Coyote is one of the people who posts over on http://www.mycodedontstink.com/solutions/index.php
Every now and then over there a gem will show up in the desert, the other day he posted this which in my mind is a fantastic story.
This thread is just me talking about why I'm weird. Or how I'm weird.
Whatever. I like being weird, it was a conscious decision when I was 13
or so, to never try to hide it.
I'll start with the story of Fyl.
When I was 15, I ran track. Someone, I forget who, told me their worst fear was being thrown up on. So on the bus to a track meet one day, I pulled a can of Parmesan cheese out of my backpack and made a vomit sound while spraying powdered cheese all over her. I had cut out an extra eye on the lid to make it look like a little face. Hey, I was fifteen. She was appropriately angry.
I ripped the lid off the can and, for totally unremembered reasons, named him Fyl. For some reason everyone around me, including my friend Stacy (a guy), decided that they would take Fyl away from me. By force. So they piled on me. I fought like hell but in the end, Stacy ended up with Fyl. He told me that getting Fyl back would take me years of atonement. Years.
So I had Fyl, my little plastic buddy, for around half an hour. I became resolved to get him back. How long could it take?
Not kidding. Twenty years. I never forgot. It was a battle of wills, and I have one hell of a will. But Stacy did too. We were fifteen. That year, Stacy set up a Machiavellian quest, carefully planned out, with terribly convoluted clues that I had to follow. He left clues in our fledgling computer system at school, he left clues in the most frightening assholes in our school's lockers, he set the bar really high. I tracked them all, finally ended up way out in the woods behind our school at night digging with a shovel. I found a cigar box with a note inside that said 'Fyl has stepped out for a break, better luck next time.'
The next year, the same.
When I was 18, I was snail-mailed a small slice of plastic with a classic multi-font ransom note. It was Fyl's fucking EAR.
The next year... yup. He couldn't figure out how I could follow all the clues, but I apparently couldn't figure out that THERE WOULD BE NO CLOSURE. The clues got wildly abstract and hard. I never stopped looking.
One day at school I saw Fyl tied to our trophy cabinet with a bike chain running through his mouth and a kryptonite lock holding it closed. No way to get him without cutting his mouth open. I snuck out of school to find boltcutters that could handle the lock but nothing worked. At night I broke into school to expend some serious effort on getting that chain cut, but after a few hours I had to give up. The next day he was gone again.
When we were in our early twenties, Stacy and I were roommates for a couple of years. He knew I combed the apartment when he was away, that I looked goddamn everywhere. It was simply understood. Fyl wasn't anywhere. He was hidden with effort. Someone wouldn't hide a pristine diamond as well as Stacy hid that goddamn piece of plastic.
When I was 24, I was mailed a series of black and white photos titled 'The Many Deaths of Fyl'. There was a picture of Fyl floating in a toilet, with a hand reaching out for the flusher. Fyl on a plate covered with ketchup. Fyl in a fat guy's buttcrack. Fyl next to a rolled up dollar bill with a pile of cocaine next to him. An angry dog with Fyl in his mouth. Fyl being dropped off a building, etc etc.
Once we moved out and weren't roommates, his devotion to keeping me from finding it didn't decrease. Stacy, if you're reading this? You know I broke into all your apartments. I learned how to pick locks, dammit. You taught me a lot of useful skills by accident.
Sooner or later, though, people get lazy. Barely, barely lazy, but any lack of vigilance? I was waiting for it.
I got Fyl back when I was 36 years old. Thirty, goddamn, six.
I never glued his ear back on, but I carry him everywhere now. He's always in my pocket, I never show or explain him to people until now.
I just need to know where he is at all times. All times.
A little later he added this gem.
You ain't seen nothing about weird yet, boy
So like around age 20, I found this thing. I was kinda a wild child, and this new obsession saved me money and body abuse to spend some time geeking out on at least one thing. Plus my mind was racing with the possibilities of this weird new thing:
MUDs. They bored me. I played the first TinyMUD and talked regularly with JimA about the future of that there Net. No Inter yet. But MUDs? n e sw n kill octorobot kill octorobot kill octorobot take shovel, zzzzz.
Then the MUSHs started, and this weird social part came in. People actually talked to each other. And things were more free-form, letting people randomly build intriguing stuff without any real limits. MUSH stands for 'Multi User Shared Hallucination', which me and my friend coined after the fact. It stuck.
The 3rd MUSH in existence, out of thousands upon thousands, and the only one to survive (from 1990 to, oh, today) was TinyTIM. It was the strangest thing on the Internet for a looooooong time. Kinda like Slackers in being community-built, but we had a continual river of new, ornery and occasionally outright hostile visitors. There's many people from there I remain RL friends with, and my Facebook is ridden with them. But there are many, many more I hope to never see again.
I played a character named Coyote. In MUSHes back then, the big secret to running a successful game was to very carefully set up an authority system. I am the superadmin, these 3 are the grand-admins, then these 17 are the administrators, these 12 are the sub-admins and those 24 people are the supercitizen ranks and BLAH BLAH BLAH
We had 7 people who were totally in control and a few hundred users who were encouraged to enjoy themselves and don't worry about that management shit. And we called ourselves 'wizards' because yay! Magic! Wizards could do anything. Godmode for a MUSH. For all the good that does you.
Naturally, the wizards fought like hell with each other. For years. But we endured while the carefully planned how-to-avoid-political-strife systems crashed and burned around us. More than any other game, though, we were forced nightly to prepare to battle an astounding barrage of spambots, DNS attacks, dbhackers, trolls, sexual predators and, yes, even furries. And we tracked IP addresses across continents, we made many late night phonecalls to the parents of people who needed to be removed from our virtual existence, we had much more than one phonecall with a regional sheriff, DA, and (for three of us) a nice conversation with the FBI. Plus, serious dude, Furries. Oh god so many.
I shall brag a little bit about my tedious Internet cred: I was goddamn infamous across the MUSH spectrum. On a game where an admin with godmode would decide to teach me a lesson? People would line up to watch. I knew every single bug, every trick, every weakness anything on those games had. I knew serious MUSH judo. When I ran into the other big league menaces, our reps would have already been established and we were so goddamn careful around each other. I also purposefully operated as an agent... kinda embarrassed to even say it... okay fine, Agent of chaos. There was far, far too much bureaucratic shit going on in our little Internet games and I actively got in the way of it. And throughout it all, I tracked the early Internet predators with an all-out passion.
One day a total unknown named Hcobb came out of nowhere and cut a swath arcross all existing games. Week after week admins of games would tell me about his wave of mutilation. Destroyed dbs, injection attacks, and the bug/and or/esoteric hacks I was known for. But this guy skipped my experience-stage and just figured this shit out off the top of his head. Hcobb. Scary smart.
So naturally he and I went head to head across the MUSHiverse, and fuck if he didn't kick my ass. He's probably sitting in an office in Redmond now with a mansion, cause his juju was mindblowing. But I almost had him a couple of times. After pretty much trashing existence, he send me a PM that said "u were hard" and then vanished forever.
Long story short I still like the Internet. And it's mine. Okay also yours.