Dear 13C,

You should really clean up your desktop.

I can tell from here that your girlfriend’s pretty and you seem to have a lot of fun together—she’s smiling and you look very confident—but there’s a subliminal implication that your relationship is scattered and that your feelings for her are becoming disorganized as time goes by.

Her eyes were once beautiful, but now they’re being blocked by old installer files that have already been installed; free trials with hung juries, proliferating in littered reminders that your tangible universe has become the backdrop to a realized digital fantasy.

Right-click, then select “Auto-Arrange.”

If that doesn’t work then I recommend you start throwing away those little scraps one by one. I’m sure you never use that DVD authoring software, and if you do it’s only once every six or seven months. No need to keep it so available.

Judging by your creative suite, I figure you have important graphic work to do. But I’m worried that you might be trying to cover up your past with the hopes of a future that could crash at any minute on the operating system you’re running.

Before you know it you might wake up one morning to find that her thin, perplexing lips have been replaced by a lifeless, monochromatic error. Gone will be her tan-line, shyly peaking from the corner of her shoulder … the salty golden/sapphire sky … the stuffed crab, the breaded shrimp … the bar, the breakfast, the beach …

In a matter of moments the entire life that you’ve cataloged thus far might disappear into the electric void. Digital information, when not backed up elsewhere, is the single hardest thing in the world to retrieve. Even the souls of previous creatures are known to linger in the air long after they’ve died, but the hot, spinning soul of your hard drive simply reverts back to metal and plastic after the damage is done.

You should really back up your hard drive and update your operating system.

Backing up your hard drive is nowhere near as painful as most people expect it to be. There are dozens (if not hundreds of thousands) of tutorials available online to give you an easy, step-by-step guide to backing up your computer safely. Once you’ve done that, simply visit your manufacturer’s website to learn more about the most recent updates available for your operating system.

Your girlfriend will appreciate it.

There’s comfort in knowing that a part of you might still be available in an extended memory that’s retrievable to the public in case you fall victim to an unforeseen bus accident or go missing in the wild.

What better way to show her how much you care than by immortalizing her image for the halls of history … living on as infinite data, centuries after the vibrant, flowing ribbons of human energy vanish back into the cosmos?

We might not survive the next Great Adjustment that the earth has in store for itself, but so long as you store your backed up hard drive in a safe, dry, room-temperature environment, fragments of your life might carry through to the Unknown Era, replacing the fossils in an entirely indescribable alternative to what we call museums.

But when the entirely indescribable alternatives to what we call children walk through the equally indescribable alternatives to what we call museums, they’ll see the slanted look of satisfaction in your smile, the hope for perfection in her soft, green eyes, and wonder what life must have been like for a pair of young lovers as happy as you two, underneath all of that clutter.

Just looking out,
Craig Hildebrand (12D)