Sep
07
2010

Secrets in the Age of Facebook

I know that telepathic communication is real. I know because when I was younger, if I told my mother something, my aunts and grandmother would know exactly what I had said, before I hung up the phone.

You would think that that would have prepared me for the age of Facebook.

Here is my story.

My daughter just got engaged. And shortly after we had oohed and awwed and popped the champagne, we began to strategize.

We needed to figure out who got told first. Our ‘son-in-law to be’ had proposed at a time and place where both sets of parents could be told simultaneously, convincing me, once again, that my daughter had made a very wise choice.

Now they had to worry about telling everyone else.

“I want to tell Aunt Lou and Uncle Jack in person.” My daughter declared.

“I want to visit my grandmother in person.” Ryan added.

And Tracy had a practical thought.

“Don’t.” She warned us. “Don’t post this on Facebook. Wait until we change our status to ‘engaged.’ I want to be able to show the ring to my friends at work.”

We all nodded solemnly. But some listen better than others.

Have I ever mentioned that my husband is a genius? I had always wanted him to be like my father. If my mother got up in the morning, and decided that she wanted the living wall knocked down and a greenhouse built off the side of the house, she would just tell my father.

He would say. “Sure, honey, I’ll get right on it.”

My husband is not like that.

But, when I retired, I got up one morning and said. “I want you to build me a website.”

He had no idea how to build a website, and on the morning I asked, we had just embarked on a 6-week motor-home trip around the country. Still, I had absolute faith that he could do this.

And he did. By the end of the trip, he had not only built a website, but had figured out a way for me to update to it using E-mail. Given my personal computing skills, this in itself was a major triumph.

But alas, sometimes with genius comes idiocy. (Hopefully my husband is not reading this.)

His reaction to the engagement was to post a picture of the ring, with commentary, on his personal website. He originally made the post private, like many craftsmen, made a change that made the post public and then forgot to finish the finish the job.

“Well, no one will read it.” He commented to me. “It gets like 3 hits a year.”

And I was too busy grinning idiotically at my daughters’ hand to worry about details.

Until Tracy called us on our way home.

“Mom.” She said, sounding distinctly un-euphoric . “Call ‘Bevie’ and tell her to take down her post!”

“Who?‘Bevie? She wasn’t on ‘the list’. How in the world would she have known?”

“Just call her.”

Bevie was excited. “I can’t believe it! I was talking with Bill (her son) and he saw it on your husband’s website! And I’m so proud of myself, I actually figured out how to post ‘Congratulations” on Tracy’s Facebook page. …What? Well, I certainly have no idea how to take it down.”

So I called Tracy back on my husband’s cellphone, while simultaneously talking to Bevie on my own cellphone.

“Aren’t you in your car? How did you know it was on Facebook?” I asked Tracy.

“Brooke told me.”….and she figured out how to un-post it. But, tell Dad” she added emphatically “to TAKE DOWN HIS BLOG POST.”

“Umm…he’s driving a motor-home.”

Fortunately, this is a story with a happy ending. My genius called a technologically advanced sibling (we’ll call her ‘Jeannie’) who was able, with my husband’s help, to fix the blog. Tracy was able to savor her moment of glory despite her fathers’ best efforts to ‘scoop’ her.

But it is an object lesson.

Telepathy between mothers, daughters and sisters can never be prevented. (Guys, you just have to live with it.) But, as my mother would have said…”You can think anything you want, but once you post it on the Internet, you can never take it back.”

Unless, of course, you have multiple cell-phones, technologically gifted siblings, and a considerable bit of luck.

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