Life Before Instant Messaging

I’m sick of it all. I’m so sick of it, I don’t want to write about it. We live in a thumb happy society, where thumbs need muzzles before they tweet to the masses, before students text their English teachers with happy faces instead of words.

Really students? If you want me to help you with your grammar, start writing me messages in English instead of eggplants. If you think I’d enjoy a meme of a dancing baby wearing a loaded diaper, it’s time to unfriend me. If you bomb my inbox with links to fat people at Walmart, unsubscribe me.

As if you didn’t hear it before, this world is filled with thumb clutter.

I’m as guilty as everyone else. Living in China, facebook is my rabbit hole to America and my thumbs are my garden spades. I can see what you ordered at Olive Garden. I can see the selfie of the abscess on your arm–even if I don’t want to. And thanks to facebo-ituary, I can see if anyone died. 

Facebo-ituary is an oxymoron.  It’s good grief. I mean, do you click LIKE on the post when someone dies? Does that mean you are glad they are dead?  I’m sorry but an angel emoji will never replace a hand written note. I still remember who sent cards when each of my parents died–as well as who did not. The Hallmark logo, the glitter, the embossed basket of flowers and fancy fonts of the message, and the cursive signatures.  I still attempt to send a snail mail card with my condolences –yes, from China– but it  won’t show up until a month after the last carnations have wilted. 

But I’m not tweeting today. And no one posted a picture of ingrown toenail. I’m in Chicago digging through my storage for memorabilia for an upcoming class reunion. I unearthed a motherlode of notes. Mother of all motherlodes. This is BIM stuff–Before Instant Messaging. I have notes passed in chemistry class,  letters pecked out on IBM Selectrics during typing practice, including this one that says: THROW OUT AFTER READING, which I didn’t. 

But the notes are full of damning evidence that would be catastrophic if posted. We drank, we smoked, we toilet-papered houses, we skipped band practice and sat on outhouses dreaming about our future. We spiked the prom punch. We tipped over sleeping cows. We collected the eyeballs from dissected frogs in biology class and threw them during geometry. We made memories and friends without the help of Mark Zuckerberg. We didn’t use our thumbs much…and after I read the notes, we didn’t use our brains, either.

Recently left a reply on friend’s page, What Would Jesus Tweet? I don’t think Captain Salvation be using his thumbs. I think he’d using a different finger—and not a good one. 

I don’t think he’d unfriend  someone for having different political views. I don’t even think he’d unfriend Judas even after that cross business. And I don’t think he’d cast me into hell for posting notes I passed in high school. He’d probably start a flash mob to help him feed the five thousand homeless in San Francisco or something.

But today’s world does get upset over things you post or tweet. We offend, defriend instead of forgive and mend. 

If only we could burn posts, tweets and photos on social media like we could notes and photos from the past (Yeah, that’s me with the hair cut courtesy of a kitchen bowl). Let’s get social again on social media.


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