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Safe socializing: Can you trust your friends' friends.

Are your secrets safe with your friends?

This zinger came totally out of left field this afternoon. . .

A friend calls and wants to know how to spell ‘Tchaikovsky.’ Of course, I think I know how to spell Tchaikovsky, but just to be on the safe side I Google it. While I’m looking, I ask my friend why she just doesn’t look it up herself.

“I don’t have my computer,” she says.

“No? Where’d it go?” I wonder.

“A friend has it. Some guy.”

“What guy? Is it with those tech guys again?” She’s always having hard drive problems so I assume it is with the Paid Geeks Company.

“No, not there,” she says. “It’s a long story.”

As it happens, it really isn’t a long story — she just doesn’t want to tell me what she is doing. Seems she screwed up her copy of Photoshop, which she had “borrowed” from some guy in town. So she took the computer back to this civilian so he could download another unauthorized copy.

“Well, who is this guy?” I ask again.

He is, in fact, just “some guy,” a friend I have never heard of but who likes helping her out with her software (and, I suppose, other things as well).

Besides finding out that I don’t know how to spell Tchaikovsky without help from Google, it dawns on me that some stranger now has possession of my friend’s computer and along with it all the maudlin, sick, depressing, brilliantly humorous (slight exaggeration perhaps) email and other “for her eyes only” stuff that I frequently send her way.

Some of it is about the Center of the Universe (me), some about my ex-wives, friends, relatives, the President (lots of bad stuff about him that I wanted to take back after Hillary became Secretary of State. Sorry, Barack!).

Basically, all the stuff that I trusted her with is now in the hands of someone I don’t know, about whom I can only guess the worst. Is he a closet hacker? Will he be sending me emails loaded with viruses? Will he contact people to tell them the awful things I write when I think no one is reading my stuff? How about that long, detailed email concerning the threesome I had with those big-breasted red-heads in the back seat of my Porsche when I was still a bachelor? (Alright, that one is not entirely true. There was only one red-head. She had normal sized breasts. And it was a Volkswagen, but I was single.)

The point is, my stuff — your stuff — is only as safe as the people our friends call friends. Sure, we have anti-virus software and all that other garbage. We practice safe sex on Facebook. But many of us who are normally paranoid — if there is such a thing — think nothing of spilling our guts to long-term, trustworthy friends WHO HAVE LESS COMMON SENSE THAN MY DOG CHANCE!!!!

Do you have friends like that? Only me?

So I am praying that this stranger who is kind enough to pirate a copy of Photoshop and share it with a good friend, is also nice enough not to read the emails I wrote or the copies of friends’ emails that I sent to my friends with one of those ‘Can you believe this?’ introductions.

My friends tell me — actually, after my rant my friend did tell me — I am not that important or interesting enough for people to want to snoop. Under most circumstances that is true, but if he scans her emails and sees stuff with headlines like: ‘The latest from the lesbian room’ or ‘Is this really cheating?’ or ‘Too much sex can be bad for your back,’ my guess is that he is going to read a little further.

My advice? Throw caution to the wind! Tell your friends all your dirty secrets! Live a very public sordid life and invite the world to think you are wickedly interesting!

One way or another, if there is any dirt about you worth finding, someone will find it because your best friends will show them where it is.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. . .