Being the Target of a Life Hack
by Brent Kirkpatrick
(Date Published: 03/20/2017.)
You arrive at your first meeting, fire up your laptop and review the slides that you will be presenting on your marketing plan. Ten slides in, you see dozens of small mistakes that were not there the night before: spelling errors, grammar errors, and algebra mistakes. You hurry to fix them, only to have your laptop crash. The machine boots just in time to begin the presentation, and you are forced to gloss over the mistakes on-the-fly looking incompetent.
The next appointment is with your teammates on the budget for your project. You arrive at the meeting room just minutes early, start-up your laptop and cannot find the file. After a frantic search for the file, you remember that you printed a hard-copy the night before.
The next meeting you discover that the heated email exchange about your project deadline is missing. You dig out your phone hoping that the thread was misplaced in your other mailbox, but it is nowhere to be found. You ask a colleague to forward one of the emails to you and you do a verbatim search for the subject. Nothing.
At lunch you notice the person from that morning getting a hot-dog at the stand near where you are eating. You freeze, anxiously considering the odds of two such chance encounters. Your mind a body kick into overdrive. Then your phone rings, and your bank clerk asks you to confirm the amount of your wire transfer. You gape; you had not requested one.
Your next meeting is the most important, because you are presenting your report on the future of your team's project. You open your laptop only to discover that the encrypted partition with the report and its data is gone. Your computer claims that the partition's header is corrupted. In a panic, you call your IT department. They ask whether you have a backup. Now you begin hyperventilating; you cannot remember if there is a back-up. Facing the potential loss of half a year's work, you ask your boss if you can have a few minutes to collect your thoughts. You prepare to wing the presentation from memory. Instead of impressing the boss, when she asks to see the numbers, all you can do is explain that you do not have them. Your boss threatens to replace you with someone who can do your job.
Devastated at looking incompetent and panicking over the oddity of your computer betraying you so strangely all day, you head home. Walking to your car, you remain alert, scanning for the hot-dog-eater. Nothing. You fail to notice that all the cross-walk signals are set as soon as you arrive at the crosswalk. You get in your car, hop on the freeway and accelerate to highway speeds.
Two minutes later, your car's self-breaking function is remotely triggered. As you car hurdles to a stop, the semi-truck behind you plows into you, rolling your car. Dazed, you reach for your cell to call 911. The phone refuses to place the call. In shocked horror, weak with blood loss, you finally realize that your whole life was hacked.
By the time the ER crew arrives, you are hysterically repeating "hot-dog man hacked me." The ER team talks with the police, determines that reckless driving is the problem, and sends you to the psych ward.
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