Barry Smith: Irrelativity
July 25, 2010
There are certain things that just should not happen. The Bush family should not be allowed to breed. You shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day. And I should never log on to Facebook and see a “friend request” from my father.
Well, guess what …
I didn’t even know that my dad knew what Facebook was. For the past few years his computer literacy has been limited to buying golf-related items from eBay and forwarding e-mail “jokes” to me and my family. And it’s important that, as you read this column aloud to your friends (you do that, right?), you fully commit to the air quotes when you come to the word “jokes.”
The basic problem my Dad has with computers is that he doesn’t type very well. Watching him type is like watching the polar ice caps melt – it’s not only painfully slow, but it also causes one to doubt the future survival of our species. For example, if he’s typing the word “better,” as in “You better quit writing columns about me,” he’ll take a moment and locate and press his starting point, the “b,” then he’ll move his index finger around the keyboard as if it’s a dousing rod, searching for the elusive vowel. Once discovered it will quickly be depressed – not unlike me, having to witness this – and then he’ll seek and find the “t,” press it, and THEN start roaming around the keys looking for the other “t.” Yes, the other “t.”
And on and on it goes.
Well, except that it doesn’t actually go on and on. My Dad is a smart guy, so he’s managed to compensate for his lack of typing skills by developing his own e-mail language. I call it FWDese. It consists of choosing a repeatedly forwarded viral e-mail that best expresses his thoughts, feelings or mood at the time. So, rather than typing, “Hey, just wondering how you’re doing. Hope all is well. Give me a call when you get a chance,” (which, let’s face it, would take him the rest of his natural life to type, and my Dad’s still pretty young), he sends me an e-mail with the subject heading, “Fwd: Fwd: Ads from the 1930″s this is a riot !!!! V V”
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See? Makes perfect sense, right?
OK, sure, it may not seem that obvious to you, but I’ve had a few years in which to study this language. So by now I know that when he sends an e-mail called “Fwd: Fw: Microwave trick” what he means is that he’s deeply sorry for confiscating my spin art kit that I got for Christmas in 1976 just because I was using it without the splash guard. He now realizes, the e-mail continues, that since the paint was washable and came off of the walls a lot easier than we all initially thought it would, that he over-reacted and that he’s so very, very sorry for the creative and emotional scars that that incident left on me.
As you’re probably starting to realize, FWDese is a very subtle language. Apology accepted.
But having my Dad as a Facebook friend, well, I’m not sure I’m ready to make that leap. That’s like the e-version of having him come into my room when I was a teenager. I’m 44! You can’t come in my room! Next thing you know he’ll be telling me to clean up my wall posts.
But then again I can’t just ignore his request, right? This is him reaching out, and I should do the right thing. Besides, I feel like I have a good handle on the whole father/son relationship issue these days. Things took a turn for the better earlier this year after he sent me this really beautiful, heartfelt e-mail. I actually open it up and re-read it from time to time, just because, well … I guess I’m sorta sappy like that.
It’s the one with the subject heading “Fwd: Fw: Fwd: Fwd: I just don’t look good naked anymore..funny song – NSFW- LOL.”