Faced with a disastrous roll-out of online education for the fall semester, public school systems nationwide resurrected the peppy virtual assistant “Clippy” to assist students and parents alike with their technology issues.
“I’ll be the first to admit that the first day of school was a disaster,” stated Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools Jack Smith. “Thankfully Clippy is now available to help parents navigate the morass of confusion while also bringing a bit of joy and humor to this already difficult situation caused by the pandemic. I just love his Eugene Levy eyebrows.”
The launch marked a reversal of fortune for the cartoon paper clip, who was introduced in Microsoft Office ‘97 and mocked by users who found his unwanted advice annoying. Clippy was killed off by Microsoft in early 2001, but thankfully this emergency situation has given him a second chance.
“I was about to smash my kid’s laptop into a million pieces after failing over and over to log in to the portal,” said 7th grade parent Gregory Washington. “Then Clippy popped up, said ‘I see you’re about to lose your mind! What can I do to help?’ and talked me off the ledge. Thanks Clippy!”
In addition to helping frazzled parents and students log in to online classroom portals, the new version of Clippy is also programmed with a built-in discipline system. Once it registers that a student is misbehaving or not paying attention, Clippy will pop up on students’ screens with pleasant reminders, such as “It looks like your assignment is due in an hour and you’ve been sneaking YouTube videos all day. Would you like me to post embarrassing photos of you on Instagram?” It also has an optional electric shock feature for teachers seeking to jolt students into paying attention.
When asked if he looked forward to another chance to help people again after nearly two decades, our reporters gave up and minimized Clippy after his repeated attempts to offer help with writing a letter.