This year of 2013 has, for me, gotten off to a start worthy of a year that ends in 13. Not that I'm superstitious or anything. Here's how it began.
Just before New Year's, I fell victim to a weird aberration of the flu. It wasn't the kind that demanded that I see a doctor or visit the emergency room. No, my curious symptoms - a killing sinus headache and vicious chills - demanded exactly two weeks of time in bed under heavy blankets. Both sleeplessness and sloth prevailed, and I indulged myself in fudge-sicles. Nothing else tasted right. One day, it was all gone, but I'll remember it as the first time in my adult life that I'd been sidelined to that extent. I guess I'm bragging.
To add injury to insult, during that exact same period, I was "phished" by some crook based in Manila. He - I'm deadly sure it's a he - accessed my entire email address list on yahoo.com and sent to one and all a plea from "me," in which "he" claimed that "I" was adrift in Manila, having had my cellphone and wallet stolen, and seeking some $1,800 to pay my hotel bill and get out of the country. Truth is, I've never been to Manila, I certainly wasn't there then and just as certainly, I never plan to go there.
In response, I was deluged with calls and emails from caring and concerned friends, even just some email contacts, checking on the veracity of the claims and offering to send money if needed. It was a lovely outpouring of compassion that upheld my belief in the goodness of people and their desire always to be of help if needed. I am certainly blessed with many, many people like this in my life. Thanks to all of you!
All of my email contacts had been stripped from my account by the phisher, but when I changed to an entirely new service provider - gmail.com - I was able - magically - to restore most if not all of my email addresses and I notified them of my new email address.
Gmail looks a lot different from Yahoo email, and I am slowly learning its functions and options. But not before I made a major boo-boo that has left me humiliated and embarrassed. In sending a business-related email to a select group of contacts, I - stupidly - clicked on "select all" and sent the blasted email to - again - my entire email list. It has elicited some very curious responses, but most recipients have - kindly - ignored the obvious screw-up. I am furious, seething and sick with myself and beg forgiveness of anyone I know or would like to know better for such a glaring mistake. I now know exactly what I did wrong and I can only hope I won't be repeating such an egregious error. The "Send" button gives me shivers now.
Let me say this: There are many things I fancy that I'm good at, but that doesn't include most things that are attached to an electrical outlet - like a computer - or anything that has moving parts - like a DVD player. Were it not for having a talented husband in the house, I'd probably not have cable or satellite TV. I cannot fathom why it takes two - sometimes three - remotes to operate a TV, for example. He's always ready to get me out of a computer or cellphone jam, despite my reluctance to ask for help again - and again. He needs my help, I must say, with the fax machine, laundry stains and supper. We each contribute our strengths to overcome each other's weaknesses. It takes two.
But it only takes one to make the sort of mistake I made in allowing the phishing expedition from Manila in the first place. They say confession is good for the soul, so here goes, Soul: In hindsight, I have a 20-20 recollection of exactly what foolish move I made that allowed phishers into my world. For months on end, I had received what appeared to be official communication from Yahoo, telling me that I had exceeded "my limit" on Yahoo and had to verify my account or face cut-off. My password was requested, and finally, finally I gave in and typed it in. I was just the "fish" they were looking for. I am quite sure no one else in this town is as unthinking and gullible as was I. I am sick to make this admission, but here's another one. I am now officially changing my username to "idiot" and my password to "2stupid." So go for it, you evildoers in Manila.
Barbara Morgan is a Covington resident with a background in newspaper journalism, state government and politics.