May 28, 2024
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I’m about to send $20 as a donation to my granddaughter’s volleyball team. I just thought you’d want to know.

I don’t know why you’d want to know, but evidently people are interested in these kinds of things.

Just so you’ll know, I am also wearing sandals as I am writing this (at home) rather than my other footwear alternatives. Don’t worry. I’ll let you know the moment I change shoes later, lest you be left wondering.

Are you thinking that I’ve had some sort of brain bleed? Writing more incoherently than usual?

I don’t blame you.

But I’ve flown the paragraphs above just to help myself try to figure out why so very many people are flying this sort of stuff around these days.

Please continue to indulge me.

I will send my donation to my sweet granddaughter’s volleyball team via a “mobile payment service” app which makes it possible to pay for things, send money, etc., via your phone.

It’s kinda handy. Once set up, it really is quick and easy to use. Yes, you could (if you’re over 30 or so and still know how to write a check, lick an envelope, and stick on a stamp), just pay the old-fashioned way. But I readily admit that the modern way is faster, more efficient, and has the advantage of letting older folks who know how to do this feel superior to older folks who don’t. We all like to run with the cool kids. Cool marches on. Keeping up is futile. Oh, well.

This payment method works. But what is strange to me is that the default setting on this app is for users’ transactions to be “public.” That means that you can see when one of your friends pays someone for coffee, or a truck, or a voice-over, or fuzzy house shoes, or a rhubarb pie, or . . . anything they care to mention. And mentioning is the default.

That seems weird to me. I don’t really mind my friends knowing that I’m making a donation (because I love my granddaughter) or that I paid somebody to detail my truck (because I’m lazy). But I don’t especially need them to know. It just feels like “too much.”

We’ve become, of course, a nation of voyeurs. Instead of freak shows, we have “reality” TV (freakishly unreal). We just sit glued to our screens watching folks, many of whom, ironically, are so cosmetically pinched, pulled, augmented, dyed, sprayed, botoxed, tatted, plasticized, and lacquered, that if anything genuine is left, it’s purely accidental.

We “share” for all the world to see. Pick a social media outlet and, here ya go. This friend or “friend” or the whole internet can know if you chose a brown pair of shoes over a blue pair, or a blueberry bagel over a plain one. If this catches on with the older crowd, I guess we could let all of our friends know whether we chose unflavored pre-colonoscopy liquid laxative or the lemon flavor.

TMI. At least, it seems so to me. Too much information.

Just so you’ll know, I turned the “Let Everybody and Their Dog Know” default button on that payment app to OFF.

I think it’s sort of funny, what we let/want people to know. I think it’s also kind of sad, in a way. I also think it may be a more serious symptom than we realize.

If we’re awash in that which is incredibly shallow, what are we missing that is genuinely deep? And, when we should be minding our own business (the business of living life wisely and spending the moments of our lives in ways that are a blessing and that matter), how much time have we wasted (or worse) peeping through windows people throw open as they “over-share” and literally waste or trivialize life itself?

If we don’t care about privacy or respect the kind of positive boundaries that make for civility, what have we traded away cheaply? What have we lost that we didn’t realize was precious?

I wonder. Even as I quickly admit that some of the “fun” stuff on social media is just fun. But balance is good.

These are not the words of a closed-in, walled-off person. I talk too much. Get off track. Focus on the frivolous. And that is exactly why some privacy settings turned ON make both the world and me better.

I also know that God knows everything there is to know about me and still loves me completely. To him, I’m an open book. Every day. Every moment.

And that’s good. He’s my Father. Just a prayer, not a tweet, away.

Curtis K. Shelburne, Columnist


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