I’d seen COPS – I knew how this worked


Is it Throwback Thursday again already? Alright, picture this scene:

It was the summer of 1993. The Braves had not yet won their third world series. Whispers of the Olympics coming to Atlanta made us almost as excited as Saved By the Bell reruns on TBS, and no one yet knew what it was to do the Macarena. It was a time of slap bracelets, hand-me-down stonewash jeans, and weird trend where shirts and jeans featured Looney Toons characters in street clothes.  I was seven years old and playing old DOS games on my sister’s old IBM 386 tower PC, tinkering around with the settings for the original Prince of Persia sidescroller when suddenly I see the error message:


An illegal operation?  Was changing the factory settings on a game somehow against the law? What had I done? I panicked. My hyper literal mind couldn’t differentiate between a computer error and a felony. Surely the computer had contacted the police who were already in route to my house. Never mind that the computer wasn’t connected to the internet. I’d seen COPS – I knew how this worked.

Clearly my only option was to hide until this all blew over. I crawled to the back of the guest room closet, hid behind some of my sister’s old prom dresses, and tucked my knees into my chest. How would the other kids at school treat me after my arrest? Would I finally be popular? My parents would probably disown me, but at least I’d have that badass street cred to set me apart from the other 3rd graders.

After what felt like hours (but was probably only about 15 minutes in reality), it occurred to me that maybe the police weren’t coming after all. Relieved that I wasn’t in trouble but also disappointed about my lost reputation as a hardened criminal, I crawled back out and kept playing video games.

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