I have this very handy app on my phone called MightyText. You put it on your phone, link it to your computer, and you can answer texts directly from your laptop without having to pick up your phone which of course also displays the messages. Texts people send you show up on your computer screen and you can read scan them while you are doing what are (usually) more important tasks or answer them right away. I can also use the keyboard instead of swype typing. I am not good at Swyping, which on occasion has caused me to text “why don’t you stick it where the sun doesn’t shine” instead of “sure! I would be happy to help you with that.” Or something like that. We’ve all done it. Anyway…
…what follows is still unfolding, since it just started this morning. I got my first cup of coffee, went into my home office, and brought the screen up on my laptop. While I was waiting for my emails to load I looked at the text messages I had received overnight, including the following, which nestled among the others like a brown recluse spider hiding in a closet full of Christmas sweaters:
Stop playing with my grandchild.
Now…I am what might generally be described as a hermit. I avoid talking to anyone if I am able and can stay comfortably in my house and yard for days at a time without leaving the premises. I don’t do things like coach the local grade school wrestling team, play a clown at parties, offer to take the neighborhood kids up to Dairy Queen, or hang around the city parks offering to push children on swings. So…my initial thought was…“Why me?” I waited a minute to see if a SWAT team would come busting in through the front door, confiscate my computer (all of the above notwithstanding, I really don’t want my computer confiscated) and frog march me into a van where I would be driven downtown and thrown into the bowels of what has been mislabeled as the “Franklin County Hall of Justice.” Which is my I am writing this from my ce…just kidding. Nothing happened. After a minute or two I calmed down. Usually when I hear hoofbeats I don’t think that it’s herd of zebras; the thinking part of my brain kicked in and I came to the conclusions that 1) the message was sent to me in error and 2) the person who sent it was in any event concerned about a potentially devastating situation involving a child. I decided to contact them. I did not recognize the originating text number; I have learned that people who initially contact you are more comfortable if you respond via the same medium, so I replied by texting the following:
Either 1) you texted your message to the wrong number (mine) or 2) there is a grievous misunderstanding here, but I have absolutely no idea who you are or what you are talking about. In any event, your text has been misdirected. If you have texted to the wrong number, you might want to send it to the intended party. If you think I have anything to do with your grandchild, you are wrong. Contact me directly and out in the open. I am more than willing to assuage any concerns you might have. I am a grandparent myself and can sympathize. Kind regards.
As I write this (Friday evening, EDT) I have not received a response. While waiting, however, I got to thinking…what would have happened if my door had gotten knocked in by the local gendarme, and I had been arrested, and the police found all sorts of reprehensible crap on my computer that I had not downloaded to it, but, by gum it was there, and the complaining person was someone who, as it turned out, I knew very well indeed? From the “who” and the ‘what” I got to the “why” and the “how” in fairly short order (the “when” is kind of irrelevant at this point). I started streaming a first page, then a second, and then a third, then realized that I had better start an outline, given that there are so many different ways to go with this (which is why I don’t mind sharing this little gem of an idea with you). I don’t know where this story will go, whether it will wind up with its feet propped up on a railed balcony in New Orleans’ French Quarter or end up with a broken axle by the side of road in Cut Off, Louisiana, but it’s going somewhere.
What I would like from you is five dollars to crowdsource this effort. Not really. I would like for you to share the oddest text you have ever received, either in error or by design. Please. And thank you.