WORLD WIDE WEARY
LORI OSIECKI ILLUSTRATION
I ain’t no Harvard graduate, but I can spell, which is more than I can say for certain people I gave birth to, judging from the e-mails I been getting.
“Hey ma b4 you go 2 work would you iron my cheerleader vest I left next 2 my bed? Luv your fave daughter Gladiola.”
“Mom – Thx for allowance chck. Spent it on books & I got an emergency b-day present 2 buy 4 GF. Could I get ur mastercard #? xoxo Gargoyle”
For this I paid Catholic school tuition?
I reply “Yes” to the ironing and “No” to the emergency birthday present (third GF this semester) and I think to myself: I would never have got out of high school alive if I couldn’t write a sentence with actual words and a period at the end.
The nuns at Celibacy Academy saw to that. Unfortunately they had it in their heads that it was way more important for me to take Latin II than learn to type. They had no clue that in the future we would all be communicating with our thumbs.
And they also didn’t know that we would use keyboards arranged exactly like they used to be on the typewriters that I never learned to type on.
When computers came along, I taught my own self how to type with two fingers. My friend Awlette, who took a secretarial class and could type 60 words a minute without ever breaking a nail, informs me I’m doing it all wrong. It isn’t just that I use two fingers, but also I look directly at the keys while I’m typing. She says I’m supposed to look only at the screen, never the keyboard. My fingers will automatically hit the right keys, she says.
So I look only at the screen and type “Modine.” The screen reads “<pfomr.” I go back to looking at the keys. My fingers don’t know nothing.
And all these years later, I still look at the keys and not the screen, but I can pop off an e-mail in seconds. And I don’t break my nails either.
Last Monday morning, as soon as my son Gargoyle has left to go back to LSU with his backpack full of clean laundry after spending half the night using my computer for his schoolwork, I rush out a few e-mails.
I don’t know that my computer has gone screwy, and that every time I type the capital “I,” my e-mail reads “Miss Poopypants.” And I’m in too much of a hurry to notice.
My daughter Gladiola was sick last week, so I write an excuse to the principal of her school. It turns out to read:
“Miss Poopypants would appreciate it if you excuse Gladiola Gunch for being absent Friday. She had flu-like symptoms and looked like death warmed over. Miss Poopypants thought that she should not be around the other students. Thank you.”
Anybody else would have actually read this e-mail before they hit send, but nooo, not me. Instead, I get on my high horse and send a scathing letter to a certain political candidate:
“Dear Sir: If you want to know why Miss Poopypants will not vote for you, it is because of your recorded phone calls. Since you are too important to talk personally to the person whose dinner you interrupted, Miss Poopypants would like to be permanently removed from your phone list. Thank you.”
Then I send the same letter to his opponent.
That probably caused some hilarity at both headquarters. But I’m still writing.
I e-mail Awlette asking if Miss Poopypants can meet her for lunch; and write my cousin Luna saying Miss Poopypants can’t go to her Tupperware party but Miss Poopypants would like to order a new lettuce keeper.
Then my phone rings. It is Awlette, inquiring if I’m nuts.
That is how I find out.
So I’m in front of the computer, in the process of being hysterical, when Gargoyle just happens to call. I ask him, in a screech, if he knows any way you can suck e-mails back into your computer once you have sent them. He says no, but it sounds like I got TSMPPV, the Tourette’s Syndrome Miss Poopypants Virus, which inserts “Miss Poopypants” into everything you write. He says I should calm down, and he’ll skip his afternoon classes and come home and fix it.
He is so sweet, I decide to give him the emergency birthday present money.
Then my mother-in-law Ms. Larda calls up because she just talked to Luna, who thinks I’m disparaging her Tupperware party. So I explain it all, and she says that’s why she don’t even go near computers – all them viruses you can catch and probably that’s how the H1N1 flu spread so fast. I am too upset to argue.
That afternoon, Gargoyle shows up and actually gets it fixed. I give him a big hug, plus $40 for the birthday present. As soon as he leaves, I send out my own mass e-mail warning about TSMPPV and telling everybody to please forward it immediately to all their friends.
(I read it over before I send it.)
That night I get another shock. My son-in-law Slime, who’s a certified professional computer geek, calls up and tells me there’s no such thing as a TSMPPV virus. He says somebody in my house must have got into my computer settings and played a little trick on me.
Hmm. I guess Gargoyle’s allowance checks will be signed “Miss Poopypants” for a while.
Anyway, if you get an e-mail forwarded warning about the TSMPPV Virus, just forward it to the political candidate of your choice. They love hearing from you.