Of Hicks and Hacks and Cyber Attacks


It was an ordinary day…or so I thought! I had no idea that my world was about to turn upside down.

I was working online—minding my own business, as usual—when suddenly an “Alert Notice” popped up on the screen of my laptop computer.

It said: “Warning… You have been blocked by Microsoft.”

A phone number appeared and I was instructed to call it. Worriedly, I did so and I got a helpful Microsoft Technician on the line immediately. She was a sweet sounding lady who ran a few online-tests on my computer, and soon gave me a diagnosis. It would cost $248 to fix my laptop. Otherwise, my computer was essentially worthless!

I panicked and did something really stupid. Thoroughly rattled, I gave her all the money I had on a prepaid debit card. She assured me that I could add the rest of money to the card later. Then she transferred me to her ‘Manager’ to complete the transaction.

At some point, it occurred to me that I should call my computer-whiz-of-a-daughter, Karissa, and consult her before I proceeded any further. I explained that to the Manager and he immediately turned ugly and hung up on me.

I was startled. I called my daughter and told her what had just happened.

“Mother!” she said. “Those people were HACKERS. They ransacked your computer and stole your money!”

“What?!” I was stunned. “But that lady was so kind and helpful!” Karissa sighed irritably. ‘That’s ridiculous!” she said. “Go get your laptop fixed at a local computer shop….and do it right away!” She hung up the phone.

I slumped in my chair and stared at my computer screen. Strange things were beginning to happen to it. An image had appeared along with the mocking words: “Hurrr— Durrrr!” An ugly bulldog was growling and lunging at me from my screen. “HurrDurrr…Hurr-Durrr!”

The hackers were mocking me from my own computer. It wasn’t enough that they’d stolen my money and rifled through my files—leaving everything corrupted. Now they were laughing at me. I felt utterly exposed and violated.

Despondent, I prepared to leave for the computer shop. I went searching for my shoes— slipping them on mindlessly, then headed out the door with my computer beneath my arm. Clomp…clomp…clomp…I plodded down the street like I was off to the guillotine….

At the computer shop, the Technician took my laptop and told me to come back in five days. It would cost about $150 to fix! I was upset, but what else could I do? My laptop was worthless like it was!

With a heavy heart, I left my computer at the Shop. Clomp…clomp…clomp. I plodded back to my car and sat there wallowing in my misery for a good while. Then suddenly, I rallied.

Enough of this foolishness! I might be a country gal, but I’d show them a thing or two! I wasn’t going to let these hackers and city-slickers get me down. I would go shopping!… I would shop-until-I-dropped! And that’s exactly what I did!

I traipsed in and out of stores, shopping like mad, spending money like a true ‘Slicker. I felt quite proud of myself. I clomped here and there…in and out…up and down, and finally ended up at Starbucks to sip a high-falutin’ Frappuccino.

While I was there, a gentleman sauntered up to me and started chatting. Just small talk at first—but then I found out he was a Microsoft technician—a real one—and he proved it to me with his online credentials. I poured out my Tale-of-Woe to him.

He nodded. “The really sad part,” he said, “is that the Computer Shop will scam you again by overcharging you. I could fix your laptop in a matter of minutes, and it wouldn’t cost you anything!”

I stared at him incredulously. “Seriously?”

“I’m serious!” he said. “Go get your laptop from that Shop and bring it here to Starbucks. I’ll fix it in minutes—while you wait.”

Well, folks. By now, I was fit to be tied! But what did I have to lose? I did as the gentleman advised. Within a quarter hour, I managed to retrieve my laptop from the shop and hand it over to the helpful man.

He did exactly as he said. Within minutes, he had removed the virus and restored my computer to good health—and he did it free of charge.

I wanted to pay him, but he wouldn’t let me. So I bought him a Frappuccino with lots of white fluff on top. When he finished drinking his Frapp, we parted ways and I went home rejoicing.

It had been a horrendously long day and I was exhausted—but overall, I felt exhilarated.

Flopping down on my bed, I raised my feet and heaved a great sigh of satisfaction. I’d been hacked, but I had triumphed. I’d been ransacked—but this ol’ Country Gal had prevailed! I’d shopped like a ‘Slicker. And I’d done it with graciousness and style.

I was feeling on top of the world. I wasn’t such a bumpkin after all. I was learning a few tricks along the way and——

Suddenly, my self-congratulations stopped mid-sentence. I stared toward the end of the bed. A ripple of shock ran through me as I looked at my feet. I stared in disbelief.

How could it be? I was wearing two different kinds of shoes….and I’d been wearing them all day.

I’d traipsed in and out of fancy stores—up and down the streets—acting all debonair in my mismatched shoes. I’d lounged at Starbucks with prestigious business people in 3-piece suits….Microsoft techs and ‘Slickers—chatting and sippin’ Frapps like I was some kind of diva.

And nobody had said a word to this Country Gal with her head in the clouds.


You know, Folks—there’s nothing like a pair of mismatched shoes to bring you back down to earth….

And let me tell you….they will do it in a hurry!

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