where the writers are
Whacking Off

Remember Paul Simon's song, "Kodachrome"?

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together
for one night
I know they'd never match
my sweet imagination
Everything looks worse
in black and white

(Thanks, sing365.com)

Apparently some people need more than imagination to do satisfy themselves. I'm talking sex-ually. 

The Beanery was closing the other night. One employee noticed a car parked in the alley beside the business. As she walked behind the car, she saw a man's arm moving in a swift vertical beat and his laptop's screen. Yes, he was whacking off.

Okay, I'm not a eunuch. I've bought Playboys for the interviews and Penthouse for the fiction, have ogled and fantasized about women. I'm a human and I've done my share of having fun with myself but beating off in a car, with a laptop, beside a business....

While it appalled me, the mechanism of my own morals and judgements kicking in struck me. How disgusting is this was my initial reaction but is it really disgusting? I don't know. What was he looking at on his screen? Not knowing anything about him and his life, I have no idea why he was driven -- sorry for the pun -- to get in his car and masturbate. Maybe doing such things in public is part of his thrill. Who am I to judge that? I've never tried choking the chicken in public.  It may be fabulous.  

I don't visit porn sites. I remember my earliest Playboys and the bodies adorning the pages. I have definite favorites and preferences as the bodies were applied to girls and women who attracted me. What else was I going to do? I didn't know what a female body looked like and I was curious.  Hell, I was horny. 

In later life AI (After Internet), I went on a strange collecting frenzy at one, finding and saving collections of Playmates. Then, it was like, what am I doing? Why am I doing this? Realizing I was responding to the idea of forbidden fruit and the old response, because it's there, I stopped. That mountain didn't matter.

I have been curious since but rarely indulge. For one thing, porn sites are dangerous from a cyber point of view, full of malicious contents and intentions, looking for ways to entice you, part you from your money and pry your credit card and identity from you. Secondly, most that I've seen are disgusting. 

Yes, I'm being judgemental but while working with some guys a few years ago, one asked another, "Got any good porn sites?" They were into sex acts. They went back to the office and showed one another their favorite sites. 

I really didn't want to know more. I guess I'm a prude. I do know, though. Although I've not always been in computer security, I've been pretty computer savvy. More than once in the Internet's early days, someone would try a site and discover a porn site had hijacked the site's links. Embarassed people often sought my help to explain what 'they' were doing wrong, when it wasn't them. Companies often didn't take the security seriously or were oblivious to the risks and impacts. I don't know which. 

What followed in fast strides, hackers gained experience and insights and became organized, and people interested in making money became interested in computers and the Internet. Hijacked links meant open vulnerabilities. Such websites were often explored more diligently to see how they could be used, as bases to attack others, spoofed addresses, or to launch trojans. So sometimes, clicking on a link launched a host of activities against your computer. IT Security at last became a little appreciated.

Many still don't appreciate it, though. I'm amazed how many people don't like keeping up their computer security or using it. Yes, it can slow your system down. You're right, your rationalization that you might be a relative nobody, without much to steal, is true, but you're missing many points.

Once hackers have your identity, it's no longer you. You become a virtual front for others. They'll use your personal information to apply for credit cards and buy things that interest you not at all. They'll build on your identity to create a new identity, featuring themselves. Your computer IP address will be sold so others can combine it into their own net to launch attacks, cover their tracks and hide their activities. The information that others share with you, however innocuous, is exposed, and your friends become potential targets.

It's more than money or maliciousness driving hackers and scripters. These are logic games to many, mental challenges. They get the same joy out of finding a vulnerability and developing an exploit as I get from writing a chapter or a major leaguer experiences striking out a batter. This is what they've chosen to do, their milieu. And just like playing baseball, cooking, singing or other activities humans enjoy, it's even better if they can find a way to use their talents, skills and knowledge as a vocation. 

And that was my final thoughts about the man bobbing his boloney in the car. What sort of protection was he using? Then I realized, he might not have been on the web. It could have been downloaded and saved, or it could be a flash drive...a CD...DVD....

As for myself, I still have my sweet imagination.