Scholars have called him “The Most Influential Human in Human History.” It’s easy to see why when you consider the—actually, you know what? Nope, I’m not feeling this. I think I’m gonna do first person. Yeah that feels better already. Is this what authors feel like when they have to choose a point of view? It just hit me: BOOM, first person. Now that I think about it, all my favorite sci-fi novels from a few decades ago are first person, so I guess that makes sense. Just gotta pretend I’m Joel (The Punch Escrow) or Wade (Ready Player One) or Mark (The Martian). Anyway, where was I? I’m playing the ADHD card. Oh, right. Now that I’ve settled on first person and because I’m not the “MIHHH” yet, I guess I’ll talk in real time. Well, as real as it can get considering I’ll be transcribing these words after the fact and you’ll be reading them after after the fact.
When and how you’re reading this might tell you a good bit about what I’ve accomplished, if anything. Maybe I’ll actually get somewhere with my actions and rewire the trajectory of the nation. Maybe I’ll be dead. Maybe I’ll still be here wasting away my life until I’m twice my current age. Hope I’m not bald at 40. Because of both the ambiguity of your position in reading this and your likely (somewhat accurate) suspicions that I’m crazy after you read this pseudo-introduction, I’ll give a little history lesson from my position.
Let’s start with spectrum—the electromagnetic spectrum, to be precise. Saddle in, because here’s the applicable stuff they don’t teach you in physics! So basically, people used radio waves for all wireless communication. Cell phones, broadcast TV, radios (duh), you name it. But, here’s the kicker, entities used to own the rights to spectrum space, which were regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. Crazy, right? It really wasn’t that long ago when you think about it, but the implications of the government “buyback” make it seem like a lifetime ago. “What’s the buyback?” you ask. “Not a buyback,” I answer! I would equate what happened to tipping a server 1% for being too slow, but you also broke the server’s leg and set the restaurant on fire before paying. “What happened?” you ask. Ahh, here’s where it gets dicey.
In typical American fashion, the government started to fear things it didn’t take the time to understand. Namely, the Internet. The web, if you will! Well Spider-Man, the bureaucrats of yesteryear didn’t use their great power with great responsibility. They decided cyber-threats were too big of an issue to deal with, so they gave people a reason to agree. “How?” you ask, and may I say, you’re excellent at asking questions. Well, by faking a terrorist attack in the form of an EMP launched “on an American personal computing device.” The immediate impact wasn’t as bad as the aftermath in the months that followed the detonation. Surprisingly, only around 6% of total deaths from the disaster were immediately following the detonation. My parents were part of that statistic.
Obviously, the “attack” sparked a nationwide panic, but the government had planned for it. Once transformers were repaired and the electronic infrastructure of the country regained some of its stability, the government made its plans known. Congress passed an act that essentially made spectrum eminent domain for the FCC. Hence the “buyback.” The FCC threw spectrum licensees a miniscule amount for their space with this statement. The Supreme Court agreed with the FCC in the subsequent class-action lawsuit of a handful of states, adding this. At this point, people were still terrified of future threats, so they didn’t understand or care about the gigantic difference between spectrum and “electricity of any form.” It even seemed like a good idea to me to give the government control of seemingly everything at the time. Safety was a particularly large concern for a newly-orphaned 9-year-old. So that’s what happened. A history of the new U.S. authoritarian government in under two minutes. Again, BOOM.
I’ll save describing how the attack was an inside job and how I found out for later so I can bring you up to speed with my current position. For me to do that, you’ll need to understand a few more things. First, the government became an elusive body following the Supreme Court ruling in order to lay the foundations for the future, spectrum-based electronic landscape. Once that landscape had enough traction, the government literally gave some power back to the people in the form of ubiquitous Internet and free mobile devices. I actually read that France did something kinda similar in the '80s. Obviously incredible to the vast majority of people, but it meant that privacy was nonexistent. I am now part of the subculture which (illegally) evades the government’s surveillance by not using their wireless internet mobile devices. Next, the spectrum-based design of the new electronic infrastructure obsoleted cable transmission of information. That is, save for telephone lines. Bear with me, you’re almost up to speed.
For reasons unknown to me yet, the government thought it was a good idea to keep the telephone system operating. Now it’s my turn to ask you a question: what communication network runs on the telephone network? You’ll never get it. I didn’t until a few months ago. Nothing? Didn’t think so. It’s, drum roll... dial up internet.
So yeah, I’ve been teaching myself the ins and outs of dial up for weeks now in an attempt to reach people like me who want to know what the hell is going on behind closed doors in D.C. The phone company doesn't "exist" anymore, so new customers can't be wired up. But, my hope is that there are other people who will connect to my server, which honestly parallels the general structure of BBSs in the late '70s and '80s. So far it’s been a frustrating time, from figuring out how to connect and mask a telephone line to my formerly government-subsidized apartment, to getting the self-sustaining, renewable solar equipment of the present to power the archaic devices of the dial up era, to learning basic coding. How’s that for a godda—wait... Shit shit shit shit shit. I got a match.
Stay tuned! I already know what happens! Remember, this is a transcript. Couldn’t resist adding a cliffhanger for my currently nonexistent reader.