Welcome to the old zone, friends

Published 8:28 pm Saturday, March 7, 2009

My surrogate children decided that I needed a personal e-mail account.

Why, for heaven’s sake?

The reason was simple.

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I might have something that I didn’t want anybody to see.

Well, what I need to hide, nobody would want to see anyway so I thanked them for their interest and concern, but I would pass on a personal e-mail account.

But they would have it no other way. I was to have a personal e-mail account.

First, I had to come up with a name.

It didn’t have to be my real name.

That makes sense.

If you’ve got things to hide, you don’t want to give your real name.

So I decided on “puddintane” but somebody already had that so I had be “puddintane2” but somebody had that, too, so “just add your birthday.”

So, I tried “puddintane13.” But 13’s an unlucky number.

“Add the year.”

I added 1960. I didn’t see anything funny about that.

I was getting this personal e-mail to hide things.

Then, I had to put in a password.

Little blocks popped up where the letters should be – real secretive.

The surrogate children didn’t tell me that I had to remember the password.

They should have told me that.

Next, for security, I had to copy the letters and numbers that appeared in a box.

These were not normal letters and numbers like ZP8QY6X.

They were all mashed together and twisted and turned.

Some were up high and some were down low. Some were stretched and some were squished.

I do not read hieroglyphics so I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

I couldn’t copy it.

One of the surrogates sighed and copied it for me.

So, “puddintane131960” was all set up with a personal e-mail account and ready to share deep dark secrets with other folks with made up names.

“Have you used your personal e-mail account?” the surrogate children asked a few days later.

I couldn’t use it, not even if I wanted to.

I can’t remember the password.

But I didn’t mention that to them.

“Not yet,” I said in a tone that implied, “And, don’t ask me that again.”

But, nothing’s ever enough for today’s young people.

They always want more.

So, they decided I needed to get on Facebook.

Facebook is, and I quote, “a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.”

Sounds a lot like old-fashioned “talking” to me.

I protested.

“I see my friends all the time and talk to them on the phone,” I said.

“Sometimes I write cards. Stuff like that.”

“No. I don’t want to be on Facebook.”

Well, they got me on anyway.

“You can request friends and accept friends,” the surrogate child said.

“Soon, you’ll have lots of friends.”

I didn’t.

Nobody wanted me for a friend and I didn’t know how to get any.

Facebook’s a good way to develop low self-esteem.

“How many friends do you have?”


“Have you looked?”

I hadn’t.

I didn’t know how to look or where to look.

So my surrogate child looked for me.

“Oh, you have friends.”

“Look. Here’s so-and-so, they requested to be your friend.”

“Did you accept them? Oh, I’ll do it for you…”

She explained what I should do to be a friend magnet.

“You’re the oldest person on Facebook,” my used-to-be friend Mrs. Know-it-All said.

My next of kin concurred.

“Facebook is for young people.”

“ It’s not a place for ‘old’ people.”

Maybe there’s no place for old folks in today’s world.

Maybe we shouldn’t even be on this planet.

Perhaps, we should just all join hands and walk to the edge of the earth and jump off and float around in cyber space until we could form a colony of our own.

We could sit on the front porches of our houses and revive long lost traditions, like talking to each other face-to-face and doing something called visiting … and live happily ever after — there in the Old Zone in the sky.

Jaine Treadwell is features editor for The Messenger. She can be reached at jaine.treadwell@troymessenger.com or by phone at 670-6302.