Friday, July 6, 2012


Kids. They’re funny, aren’t they? They do funny things, say funny things, they’re funny little people, right? Take this blog for instance. I try to write funny stuff here, sometimes with success, sometimes with stunning failure. Some of the funniest stuff I’ve written here, however, has to do with my son, whom I call Handsome. Sometimes it's all about him, and he isn't even there...

The other day I was at work and I stopped for lunch. Now, I don’t go anywhere for lunch, not a sandwich shop or a store, or anything like that. As some of you may recall I used to go to the library for lunch sometimes, but I’ve stopped doing that as well. I now go to the same place every day: the park that’s on my route. There’s a shady spot where I can park the truck, and someone’s wireless network for me to borrow. I frequently just swivel sideways in the driver’s seat and open my computer to work on something for a half-hour or so before returning to work.

This was my plan the other day — to work on a story I’m currently editing. I was prepared: I had the hard copy of the story with all my mark-ups and crossing out already done, all I had to do was type these corrections into the story itself. I’d pulled over in this lovely spot to get a big chunk of that done, but first, as is my habit, I decided to check my email.

Now, a word about email.

Handsome has his own email account. I set it up for him, and I monitor it. Well, that is to say I get an auto-forwarded copy of every email he receives He has a copy, and I have a copy. I explained this to him when I set up the account for him, and he was okay with it then. He still appears to be okay with it, and it’s a good thing, because I’m not planning to change it any time soon. I know that eventually he’ll be making his own email accounts and I’ll lose this monitoring ability, but for the moment it helps keep me sane. I don’t see his outgoing messages, only those sent to him.

Now, I started this account for him when he was eight years old, and as a parent I look at it this way: on one side of the monitor is my lovely innocent sweet little boy (Yes, I know he’s about 125 lbs and can lift me up. Shut up. He’s always going to be my little boy.) while on the other side of the monitor is every deviant, pedophile, weirdo and whack-job in the world, all slavering at the prospect of starting an electronic relationship with my little boy.

It’s even worse since I have a writer’s imagination, and a horror writer’s imagination at that! This means that in the blink of an eye I can follow the imagined chain of events of such an electronic relationship all the way from “Well, hello there little man, would you like to be my friend?” to “It rubs the lotion on its skin, it does this whenever it is told.”

 It’s enough to make a grown man gibber!

So anyway, back to the other day. I pulled into my favorite spot at the park, pulled out my laptop and logged into the internet to check my email.

Now, a word about the internet.

The internet is a terrific thing. Fantastic. I love it, especially as a writer — look at this blog, for example.

As a parent, however, it makes me gibber.

For instance, Handsome has a FaceBook account. I set it up for him (why do I keep doing these things that later drive me insane? Oh yes, because Handsome makes big blue puppy-dog eyes. That’s right, I’d forgotten.) so he could play ‘Words With Friends’ with his mother. I was actually excited — he wanted to play a word game, one that could potentially be educational! I set up the account and the two of them just played away, happy as a pair of clams. I was happy too, until the next day when I pulled in to my spot at the park and checked FaceBook.

Handsome, apparently frustrated at not being able to figure out certain aspects of FaceBook on his own, had posted a video of himself, asking for help! It was wide open and public, and featured my sweet little boy looking at the camera with his big blue eyes and saying “…so anyone out there, please help me!”

In my mind, every deviant, pedophile, weirdo and whack-job in the world with a FaceBook account -- which is to say every deviant, pedophile, weirdo and whack-job in the world -- was wiping the drool off his chin, smiling big, and typing “Well, hello there little man, I’d love to help you! Would you like to be my friend?”

I gibbered.

I called the house and got Handsome on the phone. I ascertained that there was just the one video and talked him through removing it from FaceBook. I believe I sounded calm and rational; I wasn’t upset, no, not at all! Meanwhile, inside, there was a whole lot of yelling and running about with waving arms going on. It wound up being handled, quite easily, actually, and my heart rate returned to normal. His FaceBook settings have been changed to limit (quite a bit) who gets to see what from him, as well as who can get to him.

So anyway, back to the other day. I parked, checked my email, and saw this:

Congratulations, [Handsome]! With your first video now uploaded, you're ready to go even deeper into the YouTube experience. Here are some tips to help get you started.

I would like to tell you at this point that I somehow evacuated a chunk of square building material, but I can’t. That would indicate that I soiled my pants, and that would be inaccurate. My sweet little boy was posting videos on YouTube, the trolling ground for every deviant, pedophile, weirdo and whack-job in the world.

I soiled my entire truck.

There was no link in the email leading to the video it was referencing, so I went directly to YouTube. I couldn’t find anything. I had no idea what was in the video he'd posted, and I was starting to gibber. Luckily, while I was frantically searching, someone responded to his video on YouTube, and he got an email about it. The email contained a link to see the comment, which was attached to video, and I could follow it there.

To make a long story short (yes, I know, way too late for that) I found that he’d posted three videos. Two were of him sitting in the kitchen and explaining something about a game he plays. I wasn’t happy they were there, but these videos were basically harmless. The third one, however, was an old video he’d made when he first got the laptop and was just playing with the camera. It was of him, in the same kitchen, dancing with the large stuffed pig that he won at the fair last year.

You heard me. A pig.

It was an innocent little dance, and it was just a kid having fun and goofing around. Some of those dance moves with the pig, though, if viewed in the right light… were a little evocative. If you were of the right frame of mind. I'll leave it at that.

In my mind I heard millions of fingers striking millions of keys, all tapping out the same message: “Well, hello there little man, would you like to be my friend?”

I soiled the entire interior of my truck again. Explosively.

I got on the phone.

Needless to say, editing work on my story was done that day.

It’s all been handled now. Media has been deleted from YouTube. Handsome has been talked to about posting things on the internet. I have changed my clothes and hosed out the inside of my mail truck.

Life goes on.

…at least, it’s going on until the next time that adventurous little so-and-so does something else on the internet that stops my heart.

I can hardly wait.

Talk to you later!

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