by Lance Whitney
Using a computer can be hazardous to your health. At least, that's the
way it seems. We're constantly hearing about all the physical problems
that affect people who use computers, everything from back strain to bad
eyesight. What we DON'T hear much about are the psychological problems
that can strike us computer folks. Computer users are susceptible to a
variety of psychological disorders, and it's about time these were taken
as seriously as carpal-tunnel syndrome. Here are some of the most
common psychological conditions that affect computer users, listed by
the names they MIGHT be given by the medical community.
1 PC ENVY. What you feel when all your friends' computers are
faster than yours.
2 BBS BILL BLUES. The depression caused by your first phone
bill after you've used an expensive, new BBS all month.
3 VIRAL HYPOCHONDRIA. The phobia that every little glitch or
error you notice on your computer is the result of a virus.
4 HARD DRIVE HOSTILITY. The anger you feel when you bring home
a powerful and exciting new software program, then discover it
takes up half your hard drive.
5 DELUSIONS OF GATENESS. The conviction that if you spend
enough time in front of your computer, you'll someday be a
rich computer entrepreneur like Bill Gates.
6 PC PRICE FRIGHT. The scare you receive when you notice that
the computer you bought three months ago is now half the price
you paid for it.
7 COMPUTER CLAUSTROPHOBIA. What you feel when you're forced to
set up your computer system in a tiny attic or closet because
there's no room for it anywhere else in your home.
8 FONTAL FIXATION. The compulsion to laser print every document
(even your shopping list) with fancy, elaborate fonts.
9 ERROR-MESSAGE AMBIVALENCE. The feeling you get when you see
a strange error message but don't know what to do about it
because you can't understand the message.
10 TYPEWRITER TRANSFERENCE. What you feel when computer problems
have you wondering if you weren't better off back when you
used a typewriter.
11 SOFTWARE-SETUP SYNDROME. Caused by spending so much time
setting up a software program and fiddling with its options
that you never use the program to do any actual work.
12 BACKUP CRACK-UP. The total breakdown you suffer when you lose
all the data on your hard drive, and the only backup files you
can find are six months old.
13 GAMER'S GUILT. Remorse felt after you've spent the entire
afternoon playing Sim City instead of getting your work done.
14 DOT-MATRIX DOLDRUMS. Sadness felt when you tear off your dot-
matrix printouts, and they rip in the middle of the page
rather than at the perforation.
15 PC PERFORMANCE ANXIETY. The fear that your old XT computer
won't be fast enough to run all that great, new state-of-the-art
software you just bought.
16 DOCUMENTATION FRUSTRATION. What you feel when the software
documentation you've turned to, to solve a problem simply
confuses you even more.
17 PREMATURE DELETION. These sufferers keep deleting files that
they always end up needing later on.
18 ACRONYMPHOBIA. The fear of not understanding all the
different acronyms used in the computer industry.
19 SOLITARINESS. The inability to get past the solitaire game
whenever you try to work in Windows.
20 ODD-APPLE COMPLEX. Caused by a continued preference for
MACintoshes, while all your friends and colleagues work on IBM-
21 DOS SHELL SHOCK. The euphoria felt when you first use a DOS
shell and realize you no longer have to work at that
cold, unfriendly DOS prompt.
22 COMPRESSION DEPRESSION. Sadness experienced when you've
compressed all the data on your hard drive, and you STILL
don't have enough room for all your software programs.
23 RAMania. The obsessive struggle to find enough memory to run
all your memory-hungry software programs.
24 TECHNICAL TROUBLE TRANSFERENCE. Frustration experienced when
you seek support help for a problem-and the hardware company
blames your software, while the software company blames your
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