Jacki Murphy

Half-Heartedly Trying to be Famous on the Internet Since 1999

My Dance Teacher Knocked My Tooth Out

One of the people in this photo won the World Championships as a teenager. Another toured with Riverdance. Neither of those people are me. My dance teacher was not a nice man. Actually, that's not really true. Removed from dance class, he was perfectly lovely. I have many fond memories of birthday parties, Christmas parties, and cookouts throughout the years. His whole family was good friends with mine. Even within the confines of dance class, if you were excelling, he was supportive. If he thought you were excelling. Which was basically never. And when he thought you weren't? He was … Read More

The Privilege and Cost of Evacuating

You'd be crazy not to evacuate, they said. It's not worth the risk to stay, they implored. I live in a South Florida town called Doral, just west of Miami. It is about as far away from the coast as one can get in South Florida without ending up literally in the Everglades. No part of Doral was under an evacuation order during the lead-up to Hurricane Irma. Despite not being in an evacuation zone, the messages didn't stop coming. Family, friends, people I hadn't spoken to for years - all begging me to leave. My boyfriend and I had … Read More

The Heartbreak of Fostering Animals

You grow up loving animals. When your dad takes you fishing as a little kid up in New Hampshire, you scoop them up and hold them in your tiny hands and talk to them before you toss them gently back into Winnisquam Lake. When you forget to feed the family goldfish one day - one day out of months of faithful feeding - and one fish dies a few weeks later, you confess that your "neglect" was the cause of death. When you're 12 your neighbor gives you two baby rabbits. A couple years later your family gets … Read More

Actual Things Said To Me In My Internet Café

Sometimes passengers say really ridiculous things, and sometimes I am smart enough to write them down. "If I use free Wi-Fi in a coffee shop, how do I pay for the data?" "I've logged into the Internet Box but my messages aren't there." "I signed up for your Internet but you only gave me The Google, I want to send textses!" "I only bought this thing so I could Facepage my grandkids!" "Hey, I put 'my email' into Google, but it didn't bring up my emails." "If I give … Read More

Thoughts on Visiting a Latter-day Saint Church Service

Eleven years ago, when I spent a semester at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, my friends took me to speak with Mormon missionaries. The meeting hadn't been set for me - another friend was actively seeking to be baptized – they just invited me to tag along. At the time, I knew next to nothing about their faith. Even though I still do not consider myself a religious person, eleven years ago my atheism was practically anti-theism. Catholic and Lutheran and ex-Mormon friends alike had all given me stern warnings to "stay away" from missionaries. But … Read More

Life On Land

So... I moved. After six years at sea - six years of ups and downs and mostly great times but also really shitty times - it's time to try out this "real life" thing. My boyfriend was offered a job working for our corporate offices on this fancy new cruise ship technology initiative, and I decided that this was the engraved invitation I was looking for to get my butt off of the high seas and onto land. We live in an apartment - which neither of us has ever done before - and the whole thing is … Read More

A Short Treatise on Learning to Code

So, I suck at coding. I desperately want to be good at it. I'm just not. I've done the Python tutorial on about 97 different websites over the years. I've cried and failed at Advent of Code twice in a row now. I've played around with PHP, JavaScript, Haskell, Scala, Go. It doesn't stick. And yet, I persevere. I'm not sure why. I am pretty good at a lot of things in the broad realm of IT. If I applied myself, and studied really hard, I could probably get a job in any number of them. Programming? Probably not. But … Read More

My New Year's Resolution: 'Thank You' Instead of 'Sorry'

I saw it on social media somewhere: Reddit, Tumblr, maybe Facebook - although it doesn't really matter. A little image someone had posted that encouraged people to say 'thank you' instead of 'sorry'. As someone who habitually apologizes for everything in the world, I scoffed at such a suggestion. Apologizing, I thought, somehow made me humble. Modest. Some elusive and wishy-washy attribute I was convinced that Nice Girls™ were supposed to have. I had convinced myself that saying I was sorry for things completely out of my control showed some level of superior empathy. I was, of course, wrong. There … Read More

An Open Letter to the Woman Who Sent Me a Flower

"You did not deserve to be yelled at by that horrible woman. Please know that there are those of us who appreciate everything you do!" I came in to work for my evening shift at 7:00pm. I had actually had to give myself a pep talk on my way to the Internet Café - it had been that kind of day. Come to think of it - it had been that kind of week. I was nervous, and upset, and on the edge of some kind of breakdown. People are frequently angry about our Internet systems - … Read More

Christmas in the Caribbean

I grew up in a part of the world where the approach of winter was intrinsically linked with the approach of Christmas. The dropping temperature meant that soon we would be decking the halls, stringing the lights, and listening Christmas carols. Despite the transient nature of my recent life and my strong feeling that nowhere on earth is really "home", I still associate Christmas with winter. I am fully aware that half of the world celebrates Christmas in the summer, and for many in the half where it is winter, it's still warm. I know. I don't, however, … Read More