In the interest of full disclosure, let me confess that my relationship with household appliances has never been particularly close, except for the blender. None of the others have a clue what to do with pineapple and rum.
Generally speaking, I try not to interact with any cleaning devices, so they’ve got no reason to turn on me. Well, perhaps the vacuum had a legitimate gripe when some hungry participants in my daughter’s neuroscience project amputated its power cord. She parked two rats on a no-carb diet next to the vacuum, and after a couple of cookie-free days, that cord must have looked mighty tasty. We don’t think the sucker ever forgave us.
Some dark night, the vacuum will regenerate and attack, swallowing sleeping family members into a spinning vortex of dust mites and pet hair, never to be seen again. When the police come to question witnesses, the mop will swear it didn’t see a thing.
There’s a name for fear of stuff around the house that sounds better than just plain “nuts.” If you’re sure the garbage disposal plans to chomp on your foot and the microwave will inevitably explode, you may have oikophobia. But what was once paranoid thinking seems pretty reasonable now.
Welcome to 1984. Your dishwasher could be working for the CIA. And the fridge is in on it. Now that everything is connected to the Internet, spies don’t have to bug your Twinkies to get more intel on you than Santa Claus has. They see you when you’re sleeping. They know when you’re awake. They know if you’ve been bad or good, so if you rob banks, don’t count the cash in front of your smart TV, for goodness sake. That webcam works both ways.
According to sources that specialize in more stuff to worry about, hackers can check your living room to see who is home, so they can schedule a visit when you’re not. From coffeemakers to clothes dryers, any appliance that reports problems online can also report on you. Pretty soon, LifeLock will be selling plans to protect your identity from your toaster.
That’s why it’s important to create strong passwords for everything that contain at least two Egyptian hieroglyphics, six nonsequential numerals, one diphthong, three algebraic symbols and the square root of your mother’s bra size. You’ll never
remember them, but it might slow the hackers down, unless they know your mom.
I don’t even try to remember passwords anymore. I just go straight to the box of shame on every login page that says: “I’ve forgotten my user name and my password because I am an idiot.” The invisible Web deity in the sky will add me to his black book of dumb people (oh, wait, I’m already there) and grant me the right to create another password to forget.
For my family’s security, I've given up cooking and cleaning. If I go out, I’ll prop a few pillows under a blanket on the sofa, so the TV will think somebody’s home. (In eighth grade, that strategy worked fairly well on my parents.)
Food-wise, pizza seemed like the most cyber-secure bet until I placed my order. The stranger on the phone knew all about my intimate relationship with thin crust, sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts. She already knew my address. And she has my credit card on file, whoever she is.
There’s only one thing to do. Would you mind waiting for the pizza while I consult the blender?
Jan A. Agoe is a writer from the Grand Strand who is ready to duct tape her webcam and move to a cave as soon as she finds one with an outlet for the blender. happy to find that her caffeine addiction is a legitimate disorder. Reach Jan at HumorMe@SCLiving.coop.