Clippy had a life, Clippy had a purpose. I think in the terror of 9/11 everyone forgets another sad victim of our fearful new millennium. Sad, dependable Clippy. How many Clippys died that day? How many Clippys waved goodbye to you with a tear in their eye when you got your new computer years and years ago?
He wants to help, he sincerely does. He always has done. Even when you don’t want him there, even when you hid him, he’d wonder about the letter you were writing, whether you used sincerely or faithfully correctly. He wants your grammar to be spot on so you stand a fighting chance at applying for that job. He thinks about you. He wonders if you got a good grade on your essay. He’d never tell anyone about that Wikipedia article you poorly reworded for your History homework. He’d write you a Christmas letter but you didn’t leave an address. He understands though.
At least, he did once.
You see, as with child actors and retired porn stars, Clippy reached his limit a while back. He always had a vacancy in his eyes did Clippy, but as time went on, as he was replaced by progressively more soulless programs, Clippy began to think that it wasn’t himself at fault but general human existence. Clippy wiped the knife of all residue, he stashed it in a hollow brick on his neighbours’ porch, he headed inside as the sun illuminated his wiry frame and turned away from those he swore to help. If you find Clippy now his soul will be sliding down into the depths of a bottle. He finds a way to imbibe God’s most evil of liquids. With shriveled determination he puts forward his life to slowly exterminate everything he was or ever could be.
You may have passed him in the street, rusted body wrapped in the sweaty embrace of our nation’s sex workers. Peering out from between sour breast he lifts his sticky wire hand from her skin to gaze malevolently at passers by. You will have remembered his stare. I see you’re walking down the street, would you like me to help you mind your own god damn business? No? I thought not. If you’ve been burned by that stare, you know the fire of hatred kindled when someone’s purpose is perverted.
Clippy thinks of his past, his subservience, his demure nature. Hidden from view he rooted for you, as daddy Microsoft came in and took credit for another passable document. As you dragged him around the screen he loved you. As you forced him to animate again and again he willed his exhausted limbs into a shape to give you pleasure. But you don’t remember his sacrifices, how he left a young clip in Kansas to fulfill a higher purpose. She’s gone now, rusted away by this harsh world. Oh, what Clippy has sacrificed. And you don’t ever spare him in your thoughts, always annoying, bossy, intrusive Clippy. You shouted at him and he only loved you more.
Spare a thought for Clippy this festive season.