The other day I did something I'd been dreading for a long time. It was kind of just sitting out there, staring at me. I'd try to ignore it, I'd try to avoid it, I'd try to pretend it wasn't there. Because it was just too scary. Too dramatic. Too traumatic.
But I couldn't run any longer. It was going to track me down, snuff me out, bring me to justice. That's right -- in this metaphorical scenario, the "IT" was George W. Bush and I was Osama bin Laden. Minus the facial hair. Oddly enough, I have been into turbans lately, so on that score I was even dressing the part.
Anyway, my time hiding out in a Bora Bora of made-up errands and endless procrastination came to an end. It was time to rip the Band-Aid off and just do the thing that had been scaring me for weeks.
So I did it. I helped my mother get an account on Twitter.
My mother is a woman of extremes. She is extremely happy and optimistic, and extremely opposed to swearing. What a bitch, right? She loves everything and hates nothing (EXCEPT maybe Osama bin Laden, but she'd even say he probably just didn't get enough attention as a boy with all those siblings and his father's numerous wives running around. "That's a crock of shit," I like to tell her.). She is really good with kids and she is ... well, not really good with technology.
Back when email was all the rage, I was a senior in college. (That is a horrifying sentence to write.) I remember when my mother set up an email account from our home computer, and she sent off a little missive to me at school. As soon as she hit "send," she CALLED ME to see if I had received the email. Then we had a long conversation about how email is supposed to allow you to communicate information and pretend interaction without actually having to communicate or interact. Then I called her an "asshole" and hung up. (If you haven't caught on yet, I like to swear at her just to remind her of all the fun she could be having.)
Over the years, she's accumulated a laptop, a Facebook account, and an iPhone. Watching her receive and use these things is sometimes cute and fun, like watching a puppy get a fresh tennis ball. It's all excitement and unbridled enthusiasm. Less drooling, though. And no one throws her iPhone at her. Okay, it's nothing at all like a dog with a tennis ball. The picture I'm trying to paint here is that my mother gets excited and enthusiastic about what the kids are doing these days ... whenever those days are.
The problem is, the excitement and the enthusiasm don't usually translate to a full-blown embrace of the power and the responsibility she has at her fingertips. Her laptop's primary function has been to create and order Chrismas cards. It's protesting its neglect with a deteriorating connection speed. A tea kettle works faster than that computer. She's always amazed when my sisters and I reference a picture, or a status update, or a video of a baby's birth and ensuing 6 months of life, on Facebook. She gives us this hang-dog look, like we're in cahoots to keep her in the dark on all the details of that girl we kind of knew in 3rd grade because we went roller-skating with her on early release days. The four of us just look at her and shout "MA! THE FACEBOOK!" Because that's code for "you, too, could be enjoying all these nuggets from the ghosts of your/our class pictures past if you just logged in every now and then." For all we know, the vice president of her elementary school student council has been trying to get in touch with her for years, and mum's just been missing out on reminiscing about the all-vegetable bake sale they did in 1962 to raise money for a litter of neglected kittens.
I can't even get started on her abject failure to properly respect her iPhone. If she raised her children the way she is raising her iPhone, I'd be dictating this post (since I'd be illiterate) to my probation officer (since I had to steal a tv to pay for my crystal meth) in Omaha (since they have the worst tv store security). Let's just leave it at that.
But now she wants in on the random bursts of laugther, the recounting of out-of-left-field facts, the references to SmartyPants267 and GoFishFish. She wants to speak @ and # and * and RT. She wants to follow people. Probably to tell them how wonderful they are. Again, BITCH, right?
So I hooked my girl up. And now she asks me shit like, "so, honey, now that I have Twitter, can you teach me how to tweet?" Or "so, honey, now that I have Twitter, I can just go to w-w-w-dot-twitter-dot-com and see what everyone is saying to me?" Or, "so, honey, now that I have Twitter, there will be no more starving children in Africa?" It's like with every question she has to brag about having Twitter now, then boondoggle my brain, and then sneak in a reference to "poor Osama's" birthplace. It's like she just can't stop thinking about the guy.
Editor's Note: If you read this post and you are associated in any way with a government agency that has ever had the words "counter" or "terrorism" reside on any document on your server, put down your warrant and cut the wire-tap. The references here to Osama bin Laden are a fancy literary device. That device is called "satire." If that word is too big for you, then think of it as "humor." If that word is too big for you, then think of it as "funny." If that word is too big for you, then I have no idea how you have a job, much less one for our government. Also, I hate you.
P.S. Mum still hasn't sent a tweet.
P.P.S. Mum has 4,326 unread emails in her inbox.
P.P.P.S. I think I might tell mum there's an Internet law that says you can't tweet, or ask questions about tweeting, until your Inbox is appropriately indexed. Government counter-terrorism agents aren't the only sneaky ones in these here parts. And mum is extremely into following the law.