INTRO: The PB of this blog’s companion video will enhance our reading experience. So will our allowing virtual narrator Gabby Raconteur’s dramatization to play out in the theater of the mind. Let’s all now give a “listen” to the western frontier tale…
The Life and Times of a Posting Prospector
As our story unfolds, the sun rises over Dark Canyon. In days of yore, it had been a Wild West, bustling boomtown. These days? Well… DC… no… not THAT DC… has nearly become a rundown ghost town. This faltering community… nestled within Dystopia, USA… is as windswept as the Great Basin desert which surrounds it. It is here that the town-folk harbor a heartbroken spirit as desiccated as the post January ’17, dried up American Dream.
About one dozen miles west of this far-flung locale, we find the crusty, cantankerous curmudgeon, Mr. Merlin Luther, awakening from a fitful sleep… facing down yet another day of metal detector prospecting for silver and gold.
“Life” within this hemmed in by mountains, forgotten by time, ofttimes, telecommunications / internet dead zone is fraught with both online and real world woes. It is that fact which… in the hearts and minds of the locals… has made Merl, a man with a knack for storytelling, a much admired and sought after source of amusement. Words do come easily to him, however, the thoughts they oft convey are not always popular… well… that is… outside of Dark Canyon. Although he is a true blue patriot, he suspects his free-thinking posts have unjustifiably pegged him as disloyal… branded him a reviled, blue-hued pariah… well… at least in the small mind of a particular, peculiar, deplorable, deranged, DC despot… yes… THAT DC / THAT despot.
With last night’s campfire now reduced to smoky ashes, while Merl gathers more firewood and kindling, he feels the icy winds of change in the air. There’s also a dryness in his mouth and pangs of hunger in the pit of his stomach. Now back at his campsite, he folds up his tattered sleeping bag while chawing on beef jerky and crunching on trail mix… eventually washing it all down with a few swigs of Jim Beam™. As he sits atop his makeshift, sleeping bag chair, leaning up against a boulder, he stretches and yawns, rubs the grit from his lifeless eyes and strokes his grey, scraggly, Father Time length beard.
He feels fortunate that his innovative, tech savvy son, Merl Jr…. just prior to headin’ off for the greener, Silicon Valley pastures… had set him up with a couple of his patent pending devices… a wifi turbocharger and mini-solar array… both of which have proven themselves invaluable in keeping Merl Sr’s laptop fully connected and charged at all times.
Logging in, a quick check of the Weather Channel confirms what he already knows… the overnight desert cold will soon be changing over to blistering heat. He next opens his email and… within a nanosecond… is feeling duly pissed. Once again, the ISP and social network big shots are both demanding that he squander his precious time pouring over and agreeing to updated versions of their verbose, arcane, legalese loaded, Terms of Service and Privacy Policies.
Merl, feeling himself heading for an epic, full-blown, intracranial conflagration, opens up a word document and lets his keyboard poised fingers “do the talking” / channel and vent his rage against “the system”. Within fifteen minutes… minus two for… ahem… a behind a cactus pitstop… he is ready to publish his scathing screed. With his typical posting time nearing, he pauses to weigh the pros and cons… all the while wondering if he has overreacted? Merl decides to throw caution to the wind.
But just prior to posting, he proofreads it one last time. Let’s all peer over his shoulder to follow along…
Upon opening up my email inbox this early a.m., once more, I discovered a couple of those online ultimatums… you know the drill…
Firstly… “Please?” Aw shucks pardner… ain’t that sooooo heartwarmin’? As if sugarcoatin’ a demand with pseudo courtesy makes something that’s deep down NOT OK… somehow… some way… ALL OK?
Secondly… you’d have to be a some sort of Pollyanna clone to ever believe that privacy… either online or real world… even exists anywhere… anymore! Not with that veritable alphabet soup of three-letter acronymed spy agencies stumbling about our once great land. Hell, their agents’ Job #1 is to ensure that not one of us can even surreptitiously fart without that “momentous” event getting documented and filed… in triplicate… within our already bulging, computerized dossiers.
Thirdly… we are dealing with power-tripping, in CYA mode, muckety-mucks ISO our validation. Why must we legitimize their illegitimate terms / policies, which rarely, if ever, benefit anyone other than those who authored them? Let’s cut to the chase. What their tossed word salad is really saying is, “We choose to do whatever we damned please and you cannot do one damned thing about it!” One can practically hear their haughty “So theres!” and stuck out tongued, spit spewing Bronx cheers.
Fourthly… just what the hell does the word “agree” even mean, anymore, when it’s obtained by disagreeable coercion? And let’s not forget coercion’s passive cousin, “who” admonishes us that our very act of Logging In is akin to our agreeing to ALL of their mucked up terms… whether or not we’ve even skimmed over them.
Lastly… if we opt not to knuckle under to their high pressure, “my way or the highway” arrogance, the highway will be our reward.
Seeing how my POV could easily offend the ubiquitous, vengeful ISP and social network gods… this could result in my being summarily punished… oh… say… dropkicked out of cyberspace… real world exiled within climate change fried Dark Canyon and Dystopia USA. Fated to spend whatever time I have left stranded and stumbling about this sweltering, windswept, sandstorm prone, hellhole desert… tantalized by mirages of oases ahead… threatened by fanged rattlers aground… stalked by the starving buzzards circling above… birds of prey just “dying” for me to bite the dust.
Well, my friends, if any of you are out there… cruising and crisscrossing Dystopia’s system of crumbling highways and byways… should any of you just happen to find yourselves in the vicinity of DC… Dark Canyon… not THAT other DC… and you spot me staggering about…
Either pull over to rescue me… or… at the very least… try not to make roadkill out of me.
Even so… please forgive my long-windedness.