A year or so ago, Son #2 got caught illegally downloading a movie onto his computer in the wee hours of the night – some silly sci-fi thing that he probably could have purchased legally for a song. The thrill of Tech Piracy seduced him. The internet account is in my name; I received a lovely lengthy legal notice threatening termination of service due to copyright violation.
Now, the closest either Husband or I ever get to Tech Piracy is the thrill of correctly accessing our own email accounts. So when a similar notice appeared in my in-box yesterday, I knew that Son #1 was probably to blame. Son #2 had already learned his lesson (or, more probably, had learned the lesson of how to hack without leaving a track).
The title of the film in this latest infraction involved friendly female felines. The letter X was implied.
I knew that Husband wasn’t the culprit. Not that he wouldn’t be interested in such a film from, say, an educational point of view—but he would simply watch it online. He wouldn’t be tempted to beat the system by downloading an illicit copy. Nonetheless, Husband feared at first that I was fingering him.
All I could see was Clark Gable snatching the brandy bottle away from a cornered Vivian Leigh, saying, “I know you drink, Scarlett, and I know how much you drink.” It doesn’t bother me if Husband ogles the occasional centerfold, but it sure makes him nervous (then again, guilt and nervousness are part of such pleasures. Or so I hear).
Do they even call them “centerfolds” anymore? Do web-based men’s publications photo-shop staples and folds into the center of those layouts to appeal to lusty oldsters who grew up in the paper magazine era? It’s all in the details, after all.
I have long loved Gone With The Wind. I loved it so much that I stole an old copy from my hometown library when I was a kid – a copy so old that the center folds were falling apart, needing staples.
No! My kids do not get their thieving tendencies from me! And I prefer to consider that book a long-term loan. Guilt and nervousness finally got to me, and I snuck it back into the library’s return slot one night with a token $10 toward a decade of overdue fees.
So Husband, feeling as trapped by me as Scarlett was by Rhett, stalls for time (as she did) while deciding upon a course of action.
First, he argues about the time signature of the incident — tells me that it’s listed as Eastern Standard rather than Mountain Time, and that I therefore don’t understand when it happened, since 1:20 AM Eastern on 4/3 is actually still 4/2 out here. Then, he states that he was in bed by 9:30 PM on the night of 4/2. Finally, he suggests that it’s probably just an Anime title (both sons have been into high-tech Japanese Manga animation stuff for years. See Exhibit A).
I say, “Yes, he’s doubtless stolen a subtitled Asian veterinary film to get great cat-care tips.”
We don’t have cats.
Husband says again, “Look up that title and check! I bet it’s just an Anime film.” Just, here, as in, fairly innocent. After all, how hot can a cartoon get? (pretty damned hot, if the G-rated image search I did is any indication. See Exhibit B).
I say, “Digital Sin, Inc. is the company reporting the copyright violation.”
I say, “If I google this lurid title, it will be on my internet history forever, and they’ll think I was involved.”
Husband turns adroitly to Distraction Technique #5: “You can just erase all those searches from your record. Here. I’ll show you how.” Husband seizes laptop, pushes lots of buttons, and causes it to seize up.
At this fortuitous moment, Son #1 happens to emerge from his room. Husband pounces: “You there! In the hall! Yes, you! Did you download a movie you shouldn’t have late Tuesday night?”
Son #1 makes his own bid for time. He says, “Huh? No. Maybe. I don’t know. Yeah. How come? What do you mean? Why? I was in Montreal at the time.”
Father explains that Mother has been threatened with internet service termination and is not happy. Father tells Son #1 in no uncertain terms never to mess around with BitTorrent again (a notorious media theft/hacker program).
Generally, when disgruntled, I post Serious Messages to Sons prominently in the kitchen for the betterment of all. Sons tell me that this is disrespectful, and that I really should speak to them privately. Yet they hate confrontation, and go out of their way to avoid me to prevent any possibility of that. This, though, deserves a paper posting (they’ll never see this electronic one – one’s mother does not become remotely interesting as a person until one is at least 25). A further maternal worry has just occurred to me: The word “little” appears in the movie title. It had better refer to kittens who are small rather than to kittens who are underage. While I do want Son #1 to move away from home, I’d prefer it not be to jail.
Husband and I are done with parenthood, already. But it just doesn’t end.
Long ago, my mother made my father take her to a showing of Gone With The Wind. He suffered valiantly through to intermission, whereupon he stood up, grabbed his coat, and said enthusiastically, “Thank God that’s over!”
She made him see it through to the end. I suppose Husband and I have to do so, as well.