The word itself has been hacked. Seventy years ago, plus or minus, when I was in my prime on the basketball court I was both the hacker and the hackee. Driving in for a lay-up I got routinely clipped, smacked, slapped, slammed, shoved or axed. Hacked, as in hacksaw. In those half-court games we weren’t even awarded a foul shot; the offended player merely got to take the ball out-of-bounds. Those were less punitive times.
Being hacked today leaves no bruises but we are even more battered, thrown into a state of disequilibrium, banished to an analog world of pencil and paper. It is akin to that word, virus. Back in the day a virus usually meant a minor respiratory infection resistant to antibiotics or sulfa drugs. Now it is a disabling tragedy remedied only by a visit from our grandchildren which is, of course, a blessing.
I started posting my blogs in June 2009. I’m now up to number 875. Google tracks such things. I’m told I have followers in Romania, the Baltic States, Russia, Italy and Unknown Regions. I’m particularly curious about Unknown Regions. Isn't that where Oliver North hatched his Iran-Contra plot and where Dick Cheney lived after 9/11? I’m sure most of these Unknown readers are nothing more than hackers. Welcome, cyber-freaks, having fun, are you? If you're going to ransack my habitat why not enter through the front door rather than climbing in through the window? Does your mother know what you are doing with your life? Have you considered going back to school like your big sister?
I can’t imagine what you want with me and my data. My bank balance, such as it is, seems undisturbed. I haven’t detected any Maserati charged to my credit cards. Maybe you’ve created another me in that Unknown Region. Does this mean I'm known inter-galactaly? Any chance I can meet my generic equivalent some day? We could chat over a glass of ouzo or kvass. Since you already have my passwords and pin number you might as well fly me to your local watering hole. I might learn Unknown Region as a second language.
As for you hackers in the Baltic States I feel a certain kinship. In the board game of life one might say I’ve lived my years between Baltic and Mediterranean. My ancestors can be traced to Riga, Latvia. We may even be distant cousins. Will that grant me any privilege in the hacking community? No, I didn’t think so. Go ahead pick my pocket. Just leave me my library card and the punch cards for the frozen yogurt shop and car wash. I'm close to a freebie.
What a world we have made. Connected....but to whom? Must we all grow a firewall to keep trespassers off our grass? Not I. I already have a critic who sits on my shoulders. I give him his due and then try to shut him up. With Peggy's vast wardrobe our closet has no room for skeletons.
It strikes me that everything we say or write is revelatory. Even my jump shot gives me away. When I sit down to fill this page I do so in order to find out what I’m thinking and share it with a resonating ear. Given my diminishing recall anyone scrupulously hacking into my blogs knows more about me than I do.... if they bother to read them. Listen to me, hackers, you’re not listening. It's only fair that you reciprocate. I may need you one day, particularly when answering those pesky security questions in case I forget the name of my favorite film or first pet.