By Lynn Moncus
Throughout our lives we have been told that whenever we utter a word, it can never be withdrawn because it travels on its little sound wave forever. When we toss that word into the sound wave pool, we have created an everlasting wave just as we do when we toss a pebble into a pool. Those little undulations never stop and may even come back to echo in our ears if we stand still long enough.
Now that we have entered the computer age, we are told that once we write a word on one of these gadgets, that word can be retrieved no matter how many times we punch the delete key. In fact, those words are much more easily recaptured than are our spoken ones at this point. Almost any computer user can unlock the secrets in these machines if he has but a little training in “computer sleuthing.”
This has caused me to pause a bit as I pitch words and ideas about, especially if they are private. Obviously, we have very little privacy and should just keep our thoughts and words to ourselves unless we want to risk having someone check into the ethereal atmosphere of our computers. Of course, I don’t really stay awake at night worrying about that particular invasion of my privacy because I don’t really write anything on these gadgets that cannot be read by others in the event they simply want to be nosy.
I also feel more secure than those users who are on the internet and who dip in and out of areas that might embarrass them or who might write things to others that really shouldn’t be read by anyone passing by. Those users who write on the computers at work are the ones who need to worry more than those of us who compose or surf on our own computers. They really can have “Big Brother” watching over their shoulders and can lose their jobs as a result. After all, they are using someone else’s computer for their personal pleasure and should know they are not immune from having someone read their “private” e-mails or check on their visits to various chat rooms.
We are reading and hearing more about people losing their jobs for having taken advantage of their employers’ time and property and using them as if they were their own. I have talked to several friends who have mentioned their use of the office computers and have said they no longer use them for anything other than for the business for which they were intended. They have even expressed concern that they could still be caught for some of their past activities and for all the time spent on the office computers that had nothing to do with the business at hand.
For once, I can mark off that one kind of worry because I have used only my own computers and have no need to think about the e-mails or chat rooms because I’m still so far behind that I’m not on the internet. In the event I do lose contact with reality and decide to go on line, I will try to remember to have my computer destroyed when I go West so no one will know what I might have done or thought while using it. On the other hand, I won’t really care by then and can let some nerd be shocked to check out the e-mails and the chat rooms. I hope I can note their disappointment and can come back to haunt them for just a few minutes. All of these words simply add up to the notion that we should neither say nor write anything we don’t want to be heard or read by others. Shucks! We might as well become mute and illiterate because we will miss a lot of fun as we wander through life.