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Kournikova for you, Naked Wife for me. For use: Friday, March 9, 2000 FUTURE SHOES: “The Kournikova Worm Lure” by Michael Finley Computer User Columnist

Hundreds of thousands of people had to face the embarrassment last week of downloading the AnnaKournikova virus to their computers. Made you look, made you look! But my embarrassment, which I will tell you about in a moment, is worse than theirs.

The AnnaKournikova virus, in case you have been away from this planet, is a worm that enters through Microsoft Outlook and then promptly mails itself out to everyone on your Outlook mailing list. It’s less destructive than it is humiliating.

What distinguishes it from previous viruses is its hook. You have to consent to taking a peek at the 19-year-old Russian tennis star. So you have only yourself to blame when everyone you know and work with also gets a look at her, because of you. But on to my embarrassment. I was sent the Kournikova virus. Some sad associate of mine–two actually–must have succumbed to the temptation, because I got identical messages asking if I wanted to take a look. I was even using Outlook that week, so I was vulnerable.

But instead of doing the right thing, and inviting the worm in to trash my system, I deleted the file. Not once, but twice. It wasn’t Net-smarts that led me to delete the files. I mean, I like to think I’m a little Net-smart, and wary of triggering files that look executable. I conduct macro sweeps every couple of days to detect Microsoft-friendly parasites. (Or, I avoid MS Excel, Word, and Outlook altogether and completely avoid macros like the “I Love You” virus–which, true to form, I also got but didn’t download.)

No, I’m afraid the romance that once bound me to this machine has faded. That’s what’s embarrassing. I had the opportunity for a quick peek at Anna Kournikova’s creamy Slavic thighs as she bent to retrieve a ball, and I passed.

The paradox is that my fantasy life, as I have gotten older and dumpier, has gotten more strict. If a fantasy is going to make its way to my libido, it first has to give the password to my cerebral cortex. Doing an end-run around reason doesn’t work. I would find the sudden appearance in my life of Brittany, Pamela, Jennie, or any of a scad of injected beauties a third of my age less an erotic opportunity than an ineffable mystery.

“We are not worthy,” Wayne and Garth would grovel, with that weird nod to scripture. Same here.

It isn’t my heterosexuality on the wane here–I would feel the same way about a picture of Ricky Martin if I was gay. Especially if it’s the one of him doing the hokey-pokey with President Bush at the inaugural ball.

No, something awful makes me immune to this kind of worm lure. I’m just too set in my ways. So I can scoff at the Argentine virus-writer who created Kournikova from a kit, who blamed the millions of people he infected for not resisting his sexy come-on. But deep down, I remain vulnerable, and I know exactly what message would make me open a file:

We know what you like–a middle-aged woman who’s not your wife, but a dead ringer for her. She hasn’t heard your jokes a dozen times, mapped out your stupid routines, or had to eat your cooking. She’s the woman you love, only with amnesia–she’s never had to forgive you for nothin’! Double-click, and let your fantasies flow.

That virus would own me.

Michael Finley also writes Diversions monthly for ComputerUser magazine.

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