Letters to home from PC Camp

Billys Letters

The following appeared in a computer magazine in Mr. Dvoraks column:

Dear Mr. Dvorak:

Ann Landers wouldnt print this. I have nowhere else to turn. I have to get the word out. Warn other parents. I must be rambling on. Let me try and explain.

Its about my son, Billy. Hes always been a good, normal ten year old boy. Well, last spring we sat down after dinner to select a summer camp for Billy. We sorted through the camp brochures. There were the usual camps with swimming, canoeing, games, singing by the campfire – you know. There were sports camps and specialty camps for weight reduction, music, military camps and camps that specialized in Tibetan knot tying.

I tried to talk him into Camp Winnepoopoo. Its where he went last year. (He made an adorable picture out of painted pinto beans and macaroni). Billy would have none of it. Billy pulled a brochure out of his pocket. It was for a COMPUTER CAMP!

We should have put our foot down right there, if only we had known. He left three weeks ago. I dont know whats happened. Hes changed. I cant explain it. See for yourself. These are some of my little Billys letters.

Dear Mom,

The kids are dorky nerds. The food stinks. The computers are the only good part. Were learning how to program. Late at night is the best time to program, so they let us stay up.

Love, Billy.

Dear Mom,

Camp is O.K. Last night we had pizza in the middle of the night. We all get to choose what we want to drink. I drink Classic Coke. By the way, can you make Szechuan food? Im getting used to it now. Gotta go, its time for the flowchart class.

Love, Billy.

P.S. This is written on a wordprocessor. Pretty swell, huh? Its spellchecked too.

Dear Mom,

Dont worry. We do regular camp stuff. We told ghost stories by the glow of the green computer screens. It was real neat. I dont have much of a tan cause we dont go outside very often. You cant see the computer screen in the sunlight anyway. That wimp camp I went to last year fed us weird food too. Lay off, Mom. Im okay, really.

Love, Billy.

Dear Mom,

Im fine. Im sleeping enough. Im eating enough. This is the best camp ever. We scared the counselor with some phony worm code. It was real funny. He got mad and yelled. Frederick says its okay. Can you send more money? I spent mine on a pocket protector and a box of blank diskettes. Ive got to chip in on the phone bill. Did you know that you can talk to people on a computer? Give my regards to Dad.

Love, Billy.

Dear Mother,

Forget the money for the telephone. Weve got a way to not pay. Sorry I havent written. Ive been learning a lot. Im real good at getting onto any computer in the country. Its really easy! I got into the universitys in less than fifteen minutes. Frederick did it in five, hes going to show me how. Frederick is my bunk partner. Hes really smart. He says that I shouldnt call myself Billy anymore. So, Im not.

Signed, William.

Dear Mother,

How nice of you to come up on Parents Day. Whyd you get so upset? I havent gained that much weight. The glasses arent real. Everybody wears them. I was trying to fit in. Believe me, the tape on them is cool. I thought that youd be proud of my program. After all, Ive made some money on it. A publisher is sending a check for $30,000. Anyway, Ive paid for the next six weeks of camp. I wont be home until late August.

Regards, William.


Stop treating me like a child. True — physically I am only ten years old. It was silly of you to try to kidnap me. Do not try again. Remember, I can make your life miserable (i.e. – the bank, credit bureau, and government computers). I am not kidding. O.K.? I wont write again and this is your only warning. The emotions of this interpersonal communication drain me.

Sincerely, William.

See what I mean? Its been two weeks since Ive heard from my little boy.

What can I do, Mr.Dvorak? I know that its probably too late to save my little Billy. But, if by printing these letters you can save JUST ONE CHILD from a life of programming, please, I beg of you to do so.

Thank you very much.

Sally Gates,

Concerned Parent

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