You Might As Well Live

In 1926, Dorothy Parker wrote her famous poem “Resume.”

Razors pain you;

Rivers are damp;

Acids stain you;

And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren’t lawful;

Nooses give;

Gas smells awful;

You might as well live.

I’ve just started reading the book Cyberspies. How are these two things related? It’s simple.

Just today, someone said that, with all the talk of cyberspies, espionage and hacking, it’s hard to want to, for example, have a Facebook account. You’re damned if you do.

How, they asked, can we keep in contact with people, if we can’t trust things like email or Facebook? You’re damned if you don’t.

The problem, I suggested, is not new.

The book Cyberspies begins with some of the first instances of spying and espionage, starting with intercepting plain, old-fashioned mail. Surely, people have dealt with these issues before.

While it’s good to be wary of the unknown “Friend Request” and to keep your account private, that, as we now know, is not a sure-fire way to keep your privacy.

Today, I was thinking about these issues when I saw a worm on the concrete porch. The worm seemed to be heading to certain death as it wriggled to nowhere, sure to dry up by morning. I began to walk over to save its life. But before I could do that, a tree frog hopped over and ate it!

It’s experiences like these—the small ones; the ones that don’t seem important—that you, Russia, Facebook or TSA would not know about unless I decided to tell you. There’s aspects, then, of our privacy we can keep. These may be tiny, seemingly insignificant things that happen in the dark on your front porch. But they are private things nonetheless.

After the worm and frog incident, I sat down to write.

You might as well live your life, I thought. You should certainly be aware of privacy risks, but don’t let it ruin your life. Don’t get overly paranoid about it. You should totally raise your voice so that your privacy is kept, but know that people have been dealing with these issues, mostly during times of war, for centuries. So, to quote Dorothy Parker, “You might as well live.”