Were you a comic book fan? More specifically, a Superman comic book fan? Then you probably remember his arch enemy from the 5th dimension, Mister Mxyztplk. Mxyztplk (pronounced mĭks·yĕz′·pĭt·l·ĭk according to Wikipedia) is an imp from the 5th dimension whose passion was tormenting Superman and the city of Metropolis with fiendish pranks, like giving the Mayor the voice of a donkey or pretending to jump from a building, then ridiculing Superman when he”rescues” him. You see, Mister Mxyzptlk is a jester in his home dimension, so he appears to be magical in ours. The only way for Superman to get him back to the 5th dimension is to trick him into saying his name backwards. Kltpzyxm – “kel-tip-zix-um.” He’d then have to stay there for 90 days.
I think the imp has been following me. If you come around here frequently, you already know about my otherworldly computer problems, unable to boot for no obvious reason. After four hours of troubleshooting, the reason turned out to be a corrupted BIOS … but there was no obvious reason for the corruption … except you-know-who. After eight hours rebuilding the system, I was still finding missing utilities for which the installers were mysteriously missing. My baby was functional but just not herself. Then, Tuesday night, as I was leaving for my Tuesday Night Men’s Group (mp3 player case in hand), my son asked me to show him how to do something on Facebook. I was running late but helped him anyway. Driving along the freeway section of Imperial Highway, something black flew off my hood … something that looked suspiciously like my mp3 case as it floated by. I took the first available exit and drove by again. There is was, resting on the dashed white line, undamaged by the streaming traffic. I pulled to the side of the road, turned on my emergency flashers and crossed carefully to the center divider. When I reached the place where my mp3 player was resting, the traffic was heavy but all I had to do was wait for a break. You guessed it … Mister Mxyztplk … the last car hit it squarely, smashing the case and player. Wednesday, I did my weekly stint helping out at a local 12-Step office, where I am, among other things, the unofficial IT guy. As I was working on the computer, it froze, then refused to boot. Shit. I got it running, albeit slowly.
On the way home, I figured it out: Mister Mxyztplk. I figured if it worked for Superman, it would work for me:
Older Eyes: Hey, Mister Mxyztplk, I remember how to get rid of you.
Mister Mxyztplk: I’m not going to say it.
Older Eyes: Oh, I know you’re too smart for me. But if I were going to say it, how would I pronounce it?
Mister Mxyztplk: kel-tip-zix-um
When I got home, my computer was completely restored. No? You don’t believe me? Actually, I discovered I had, in the distant past, scheduled an automatic disc image backup for Sunday nights. A disc image is an exact copy of the entire disc, including all programs, utilities and data. Discovering a recent disc image is almost as good as getting Mister Mxyztplk to say his name backwards. But it doesn’t make as good a post.
I’m back online and happy as a clam**. And the imp is back in the 5th dimension for 90 days.
** According to The Phrase Finder, the original from of this saying was Happy as a clam at high tide, since it is at high tide that clams are safe from predators, surely the happiest of times in the bivalve mollusc world.