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Friday, July 22, 2011

When I Make a Tweeter

Yesterday afternoon, my world came to a dizzying, traumatic, abrupt and despairing halt. Used to be, it was the 3 a.m. phone call that brought us to our knees with news of calamity or tragedy. We're barely awake, unable to comprehend the enormity of the words being spoken to us.

These days, our phones light up and there's a little "bop-bop!" or "be-doonk" noise or, if they're on vibe, that disconcerting "vvvvvvvv-vvvvvvvv" going on in your pocket. And you pull the phone out and you look at that little indicator light, blinking its insistent orange or red or green or whatever it happens to be. Flashing, like an emergency light in the night.


Something's wrong.

It's just, I don't know, different from any other mundane text message you get from your friend who wants to go back-and-forth for two days exchanging "Royal Tenenbaum" quotes (Chas: "HEY! Are you LISTENING to me!?" Royal: YES, I AM! I think you're having a nervous BREAKDOWN!") you know, somehow you know, that this text message is the big one.

I got it yesterday afternoon at 3:49pm, Eastern Standard Time. It was from my father. He knows that I get out of work at exactly 3:00pm every day, and he knows that my commute lasts for 45 minutes. That classy sonofabitch doesn't waste a hot-shit minute.

I looked at my Blackberry's little indicator light (mine's red) and, as it flashed with urgency, I thought to myself-- this is bad news.

Thing is, it wasn't.

It wasn't bad news at all. What it was was the. single worst thing a 31-year-old man can ever hear from his father, in the year 2011:

"Pls call me when u have a chance
question about twitter"

And my face went white. I mean, it's not like I was standing in front of a mirror, watching myself react to this, but, like, you know what it feels like when you get blanched like that, when the blood drains from your facial capillaries. My stomach also dropped an inch or two. Fortunately, I was sitting on the toilet when I received this email, which is a good thing, because, when my stomach dropped that inch or two, some shit fell out, too.

Don't make that face, Prudie Tudie. It would have happened to you, too.

They say that, when children reach a certain age, the roles of helper and helpee (yeah, that's not a word, I got it) reverse and the child is supposed to assist the parent(s) through the process of aging, decaying and, eventually, dying. I suppose offering assistance as to the specifics of things like Facebook and Twitter ought to be included somewhere in there, but I find myself uncomfortable in the role of technical navigator/advisor-- more than uncomfortable: inept.

No. Not inept.


Unwilling as I am to assist my aging, Israeli father in the how's and why's of the digital, online age, I dialed his number after only taking a few precious minutes to recover from the substance of his text message.

What did he want to know about Twitter, I inquired.

Oh, you know, how do people answer when I make a Tweeter? he asked. Do they need some kind of phone number?


  1. Direct him to this link


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