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The night the world was ending — or so I thought!

Carla Bechman's computer
SCENE OF THE MYSTERY: How did this screen light up with a 12-hour-old broadcast of a livestock show and the printer spit out paper — all at a key moment in history? To this day, there is no explanation.
Front Porch: No explanation for technology taking on a life of its own.

Sometimes technology takes on a life of its own. The consequences can be rather ironic, bizarre and/or frightening. You better sit down for this tale.

It was election night. Actually, it was very early the next morning after the presidential election. My wife, Carla, gave up watching first. I succumbed just after midnight. From the last report I remembered, the race for president could go either way.

It’s not unusual for me to wake up at least once during the night. Anyone over 60 understands. Anyone under 60 may not. You will soon enough.

I woke up sometime after 3 a.m., crawled out of bed and lumbered toward the hallway. It was in the hallway when everything began to get, well, weird!

End of the world?
First, I sensed bright light coming from somewhere in the distance, seeping into the hallway. The fire alarm wasn’t beeping, and I didn’t smell smoke.

Next, I heard this humming sound. With every step I took toward the dining room, it got louder. What the heck? Were we being invaded by Martians? Remember, it was 3 a.m.

Then I heard human voices. Now fear crept in — we were being robbed! There must be robbers in the family room, shining a weird light. It still didn’t explain the buzz.

Why I didn’t turn back, I still don’t know. Instead, I reached the end of the hallway and peeked around the corner, looking through the dining room into the adjoining family room. Now I was sure I heard voices. The hum was annoying and the light was greenish.

All doors and windows were intact. I edged toward the family room. Soon it was clear there was no one there.

What wasn’t clear was what in or out of this world was going on!

I finally realized the noises, both voices and the hum, were coming from my wife’s computer, located in the family room. That’s where the weird light was coming from, too.

About that time I noticed several papers strewn across the floor. Maybe we had been robbed after all.

No, I finally realized that the computer was broadcasting a livestock show from the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky. But why was it on now? It wasn’t on when I went to bed.

Mystery unsolved
I always say these stories are 98% true, and what I’m telling you now is 100% true. Suddenly this thought went through my mind: Either Donald Trump pulled off the upset, the world was ending and technology was going crazy, or Hillary Clinton had won, the world was ending and technology was going crazy. Either way, the end was surely near!

Wow! I sat down, shut off the silly computer and finally went back to bed.

The next morning I related the tale to Carla. She looked puzzled and finally told me she had watched dairy judging from Louisville the afternoon before. But she was sure she had shut everything down.

And the papers on the floor?

Her face lit up. She had tried to print something a week ago, and it didn’t print. She had tried to print something that evening, and it also didn’t print. The printer must have awakened and spewed papers onto the floor.

What triggered this weird chain of events? And why at the very hour that the result of the presidential election was announced?

Carla and I have no clue. But that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it — because it happened just that way!


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