December has come and with it, the holidays. Welcome to the season of happiness and joy, warmth and whimsy, time spent with loved ones and enemies alike. Throughout this month, we will be sharing stories from around the country of different people’s holiday experiences, ranging from wonderful blissful days to the hardest, coldest winter nights. Today, we are starting things off with a personal story from someone in our community, someone who experienced a profound loss last Christmas season. Rather than tell you more, I’m going to let them take things from year. We now present, The Corrupted File that Ruined Christmas.
Let me set the scene for you. The kids are all home for Christmas. Samantha and Paul with their new baby, Jessica and Robin with their three kids, and Davey and Joseph, sharing their first holidays together as a couple. Douglas is out back getting the ham ready for the feast and I’m working my ass off to pull off an incredible holiday dinner for my family. Then, despite all my worries and stress, we actually pull it off. It’s the best Christmas we have had yet as a family.
After everyone had eased back into their chairs and their second glass of wine, we cleared the table and got ready for the most important part of the night: the picture. We had to capture this wonderful event after all. With some assistant from Joseph, I set up the camera with a 10 second timer, allowing me time to run around the table and sit in Douglas’ lap for the shot. Again, everything was completely without a hitch and the evening continued with lots of love and laughter shared by all.
The trouble didn’t begin until the next morning when I went to download the photos from the camera. I hooked them up to my laptop, same I had done countless times before. I opened up the importer and went to make a cup of tea while the pictures downloaded. Not only was I excited to send them out to the fam, but my Facebook cover photo had needed an update for months. But then the worst happened. I saw those fateful words and knew I was in trouble.
“Corrupted file,” read the error message.
By far the least tech savvy person in the family, I called Robin on the phone to see what she knew about this sort of thing. She explained that this often happened when the import was interrupted or the original file somehow damaged. Hoping it was the former, I unplugged everything, plugged it back in, and tried to download the pictures again.
“Corrupted file,” read the error message, this time with a grim aura of satisfaction.
Starting to worry, I called Robin back to ask her advice now. She told me that it might be a lost cause, stating that the original files were likely compromised. “That’s too bad,” she went on. “I loved those pictures of Jessica and the kids, we were going to use them for our Christmas card. I hope you can figure it out.” I did too, but I didn’t know what options I had.
I spent hours Googling solutions to little or no avail. I called multiple people, begging them for advice, but again nothing. I stared and stared at the computer screen, the repeated error message mocking me openly now.
Finally, in a fit of rage, I smashed my hand through the monitor. I began to pick out the parts from behind the screen that looked important and eat them, slowly crunching, crunching, crunching on them until my gums bled. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself.
“Corrupted file,” I said as I stared into my reflection, a wide smile spreading across my face. “Corrupted beyond repair.”