I've always been proud of my skill as a Hack writer. I can crank out a decent blog post, sermon or poem, pretty much on demand, usually in less than half an hour. Give me an assignment and I'll run with it. Fast. I almost never revise, except for typos. Yes, I am a Hack, and glad to be. But there's a difference between a Hack and a Hacker. There's a very special, roasty-toasty place in Hell for Hackers!
Two days ago, my primary email got hacked. I woke up to find lots of angry emails from friends and acquaintances, wanting to know why I'd been spamming them. There was even one, very angry/sad message from a member of the Shakespeare company, wanting to know why I would be so mean as to criticize her for being overweight (she'd received a link for a weight-loss product, under my email).
Once I finished apologizing to everyone on my email list and changing my password, so the hacker couldn't send any more crap under my name, the real troubles began. I realized that, 'though I was once again able to receive and send email on my computer, I was not receiving (nor able to send) email on my BlackBerry. For some folk, that wouldn't be a big deal but it is for me because I have no office, desk or internet access at my day job. The only way for me to read and answer email when not at home is via the BlackBerry. Email access is the main reason I have the damned 'Berry. I read and answer emails during commutes and on my lunch break. That way I don't miss any important interview opportunities (my search for a better job continues) nor do I come home to a huge email back-log every evening.
I tried, every which way, to get my new email password registered on the BlackBerry. I visited the BlackBerry web site. I visisted the provider's web site. I read instructions and watched videos. Everything I read or watched instructed me to click on icons that my BlackBerry does not have on its screen. Eventually, I realized why that was. My BlackBerry is EIGHT (OMG, EIGHT!) years old. Which means it's bloody well obsolete! I went to three repair shops and none of the twenty-something geeks who worked at them had ever even seen a BlackBerry that looked like mine. Of course they could offer to sell me the latest one for $375...
One sales rep told me he might be able to get me a free upgrade through the provider but, when he realized that the account was only in Iggy's name (his continuing to keep me on his account and pay the bill for a year was part of our divorce settlement) the rep said he couldn't give me a free one without Iggy's permission. Iggy (who is really a very good guy) agreed to give that permission and the rep said, "Okay. Come in tomorrow, get him on the phone, I'll talk to him and we'll do what's necessary to get you a new smart phone." I called Iggy, we agreed on a time that would work, and I showed up at the store again. When I got there, the rep from yesterday was not on duty. The one who was on duty said they could only authorize a free phone for me if the account holder came in person. I said that wouldn't be possible any time soon (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where the store is located, is a couple of hours away from upper Manhattan, where Iggy lives and even greater distance from Yonkers, where he works. I was willing to prevail on him to make a phone call on my behalf but would not have asked him to go so far out of his way.) So, I left the store with a BlackBerry that's still only good for phone calls and text messages (I make approximately one phone call per week and I text only a couple of times per year; usually only in emergencies).
Because Iggy is a pretty brilliant computer geek, I am going to bring the BlackBerry to him on Sunday after church (the earliest that I will have time to make the long schlep to my old neighborhood). He will attempt to crack the code that will make my BlackBerry work for email again. If he isn't able to, I guess we'll have to go to a Manhattan location of the Provider (together) and have him tell the rep there that he authorizes a replacement for me...
I am grateful that we have a computer at home (so I can do emails - and blogs - in the evening) and that the thing still functions as a phone (so I can, at least, use it in an emergency). I am also grateful that Iggy, who was very hurt and angry in the early stages of the dissolution of our marriage, is being so kind and helpful about this. I really can't afford my own smart phone and Provider on my current income, and his willingness to continue paying that bill for me is a very necessary life-line.
For the creep who hacked my email, though, I have no pity nor forgiveness. If I could get my hands on that slimeball I'd...well, I don't know. But it would probably be something both violent and humiliating.
Meanwhile...I need to just stop thinking about this and get through the next few days. Lady Lucia is, at this moment, en route to Penn Station, where she will be picking up her son, daughter-in-law and grandson (young "Merlin"). 'Though we'll both be very glad to see the three of them, this isn't a mere social visit (all the way from Buffalo!) Lady Lucia has arranged a belated memorial service for her mother (who, regular readers will recall, died the day before our Holy Union ceremony at the end of April). The service will be on Saturday and they leave on Sunday. I guess, tomorrow, we'll fit in some time for catching up with all of them (I like her son and DIL, who are both very smart, good people) and lavishing affection on Merlin. (I'm also very thankful that I get to be "ready-made" extra Grandma. Talk about a bonus!)
So, enough hackery pokery for now. Beware, y'all. Change passwords often and make 'em hard.
Blessings and well-wishes as ever,