Take your best shot, roll with the punches



Do you remember Picture Day?

No matter how hard you tried to look your best, those pictures still come back to haunt you. Your mother cut your bangs crooked or she made you wear some awful thing, and then she sent you off to school for Picture Day.

It is now a permanent record in the school yearbook to remind you, years later, of those days.

One day, you grow up and have children, and then they have children. Your grandchild takes your picture, sends it out from his computer, and it goes viral. Now, the whole world sees you in your worse moment.

During the holidays, we had a house full of family. Of course, every moment was a Kodak moment. Our annual family portrait was no exception. We have two recluses in the family. Looking at the final poses, we noticed everyone was clustered close together, except one. He was standing three feet away from the group. He will remind us one day that he was not included in the family, and never was.

Then, there was the moment of viral exposure. For Christmas, my son bought me an iPad4. My son and grandson (16) began the process of registering it and proceeded to teach me how to use it. They thought it was funny that I know so little about all this new technology.

Of course, they took advantage of the moment.

My grandson installed Instagram and said, “This is an example.” He grabbed his baseball cap, turned it sideways, plopped it on my head, and took a picture of me.

I said, “What are you doing?”

He said, “It’s just for us to see. It’s just an example.”

“Are you putting this on Facebook?”

“No, Grandma.”

My son reached over and hit “Share.” I still don’t know if the whole world saw that ridiculous picture. The day before, he took a picture of me in all my excitement with my new iPad. I didn’t know it, but he put it on Facebook.

My other grandson (17) came into the house and said, “All my friends saw your Facebook photo and they thought you were hot.”

“What? It was on Facebook? That was a terrible picture.”

“Grandma, you’re famous. You’ve already had 21 hits.”

I’m thinking: I’m an old woman, is this really happening to me? My grandson said his friends thought I was hot. What is “hot” in the mind of a seventeen year old boy?

I can only imagine.

I asked my grandson, “Did all my friends see that picture, too?”

He said, “Grandma, your friends are not the same as your followers. You have 500 friends, but you have only three followers.”

What does that mean? What’s the difference between friends and followers? It’s one more thing I have to learn.

My mind is on overload and is about to explode. How did I get here with all this new technology and four teenage grandchildren who know more than I do? I have to rely on them to teach me.

They love playing around with all this stuff. They think it’s funny that I don’t know anything about it.

My granddaughter said, “Grandma, don’t call it an iMac. Just say ‘Mac.’”

I said, “Okay, I’ll remember to say ‘Mac.’”

We have all laughed until we cried, but mostly the joke has been on me.

My son posted on Facebook, “My Mother is a nutcase.” He posted this the day he left for the Philippines: “My Dad is the most beautiful man I know.”

Go figure.

I think they are getting back at me for all the stories I’ve told on them.

It would be easier to grow old in front of the television, but I’ve got to give this life my best shot and roll with the punches. I’ve still got too many books, stories, articles, art and ideas to stop. Now, I’m hooked on all this new-fangled technology, and I can’t do without it either.

Final brushstroke: My family has exposed me to the world. I don’t think there is an end to it. My picture is no longer in a yearbook tucked away on some dusty shelf, now it’s on everyone’s computer and iPad. What next?

This story was posted on January 10, 2013.