Today having grabbed the young goddess Cyberia around her waist and holding a sprig of mistletoe over her head, I intend to plant a few hearty kisses on her rosy cheeks. It's more than holiday playfulness behind this move; it's gratitude.
1948--Norbert Wiener coined the word "cybernetics" to denote
the study of "teleological mechanisms" [systems that embody goals].
1982--William Gibson coined the termed "cyberspace" to refer to the world of the Internet.
1994--Yours Truly christened the spirit of cyberspace "Goddess Cyberia."
Now, frankly, Cyberia resembles Shakespeare's Puck more than she does such high and mighties as Hera, Athena, or Kali. We're all familiar with her mischief-making side, and who among us has not sworn a few snarling words at her dark side, from serious ills such as abuse of children by online pedophiles to overkill by online winking-blinking-maddening pop-up advertisers?
Still and all--
Because of Cyberia, my brother and I, who for decades communicated solely by means of Christmas cards and a very rare phone call, now exchange chatty updates several times a month. In other words, in our seventies we are becoming acquainted, becoming family.
Because of Cyberia, I am now--after decades of "I wonder what happened to Whosis?"--
in touch with several chums from high school days. It's a shot in this aching arm to discover that Carolyn is as drily witty as she was at 16, and that John is every bit as quirky and imaginative and brilliant as he was in Mr. LoMaglio's English class, when he was responsible for my having to report to the principal.
Because of Cyberia, I can shop without grinding my teeth or kicking the walls of Nordstrom's dressing room.
Because of Cyberia, I can rent wonderful, thought-provoking "little" movies I would never have known about, let alone seen in a local cineplex. [Short list: Happy, Texas; Dancer, Texas Population 81; Career Girls; On A Clear Day; Nine Lives; The Tic Code.]
Because of Cyberia, I can stay warm and close to beloved friends even as they and we have scattered to Left Boot, Montana, or Mal de Mer, California. In some ways, we are closer via email than we were when we lived across town from each other. Can't figure that out yet, but it is true.
Because of Cyberia, if I forget the name of a minor actor in a 1943 movie, I can pluck it from cyberspace and not have to spend the night thrashing in the bedclothes and mumbling, "Was his name Conrad? No. Conway? No. Courtnay. . . ?"
Because of Cyberia, this hypochondriac knows all the symptoms of a textbookful of diseases she never heard of before 1995. (Okay, I admitted Cyberia has a dubious side.)
Well, of course there's more. But Cyberia is wriggling out of my grasp and about to crash or freeze or pull any one of her many tricks, so I'll stop now. But thanks, Milady Cyberia. When the Great Ice Storm of 2007 knocked out power last week, and you were as silent and inaccessible as Garbo for while, I realized just how you have changed my life. So stay around, okay? And ignore the occasional ranting from this end of cyberspace.