Neither a borrower nor a lender be. Don't give out your credit card number over the phone unless you're sure you're dealing with a reputable business. If anyone asks for your password or PIN, hang up immediately. Use a firewall. Update your antivirus program regularly.
Don't drive while talking on your cell phone. Don't drive while listening to your Walkman on earphones. Don't drive while watching TV on a dashboard monitor. Ditto for video games. But if you must, don't drink beforehand.
Don't leave your cell phone in the car, where a passing thief might see it. Don't keep personal information, such as bank account numbers, in your PDA. If you're going to surf for porn at work, be sure to erase all your temp files and cookies afterwards. Be aware that your boss has the legal right to go through your e-mail.
Always select a public place for your first meeting with a computer date. Run a Google search on him. If he won't give you his home phone number, he's married. If he won't let you see his home, he's either married or a momma's boy. If he'll kiss you on the cheek but not the mouth, he's gay. If he obviously wants you but won't kiss you, he's got herpes.
Before you engage in commercial phone sex, you should be aware that none of those women are naked, many are unsightly, and a few aren't even female. Before you engage in virtual sex with somebody you met in a chat room, determine that he or she is the same person, age, and gender as claimed. Don't engage in phone sex while driving.
There is no cure for AIDS. Don't patronize prostitutes. Avoid multiple sex-partners. Avoid partners who have multiple sex-partners. Avoid anal sex. Avoid oral sex. Avoid penetration of any kind. Don't kiss on the first date. For God's sake, use a condom.
Never share needles.
Don't accept stock tips, investment opportunities or a twenty percent share in several hundred million dollars in stolen Nigerian funds in exchange for laundering the money. Don't download shareware. Don't open e-mail attachments from people you don't know. Don't open mail that's sloppily packaged, incorrectly spelled, has no return address, or is unexpected. Call the police instead.
If you have a pacemaker, don't stand near microwave ovens.
Have as little as possible to do with strangers. If you see anything suspicious, report it immediately to the Office of Homeland Security. In a pinch, the FBI will do. Don't make eye contact. Keep walking. Not too fast! Don't let them see you're afraid.
And this above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
Always back up your hard drive.
© 2003 by Michael Swanwick and SCIFI.COM.