Another incident of “computer-induced mania” struck today, an increasingly common phenomena which affects mainly inexperienced computer users. A man identified as Lester P. Turtletaub, attempting to learn how to operate a new computer and complete a complicated formatting task in one evening, suddenly lost control of his faculties. In the words of his friends and family, he just “snapped.”
The man, who hadn’t slept in close to 48 hours, had been making numerous unsuccessful attempts to navigate the many commands of his new “user-friendly” laptop computer. His roommate reports that he looked into his room several times throughout the night, only to see him sitting before the computer screen with a vacant gaze, muttering “demon machine.”
“He hadn’t blinked in such a long time,” his roommate states, “dust had collected on his eyeballs. I was very concerned about him.” He attempted to speak to him but received only an incomprehensible grunt in return, a sound he likened to that of “Frankenstein’s Monster.”
His roommate had left for work when a next-door neighbor heard what she describes as “an unearthly wail” coming from the house. “It sent chills up my spine,” she said.
Moments later, she heard the same voice in the rear yard of the property screaming, “Mock me, will you? I’ll kick the gigabytes out of you! Die, electronic Satan!” Curious, she looked over the fence and saw the man apparently attempting to “drown” the laptop computer in the swimming pool.
“He’s normally such a nice young man so I asked him what he was doing,” the neighbor reports. His response, the neighbor tearfully recounted, was, “For once in your life, mind your own damn business, you meddling old heifer!”
A short time later, his SUV was heard screeching out of the driveway. Numerous reports to 911 emergency lines were then received from various retail outlets and restaurants about a man tearing around like a maniac, knocking shoppers flying in every direction, and taking cuts in line, all the while yelling, “Out of my way! It’s my birthday, dammit!” (This unfortunate string of events also apparently took place on the man’s birthday.)
It was later discovered that Mr. Turtletaub had purchased several dozen strips of plywood at a local Home Depot, twelve family-size buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, three loaves of white bread, two tubs of Jif peanut butter, three 12-packs of Coca-Cola, and a case of David’s sunflower seeds, intending to fashion a bunker out of his residence and binge on his favorite foods.
Failing to heed his previous warning, the neighbor casually approached the deranged man as he was boarding up a window. Before she could ask him why he was doing this, he wrapped her up in duct tape, taped her onto a piece of plywood, secured it to the hitch of his Ford Pinto, and sped up and down the street at speeds of up to 75 miles per hour, all the while yelling out the window, “See what happens when you don’t mind your own (expletive) business? What was that? I can’t hear you!” The woman declined medical attention, saying, “It was actually kind of fun.” When she enthusiastically asked him to “do it again”, Mr. Turtletaub was enraged even further.
Though being pursued by angry neighbors, he was then able to barricade himself in his residence. After a standoff that lasted almost three days, the man finally emerged from the house of his own volition. Apparently, the mania which had enveloped him suddenly wore off and he came out of the building in a disheveled state, squinting in the bright sunlight, his face greasy with chicken fat and peanut butter. He was nearly shot by a rookie police officer who mistook the drumstick he was holding for a gun.
The main reason the standoff lasted so long was that the police were not sure if Turtletaub was armed. It was finally determined that he wasn’t, mainly because throughout the ordeal he did nothing but throw old sandwich curbs and chicken bones from open windows at SWAT officers who got too close to the house. At one point, he did employ a slingshot to fire at an officer what was later determined to be a Hot Tamale candy. The Tamale struck the officer in the neck, causing a slight welt.
Suspect’s weapon of choice.
As paramedics took the man away amid a media frenzy, he was heard muttering, “It’s my birthday. Why was the computer so mean to me? It made me do that bad stuff. You should arrest it!”
He was transported to the nearby Shady Pines Rest Home for psychiatric evaluation. Staff members at Shady Pines report that he is recovering. Once his fitness to stand trial is established, he will be charged with assault with a deadly weapon (said Hot Tamale candy) he fired at the police officer. The neighbor who was taken on what she now calls “the plywood ride” refused to press charges and asked us to thank Mr. Turtletaub for giving her “the most fun she’s had in ages.”
Captain Roger E. Kaputnick, who spoke with the neighbor at the hospital, reports, “Mr. Turtletaub will be charged with assault with or without the neighbor’s consent, but I do so very reluctantly. After speaking with her for only a minute or two, I felt like doing the same thing myself. She asked me a lot of very personal questions. That is one nosey, old heifer.”
By Irving P. Schmendrick, Staff Reporter.