I received a text from a friend today. I’ll call him Melvin to protect his identity. I’m not terribly concerned that he would either punch or sue me, and quite frankly, if you read my blog regularly, you’ll easily figure out who it is. I’m just trying to manage my social media with a little more decorum these days.
I’m not going to bore you with a treatise on the pitfalls of social media. We all see it every day from accidentally doing a “Reply All” to a snarky email to people ending their careers with grossly inappropriate tweets and Facebook messages. Still, a review of some of my own personal faux pas might give you some context.
There was the time I texted a friend about his PSA test results from a recent doctor visit regarding his prostate. The error came when I inadvertently sent the text to a female neighbor who clearly had no prostate. Hilarity ensued. I also have a habit of commenting on my kids Facebook posts with the sole goal of getting “likes” from their friends. This typically drives my kids crazy, sometimes to the point of their own posts begging their friends to stop encouraging me.
Autocorrect is a big source of social media gaffes. I recently had an acquaintance try to praise an entire thread of comments by saying “Infinite likes to all of you!” The problem was that their use of “Infinite” was autocorrected to “Infinitesimal”, which indicates a quite opposite sentiment. When I pointed out the error, she said she was using voice input and recently had the embarrassment of having “honored” corrected to “hammered”.
My first of two issues today was of the autocorrect variety. My friend, Melvin, sent me the following text…
“Dude, I’m at the eye doctor and the woman across from me has the most impressive breasts.”
Now, in Melvin’s defense, he acknowledges that at time we can both be pigs. We are also getting up there in age, so it’s sometimes comforting to know that we still have a dribble of testosterone coursing through us. Also, Melvin would never invade anyone’s privacy by ogling or even worse, taking a photo. He was just killing time enjoying the view.
The part of his message that I found interesting was that he was at the eye doctor. I decided that I would join him in the gutter and texted him back the following…
“They should put tits on the eye chart. No man would ever need glasses.”
I’ll admit that it wasn’t my best work, but it would be sure to get a chuckle from Melvin, and probably by a significant portion of the male population. Unfortunately, the response from Melvin was one of confusion.
“Tots? What are you talking about?”
Apparently the dictionary for my phone’s texting capability did not contain the particular euphemism that I had chosen for my comment. It had replaced it with “Tots”. Besides ruining the spontaneity of my bit, my message went from being funny to many men, to being applicable to a much smaller group…pedophiles.
“They should put tots on the eye chart. No man would ever need glasses.”
Had I sent this out on Twitter, I’d be looking at 20 years.
My pledge to be more careful lasted about two hours. I was on Facebook, and saw that one of my daughters started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a small business idea. This idea would appeal primarily to liberals, idealists, and hipsters, and as expected, many of her friends sent their support through “likes” and comments.
I decided to have a bit of fun and added the comment…
“You want me to fund you? I paid for your fucking braces!”
Again, not a top ten bit, but the message and gratuitous language was calculated to get the most laughs from the young crowd. The problem was that not a minute after I posted this, I received a response from my daughter’s mother-in-law. This woman is the most genteel of southern belles and one of the last people in whose presence I would use profanity.
I will continue to write plays, novels, blogposts, and many other things. I also expect that I will make the occasional error. I just hope that people continue to have a sense of humor.