“Your sister is waiting for you to see her post on your timeline.”
Do I need this new personal pressure from Facebook? They’ve already sent me an email telling me that my sister posted on my page, along with the text of her comment. Now, they nag me if I don’t respond in their hearing within a prescribed period? Like I need shame from a social networking site? Like I need an automated computer program to act as my conscience? Like I need any more obligatory stress? Who decided that creating more social tension was good marketing? My sister can take corrective measures if I don’t get back to her. I don’t need Facebook stepping in like Mom, telling us to play nicely together.
Which we do. She doesn’t nag, I never nag, and neither does our mother.
We O’Brien women just make Polite Suggestions for the Personal Betterment of Others.
And now, so does Facebook. What’s next? Will they add motivating emphasis? “Your sister is waiting . . . you ingrate.” “Your dry-cleaner is waiting for you to bring in that bag of dirty clothes that’s stuffed in the hall closet, you sluggard.” “Your mechanic is waiting for you to take the car in for that long-overdue oil change, you slouch.” “Your mother-in-law is waiting for you to accept Christ as your personal savior, you degenerate.” “Your bathroom is waiting for you to scrub the algae out of the toilet, you slattern.” “Your body is waiting for you to for you to lose that 15 pounds, you slob.”
It was bad enough when the share-your-status prompt changed to, “What’s on your mind?” Facebook does not give a damn about what’s on my mind. Nobody but me really does, when it comes right down to it. Husband tries to take an active interest, since it’s in his best interests to do so. Sons #1 and #2 feign interest on occasion, as does Girlfriend of Son #1 (who actually fakes it better than the blood relatives. I appreciate this, since she’ll be choosing my nursing home one day). Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1 takes a very active interest, since the quality of his day is inextricably linked to my state of mind (“Will she feed me?” — he can gauge my goodwill by the way the water in his bowl vibrates when I walk past).
From vibrations I pick up, there are even folks worried about what’s on my mind for fear of evisceration on this blog. Be of good cheer, I say unto them! We O’Brien women just make Polite Suggestions for the Personal Betterment of Others. We never actually say what we think (although I seem to be getting better at that).
Andrew Anderson, a 19-year-old clerk at a Florida Goodwill store, is facing a felony conviction because he gave unauthorized discounts to pitiful struggling families who came through his check-out line. He never pocketed a dime himself, and has offered to pay back the difference between the actual prices of Goodwill goods and the prices he charged. Andrew was not cutting deals for thrift-store bargain hunters like me, who sort through the sad shabby stacks for designer brands. He was helping people who came into the store wearing all the clothes they owned. He was moved by compassion. He was filled with goodwill.
So here we are again, rummaging around in the gray areas of ethics. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and in between those blacks and whites are fifty shades of maybe – maybe right is sometimes wrong, and wrong is sometimes right.
Goodwill fired the boy – and rightly so. He violated the terms of his employment. Goodwill then filed formal charges with the local sheriff, who had him arrested for grand theft. The company is intent on pressing charges. “Our stores are not around to give a handout — they’re around to give people a hand up by providing funding,” spokeswoman Kirsten O’Donnell said. “In incidents like this, we always prosecute.” I must grudgingly admit that I admire her ‘handout/hand up’ sally. But a good-hearted shortsighted kid has been thrown into a major-league legal quagmire as if he had stolen from an aged ailing widow or a church.
Meanwhile, three members of a Louisiana family have indeed been arrested for stealing from a church in St. Tammany Parish — and then selling the swag at a yard sale a block away.
When questioned by police, all three admitted that Olivia and Clariese Jones went inside the church building on Sept. 12 and took music equipment, water coolers, electronics and generators while Paul Mikell waited outside in his vehicle.
Clariese Jones was booked on unrelated charges after sheriff’s deputies stopped the car for traffic violations, whereupon Paul and Olivia proceeded to sell several of the stolen items to make bail for Clariese.
Here’s the thing: After Clariese was released on bail, she and Olivia went back to the church to rob it again.
I know that God in his infinite wisdom does not see fit to bless us all with the same intellectual gifts. But how can anyone be that dumb-ass stupid? You’d think God would be embarrassed – we’re all judged by our works, after all, and The Creation is one of his (Haydn handled it much better). These three motley fools are made in God’s image? Do we really want to go there?
We’ll go back to Facebook. I log dutifully on for the sake of my sister, who is suffering the stigma of public neglect at my hands. Perhaps Facebook writes to her as well as to me: “Your bitch of a sister obviously doesn’t care about you. Share on your homepage if you agree!”
Here is what the God of Social Networking is waiting to impart to me from his burning bush:
“I’ve heard about but never seen until now — squashed armadillos on the Texas highways.”
My sister did not post this. She lives in New Hampshire – they do not have armadillo problems in New Hampshire. I could have gone many months without thinking about flattened Texan armadillos. Many years, probably. My remaining years, actually. Why did someone take the time to send that remark out to the world? Why did the world (and I) take the time to read it? Why did 10 people add comments? How stupid are we all becoming?
That’s not a rhetorical question:
Iowa is now allowing folks who are legally or completely blind to get gun permits and to carry weapons in public. Polk County officials say they’ve issued permits to people who can’t legally drive and were unable to read or sign the application forms.
Now, I will defend the rights of the disabled with my dying breath (which I may draw sooner than anticipated if I happen to travel through Iowa). Some of my best friends are disabled. Really, they are. But this is just plain stupid. This is sell-that-stolen-church-merch-at-a-yard-sale-next-door stupid.
“I’m not an expert in vision,” Delaware County Sheriff John LeClere said. “But if you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.” He may be on to something. Even Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, says that guns may be a rare exception to his philosophy that blind people can participate fully in life. He may be on to something, too.
This is not a fuzzy gray ethical area. This is black and white, good and bad, right and wrong. This is common sense. We’re not talking Pin the Tail on the Donkey, here. We’re not playing Blind Man’s Bluff. Maybe we need to get Facebook to start nagging Iowans: “Tag, you’re it! We’re all waiting for you to respond to this lunacy.”