I love it when customer service representatives, airline agents, and recorded messengers tell me about The System. As in, “It will take two business days for The System to update,” or, “It doesn’t look as if you’re in The System,” and, “We are currently experiencing higher than normal wait times as our System has just dined upon a small pony and is enlisting additional CPUs in the digestion thereof. We thank you for your patience.”
To me, “The System” evokes images of a sophisticated suite of omniscient computing hardware—complete with gratifying beeps and blinks—that untiringly crunches along, just so I may be told that the reason my luggage has not yet arrived in Boston is that it has just landed in Austin.
In all likelihood, though, The System is nothing more than the CEO’s retired desktop, relegated to the basement, where it spends its final years beneath an accumulating layer of dust, pliers, and dried Mountain Dew.