Oh internet age! Muse of muses, for nigh on 17 years I’ve been unable to cope without you! Always connected but somehow never connected, whenever I’m disconnected (be it for minutes, hours, days, months; matters not), I lose my mind. It’s no secret to some; these idle hands have never had issue with playing alone, but foreign stimuli are always more fun than the imagination dulled by instant gratification. And what is the internet if not a source of constant stimuli instantly (?); a clear case of receiving usurping giving, of the voices finding you whether you’re looking or not. This running contrary to the general belief that ‘tis better to give and not receive, I can only claim vociferously that I’ve tried and tried to give, but no one’s taking. My body and voice shake uncontrollably with such an admission. Somehow I don’t feel so tough anymore. I just feel rejected.
And I’m not so selfish; I feed you so you may feed me.
And I’m very selfish; feed me.
What I really want is for you to get from me what I get from you. Reciprocity.
Are you confused yet?
It’s very simple. The news. Media outlets admonish us to be safe on the internet because the boogeyman hackers are out-in-force and they want a piece of us. So we’re to use passwords like ill-fitting, joyless condoms; discretion regarding the info we share like high-profile sexual affairs. But we live in a world made smaller by interacting with screens. Television is all about receiving. The internet makes giving possible. We call it sharing. Linking. Hashtagging. Connecting. Expressive activities all, and with any expressive activity comes the want for feedback. Acknowledgment. Because I’m begrudged feedback from those I blindly trust (the public, putative) with everything near and dear, I like to imagine what it’d be like to have information furtively taken from me. Call it masochism, gleeful and gluttonous, but maybe it’s better to be violated than consenting in a world with difficulties in discerning the two.
So here are three things a potential hacker might find on my computer:
I love porn: pictures, videos, writing. Whether it’s Tumblr, Google images, Xvideos, YouPorn, Xhamster, you name it. The list goes on ad infinitum, and I love it. It goes further, however. I have an extensive collection of confidentials (my own and others) exposed to the threat. Perhaps there is a moral obligation to protect here, but there’s also an excitement akin to screwing in public places. Shameless fetishist. Given the subject matter of my writing, it’s not difficult to imagine the depravity revealed by my key-strokes. Disgustingly wild imagination. Will Self somewhere commented on Michel Houellebecq’s writing as the product of a mind encased in a sexless body. Whether or not I relate to that description—and I’m not comparing myself to the infamous contemporary French scribe by any means (maybe)—I can only insist that my possible celibacy is all self-inflicted and not a product of my off-putting personality or my bad personal hygiene.
Quite simply, I don’t have it. But I’m not my stereotypical Irish father’s son. His seething distrust of others is just that. Venomous. Persistent. Whether it be strangers or his own family, the man avoids transmission of anything personal online and when it comes to money, he’d rather wrangle with the postal service or the shaky international phone lines—though he’s wary even of those methods of communication/disbursal. In short: safety trumps ease. I love it, because I don’t care. Should I? I mean, the money is for me (and my mother and son), shouldn’t I share his distrust? I work hard for everything I don’t have; am I so nonchalant that the idea of losing nothing or something approaching something doesn’t inspire fear in me? In a word: yes. I open my online bank account anywhere access is available. So go ahead would-be hacker: do your worst. And while you’re at it, you can pay my debts because that’s all you’ll find.
3. Social Media
I’m everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Google, and on and on. Never mind hackers, before mobile phones became the pocket computers they are today, you always ran the risk of leaving your social media open to people at libraries and schools if you were absent-minded enough to neglect logging out. “I’m out of the closet and I loooooove cock!” And then you had to delete the immaturity or explain it away in the comments and no one believed you. Spam is pretty awesome too. On Facebook, spam is relegated to winning things or getting things on the cheap that are too good to be true, but in your e-mail? Shit is gold. I can’t wait for the day a friend or contact notifies me that I’ve been spammed because they’re getting e-mails from me about a miracle drug that makes your penis bigger and firmer so I can respond with the claim that it wasn’t spam.