Consider yourself warned. If you’re looking for IT stuff from me in this issue, you’re going to be disappointed. Unless my (lovely, intelligent, understanding) editor deep-sixes this entire column, you won’t see a thing about IT, IT issues or IT people this time. Not a word. Nada. Nothing.

Sorry about that – after all, this is ComputerWorld Canada, and you have a right to expect something that is at least marginally related to computers.

Sorry again.

Apologies finished, and I don’t feel the least bit bad about changing the channel this week.

It’s late Thursday night, and I’m flying back from meetings in Ottawa, less than a fortnight since the horrors at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in the Pennsylvania countryside. I’m not sure how we were supposed to react, but I know I didn’t react the way that many did. Shocked silence yes, a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach yes, and lots of anger, but for me, no tears when there were so many in the eyes and on the cheeks of others.

Heartsick for those who were lost, and for those left behind. I work in Manhattan too from time to time – for far too many, this was just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And fear for the innocent people who might die in the American backlash.

The week of Sept. 11 was a terrible one all in all: a rush to get my guys out of the U.S. – two of the people who work for me were in the Washington area when all hell broke loose.

Frustration, anger, but no tears.

At least, not until the day before yesterday, the day they reported that Ernie Coombs had died of a stroke. You know, Ernie Coombs, Mr. Dressup. That brought on the tears – go figure.

I never did get into Romper Room “I look in my magic mirror and I see Brenda and Billy and Kenny…” but I was tuned into Mr. Dressup and that other giant (pardon the pun) of Canadian children’s programming, the Friendly Giant.

I was out for dinner with a friend last night and we were talking about Mr. Dressup. She told me that she’d been lying on her couch early in the morning when she first heard the news about Mr. Dressup, and that the news was immediately followed with a woman-on-the-street interview from Toronto.

“Do you remember Mr. Dressup?” was the question. “Oh yes, I remember him from when I was little girl,” she said, “Mr. Dressup and his puppets too.”

My friend practically leaped off her couch: “His puppets too?” she raged at the TV screen: “His puppets too? That’s Casey and Finnegan you’re talking about you dumb b**ch!”

That made us both laugh.

Who out there doesn’t remember Casey and Finnegan? And Jerome the Giraffe and Rusty the Rooster “and a chair for two to cuddle up in?”

Like they say in the ads, I am Canadian. No, it’s not a question of the beer I drink. It is about Mr. Dressup and the Friendly Giant (even if they were both American by birth) and being thankful that I live in a country where a substantial portion of the world doesn’t hate me ’cause of the passport I carry.

My girls are safe at home, and I’ll be safe home there soon too. I can’t tell you how much it hurts that I haven’t been able to shed a tear for the little girls in New York and Washington and a whole bunch of other places who lost their moms and dads last week.

But the tears did come when Mr. Dressup went away.

God Bless our friends in the States in this most difficult of times. And God Bless that we can still feel something about it, even if those feelings turn up at the weirdest times.