Skin Deep 222

If there’s one thing the internet is really good at, it’s storing information that nobody cares about until they need it. Then they get it out, use it and put it back. Kind of like the second drawer down in your kitchen – the one with all the bags, a screwdriver and dead batteries in. Everybody loves the internet, right? And if not, you must at least appreciate the communications set-up behind it, which includes being able to use it on your mobile phone.

But what if somebody turned the internet off? It’s possible. In fact, it’s so possible that this is what most governments are ploughing their defence budgets into these days. Cyber-terrorism is big news out there. The power to hack into an entire nation’s communications network is a lot more useful (and cheaper) than simply killing all of the people – as we’ve seen time and time again, all that does is provoke a reaction of extreme proportions that you really didn’t bank on. Cyber-speaking, I’m (educatedly) guessing that the beauty of it is that you can hide the origin of attack because that’s the other two-faced beauty of the internet: if you so wish, you can be anonymous.

That’s not the side of the coin I was interested in however. On a far more personal level, I wondered (work-life aside) exactly what it was I’d do if somebody just switched all this shit off. The internet down. Your phone not ringing. Television networks screwed now analogue is dusted. Pretty much everything except the kettle and the toaster rendered useless in the blink of an eye.

I’m not saying it will happen, but there’s chaos and uproar around here when the broadband goes down for five minutes. The world is up in its digital arms when a phone network dies for a few seconds and may the iGods have mercy if you happen to do something the world doesn’t like – the digital ants will sting your ass like you’re a dropped ice cream in the park.

What would your options be? I might have written about this here before, but a couple of years ago, I started culling the stuff that I owned. At first it was simple – get rid of the trash. Then it became a fun if not weird project – don’t own any more than six objects (I had read an article online about somebody trying to do this using 100 objects which is rubbish – I didn’t even own that many things before I read it). For the record, this doesn’t include clothes, fridge, etc. – we’re talking personal possessions. I got my list down to this: the box with all the kids ‘things’ in it; car; guitar; MacBook, iPad, iPhone (those last three could easily be brought down to one of them, so am temporarily counting them as one item – not sure which one would stay though); a pen (which for the record is not a cheap piece of junk); and some art (can I have ‘some art’ as one item? File under pending). Aside from an unholy avalanche of books (which I would be sad to lose, but they are not irreplaceable), these are my worldly possessions. I can move house in my car.

Hell, if it wasn’t for the books, I could probably walk.

The point being – and not necessarily in this way – that it’s good fun to analyse why the hell you even exist. I think six objects is more than enough to define yourself to the world. It will make you live from the inside out and that can be no bad thing. If you can cut your shit down to less than six objects, you’re a better man than I.

If you can get your life down to just the tattoos on your skin, I want to hear from you.

At which point, I guess you’re allowed to borrow somebody’s phone with which to do that.


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