Remeber this? Microsoft’s cringe-worthy training video for hosting your own “Windows 7 launch party”.
Reddit commenter “Commit_Suicide” decided to take the plot even further by writing a little amusing but somewhat depressing fan-fiction story. A bit of light-hearted reading for the weekend.
The flyer was key. It had to be eye-catching, but not gaudy, well-designed, but casual looking. Inviting, but professional. Frank spent about 10 hours on it. He pinned it up on the bulletin board in the lobby of his apartment complex, front and center. Impossible to miss.
He spent the first night waiting up next to his phone, browsing Microsoft’s youtube channel for party ideas. Nobody called, and he was a little disappointed, but it was to be expected. The party wasn’t for three more weeks. The following morning he went down to the lobby first thing and checked to see if anyone had taken one of the tear-away strips with his phone number on them. No one had.
Understandable. Yes. The party was a long way off. The important thing, right now, was to plan out activities. RSVPs would come, in time.
The web chatting activity seemed most promising. He could demonstrate it to his guests and then at the end of the activity, casually exchange usernames with them. That way, he could keep in touch with his neighbors after the launch party. Ten years in the same place is an awful long time without getting to know your neighbors. Maybe that would finally change.
Three days on, Frank practically lived by his bedside table. Where the phone was. He thought the photo editing activity would be fun to try — he could have his guests take some pictures and then they would all fool around with them. It would be a lot of fun. And after the party, those pictures would be his way of remembering the fun they had together.
One day about a week before the party, Frank was in the lobby checking to make sure his flyer was still up when he saw the pretty woman from unit 313. He swallowed his anxiety and asked her if she was planning on going to the launch party.
“Wha… party…?” She stammered, shaking her head.
“The party I’m throwing on the 17th. For Windows 7,” he explained.
The woman blinked. “I don’t really–” she started. Then after an awkward pause: “I’m not much of a computer person, really? Uh, maybe some other time…”
And then she was gone.
Frank stood in front of his mirror and practiced explaining the features of Windows 7. There was a lot to go over. He wrote a script and tried to memorize it, but even reading it aloud to himself, he stammered and sweated. This was going to be tough. But worth it. Tough, but worth it. “Now, t-the frap sneat– snap feature… uh… godammit, wait–“
stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid—-
The party was in five days. No one had called. He used a sharpie to add his cell phone number to the tear-away strips on the flyer, just in case someone tried him while he was away from the phone. Though he never left the apartment anyway. He decided that he wanted to do the music burning activity, and he spent 12 hours making the perfect playlist. Fun music to show he was a fun guy. But not too fun. They had to respect him.
No one was taking the tear-away strips. Why? Maybe they didn’t realize they could take them. He added a big, boldface notice to the bottom of the flyer: PLEASE TAKE ONE!!!
Please take one.
The party was in two days. The deadline he had set for RSVPs had come and gone. So he crossed out the deadline on the flyer and added in: RSVP anytime!
Maybe if there was time, he would show them how to record TV shows to the computer. That was a natural conversation starter — they could talk about the different shows they liked. Frank’s favorite show was Burn Notice. He was a lot like Michael Weston. He even looked like him. If he lost a little weight he could be a stunt double, even.
No one had taken the strips. No one had called. Maybe they had simply forgotten. It happens. He decided not to send guests away if they showed up unannounced.
Frank believed that refreshments were the most important part of any respectable party. They had to be premium quality, and presented with elegance. So he sunk a couple hundred bucks into a crystal punch bowl, and the sales clerk had talked him into buying the matching crystal goblet set, too. It was all very fancy, the perfect thing for his party. But between that and the copy of Windows 7 he bought, he was a little bit behind. If he hadn’t gone down to the lobby to check the flyer on the day of the party, he would have missed the disconnect notice that the power company taped to his front door. If his guests had seen that, it would have been so embarrassing.
Day of. He laid out platters of vegetables, crackers, and dip, filled the punch bowl with sparkling cider, and made sure both his computers were in working order. He went over his itinerary for the evening, his scripts, and he didn’t stutter very much at all anymore.
And he spent the rest of the night sitting on his couch. Excitement turning to anxious worry turning to a dead-eyed, abject despair. He wondered where his life had gone. He thought about the gun in his bedside drawer. He looked at the glinting crystal punch bowl and just, hated, everything about himself. At 11:35 PM both of his computers restarted to install automatic updates, closing all the programs he had set up for the party.
Frank stood up, threw one of the crystal goblets against the wall, and went to bed.
The next morning he slipped into the lobby when no one would see him and took down the flyer. And he just hated everything about himself. Even more. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He didn’t even like Windows 7 — he still preferred XP. Older, but dependable. Like him. He was dependable. People would know that, if they got to know him. They would.
This gives me an idea to host a Windows 8 launch party…