not to stick with OS 9 or switch to X. The victim often uses one for a while, then switches back, and continues waffling until the next Software Update. Scientists at 1 Infinite Loop are working on a cure, which they think may be ready in three to five years - total withdrawal of Classic Mode, they say, is your only hope.

X-ema: Unreasoning resistance to OS X from an OS 9 user. Causes a rash which can only be cured with a brand new flat panel iMac. Oddly, everyone you know says they have X-ema. Even I have X-ema. So send me a new flat-panel iMac. You'll feel better, and so will I.

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