One of the best things about going to college was living in a dormitory with a bunch of girls. Back in the old days, girls had to be locked in at 10 p.m. while the boys stayed out for as long as they wanted, so after we came in from our dates, we hung out in the hall, talking and giggling up a storm until the wee hours. Then we got up for our 8 a.m. classes. After that first year, most of us had decided that 8 a.m. classes were for the birds and should be avoided at all costs. Therefore, we could stay up, giggling, as long as we wanted!

By my junior year, not only did we hang out in the hall and talk and giggle late into the night, some of us had become pranksters – not me, of course. One of those was Debbie, my roommate – the other Debbie. The year before, I had roomed with a different Debbie. It got confusing.

Anyway, Tall Debbie thought it would be hilarious to short sheet my bed. She worked on it for I don’t know how long, because she actually sewed the sheets together in kind of a cross stitch that said “Short Debbie.” I found this out when I tried to crawl into bed one night after she was already asleep. Something was barring my crawl, and so I pulled back the covers to see her handiwork. I couldn’t read what she had stitched, but I saw what she had tried to accomplish. So instead of waking her up to give her the satisfaction of my being pranked, I decided to turn the tables. 

I quietly got into bed, covering myself with only the bedspread, and then got up early and made the bed.

Tall Debbie got up and walked around with a secret smile. I could tell she was waiting for me to say something, but I just went about my usual routine. Finally, she could take it no longer. “Did you go to bed last night?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied. “Why?”

She sputtered and I let her suffer for a few minutes, and then I laughed and told her I thought her prank was pretty funny and that she was pretty clever. 

Today, people seem to get their kicks in different ways – and not harmless ones such as short sheeting a bed. A few weeks ago, someone thought it would be funny to hack my email. Obviously, it was my own fault. I’m usually pretty savvy about these kinds of things – when people “phish” to try to get a valid email address. They will send an email, and if the hapless victim clicks on the link, that does it. The floodgates open.

I had been getting weird emails about “suspicious activity” on this account or that account. I became concerned but continued convincing myself that these were false. Then I got an email about one of my credit card accounts, and I got worried. So without going first to my credit card account to check it out, I clicked on the link. Voila.

I opened my email the next day, and I had received thousands of emails. And I mean thousands. This is my main email account, and so I had to go through and delete all the spam, taking time to unsubscribe from most of these websites. Today, I’m still getting some emails in French, which I am trying to read using the French I learned in college; I was able to discern the “Unsubscribe” button in German and Spanish. Fortunately, the Russian ones have just stopped coming.

I don’t understand people’s getting their kicks from making an unknown person’s life miserable – or at least more difficult. I also wonder who has the time to sit around on a computer trying to maliciously trap unsuspecting people into being inundated with unsolicited junk mail. Unlike Tall Debbie’s pranks, this one is not funny. 

I just go back to my mantra about our trying to be nice to each other. This spam trick does not fall into that category. 

Learn from me: Don’t click on the link. Be careful.

 

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