Long before Smithee started working at the Company, McKinney scheduled a meeting with me entitled “3D Pornography.”
McKinney was the Network Manager who, on the surface, fit the stereotype perfectly: glasses, short hair with no discernible style, pleated slacks, white tube socks and those hybrid dress shoes that fell somewhere between formal and fun, but really landed in just plain nerdy. And while McKinney did know a great deal about his field of expertise, he had absolutely no interest in it. He had the skills to do his job effectively, but he only spent time doing tasks that were not related to his job. While most of us in management spent our time being unproductive and providing little benefit to the Company, he always spent his time being very productive while also providing little benefit to the Company.
McKinney should have been an entrepreneur, not a technical manager. He had a way of turning opportunity into revenue. And of course, although these opportunities always seemed to involve Company equipment and resources, the Company always received none of the revenue.
Most IT professionals in the 90's knew that any good IT organization in a large company would inevitably host an internal porn server. The server was typically a "development box" located under someone's desk which was on the network but excluded from the typical monitoring that occurred with standard network equipment hosted in the data center.
Our divisional porn server was maintained by someone in McKinney's group, so every precaution had been taken to protect its content from divisional Network and Security scrutiny. This was particularly easy to do, since McKinney's group was responsible for divisional Network and Security scrutiny.
Corporate scrutiny was another matter, but since Corporate worked through McKinney's group to scrutinize divisional software and equipment, they were able to maintain this box under the wire.
Our divisional porn server had both photos and videos that network guys downloaded at home and brought to work on CD. It was very well organized and categorized so that you could quickly find whatever it was that got you off.
McKinney's group also kept their own log of those who accessed the server. McKinney liked to track it just in case he needed to use it against someone later. He showed me the list, and at least five guys who attended Mulhausen’s weekly Bible study regularly accessed the server content. I fully expected to see Mulhausen's username, but people at his level didn’t know about the porn server. For some reason, executives weren’t comfortable with dedicated porn servers being run on the Company dime. Personally, I thought it gave a boost to morale and productivity.
This free service worked so well, McKinney decided to host an external pay site. But some process changes had to be made. Stealing porn from home would be inefficient and a waste of personal time. But using Company Internet access to view pornographic materials was strictly prohibited. The policy itself did not deter many, but Corporate had the ability to track hits to porn sites by specific IP address, which of course, allowed them to finger Company perverts. McKinney, however, found a way around this. Mobile users who dialed in from home used special VPN (Virtual Private Network) software to allow them access to the network from outside the Company firewall. This software assigned random IP addresses that could not be tracked or tied to one specific user. McKinney realized that he could use this same software to dial out of the Company from inside the Company and then right back in as if he were dialing in from a remote location. This meant that Corporate had no way of catching him using any of the restricted sites. He also found software that would automatically go out to newsgroups on the Internet, search for JPEGs and AVIs, and pull them down to a specified location on his hard drive. He had this software running all day, every day. Within a 6-month period, he was hosting a premium porn site that had all been graciously paid for by the Company.
"3D Porn," he began when I sat down to meet with him. "I've seen 3D porn photos, but not 3D porn film."
I stared at him with cloudy, morose eyes, the proverbial gloom I typically expressed with the nerds in my department when they pitched their insipid ideas about technology, Star Wars, and comic book characters. McKinney looked back at me with a goofy, gluttonous grin as if his brilliance were suddenly going to bludgeon the awe right out of me. I just continued to look at him with silent indifference.
"3D photos look incredible,” he said. “Everything feels like it’s right in your face," he said. "Imagine a big set of tits on film—in your face."
“Imagine a big dick on film in your face,” I countered.
“I need original content. I can’t just steal porn from other sites, post and charge a fee anymore. They have these web crawlers that find their shit, and then they threaten to prosecute if you don’t bring it down. So, I’m thinking: if I’m gonna produce my own content, why not do something unique?”
“Do you really need to be in the porn business? You have a job.”
“Passive income, man.”
“Shooting pornos isn’t passive.”
“I’m talking about this job.”
McKinney was looking for investors and apparently planning to shoot this film himself. The best way to get rid of McKinney was to excuse myself from my office for a moment and then never return. Just go home or spend some time in Kessler’s PC build room where he would then show me hilariously disgusting video clips on the Internet that made me ill and would be emblazoned on my brain and inexpugnable for years to come.
“Why are you avoiding McKinney?” Kessler asked.
“He wants me to invest in 3D porn,” I said, cringing.
“Will you look at the size of that horse’s cock?” Kessler paused play. “That chick can barely get her two hands around it,” he snickered and pressed play again. “What the fuck is he doing with 3D porn?”
“Hiring actors and shooting one.”
“Is he out of his mind?”
“Has he ever not been?”
“Hold on, Mister Ed is about to blow his load!”
I couldn’t watch this. I also couldn’t look away. “This is so fucking degrading.”
“To whom? The horse? He’s getting jerked off. What does he care?”
“Not the fucking horse.”
“The girl? She didn’t have to fuckin’ do this. Nobody had a gun to her head. Maybe she works at a racetrack and has to white glove horses for a living. So, she decides to film it and get paid a little extra. Who the fuck knows? Or maybe she does have a gun to her head…”
“Not the fucking girl.”
“Me, asshole. Every time you show me this shit, you cheapen my brain. It dehumanizes me. Pretty soon, I won’t have a soul.”
“Dude, you don’t have a soul now. What are you worried about?”
“Do they really do this white glove thing at the track?”
“For sure. Right before a race. It’s someone’s job to jack off the horse. Calms the horse down for the starting box so they don’t start bucking and kicking the back of the stall.”
“McKinney wants you to invest in a 3D porn shoot?”
“Why didn’t he ask me?”
“Would you invest?”
“Of course not, that’s insane. But why didn’t he ask me? He knows I would invest in porn in a heartbeat.”
“You just said you wouldn’t.”
“I wouldn’t invest in 3D porn. The technology isn’t there yet. Of all people, he should know that. He’s an idiot. You should avoid him.”
I continued hiding from McKinney for a month.