Friday, April 23, 2010

From Day 0 - Part Nineteen

Sometime during the first semester I fell into a certain group of programmers that were honestly not known for their high social standing. Yes, they were hackers. While I partook in only a few minor, mischievous pranks, some of the funny business they instigated was honestly on the darker side of the line between legal and illegal.

They were misfits; cultural disconnects; social dropouts. I fit in quite well as a sidekick.

One fellow by the name of 'Tomas' had a penchant for espionage, robotics, science fiction, lock picking, foreign languages and sneaking around where he didn't belong. He was tall and thin and liked the occasional cigar. Last I heard he was doing 'something' for the government in Europe.

Another fellow who went by the name 'Greeny' had a Dr. Who fetish, and was almost never seen without a crazy scarf around his neck. His hair was even the same as the good Doctor's. He was the angry, devilish, sometimes black-hat hacker who lived UNIX and thoroughly enjoyed confusing the heck out of clueless users by piping ASCII animations to their terminals. Several years ago he was the head of a large company's security team.

Another sidekick, 'Pinky' had some decent skills of her own. Typically she was the quiet prankster, not really letting people in on her tricks. She was admittedly hot and enjoyed dressing like a punk-goth rocker. She was likely the most intelligent one of the group. I am not sure what happened to her after college.

There was another woman in the group but for the life of me, cannot remember her name. She was more the academic but enjoyed the occasional prank.

The last one I remember was a dark fellow, brooding and angry with a taste for beer. He hung around the group but had the intelligence and temperament of a grade schooler. Last I heard, about 20 years ago, he was living with his parents taking odd jobs.

This is where troubles in my interpersonal relations became apparent. The hacker group was not an issue; it was my then new wife and more socially acceptable associates. While it was stupid to lie about things such as working until 3AM on a program with the group, or experimenting with the nascent internet all night, I did. It was not to do any harm, mind you, it was rationalized into protectionism; protect my wife and friends from the occasionally mischievous things we did, and protect me from criticisms. Part of me wanted to be 'normal,' whatever that is.

If I were quiet, and the things I took part in were not illegal, where's the harm?

We were divorced after our Junior year.

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