Mom: I found your “letter” (waves letter angrily). It was right there, so obviously stuck in your Science textbook at the bottom of your backpack at the back of the front hall closet under your winter coat. (rolls eyes at obviousness of it all). It practically fell right out. As if I was being divinely led to read it! (pauses to look up and give props to divine intervention)
Mom: Everything in this letter is about boys. You are not to write about boys. You are not to talk about boys or even think about boys. You are forbidden to have anything to do with boys. Right now, you are to focus on schoolwork so you can someday become a secretary. Or a teacher. Or a nurse. That is all. One of those three.
Mom: That is an order!
Mom: (changes tack and gives awkward side-arm hug) You can talk to ME about boys...(forces smile, backs towards door) Do you need to talk? Talk to me (exits, shuts door while talking) about anything! (runs down the stairs, voice fading) Anything!
So now I have some privacy issues. And mother issues. And privacy issues caused by mother issues. I am mature enough now to see that my mother wasn’t perfect, but that imperfection is quite common among mothers - normal, even! This revelation came, coincidentally, around the time I became a mother myself. So I still love my mom, of course. Besides, I like to think that her snooping was just a clever parenting trick to get me to think that I was so intriguing, that she just couldn't resist. A riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside of a...Cadbury egg? How does that go again? I should Google it.
I always make sure to (pointlessly) erase my search history. As if people wait until I go to bed...okay, she's gone!! and race to the computer to see what my online activity was that day. It would be kind of disappointing. They would only find out that I have an unnatural interest in what became of child stars, and that I really like fudge recipes (weird…she never makes fudge?)
I also make sure to have a strong password. It can’t just be "password" (so I've heard) or "1,2,3,4" (they say) No, it has to be complex. Try using "1,2,3,4" and a bossy little person types "not strong enough!!" until you add a $ or % or @. (random examples). Soon we'll all be expected to add a little cryptic doodle of our own design.
Completely relying on passwords to keep everything safe is still risky, though. I mean, these days we are expected to remember about 27 different passwords, a couple big handfuls of ten-digit phone numbers, and pin numbers to everything from your bank card to your PJ’s Pets discount card. You even have to know the number to the combination lock for a suitcase containing Halloween candy that you set up in order to keep it from tempting you throughout the day (but you have to pretend not to know). Of course, now you’re thinking you might die immediately if you can’t have your 10 am sugar fix and suddenly the number comes to you like as if in a dream...we've all been there, right? I'm there right now. Chocolate, anyone?
My point is – there’s a lot of numbers we are supposed to remember in our world. I want the security, but honestly - if I have to store even ONE more number in my brain, something will have to get bumped. It will probably be my Pinterest password. Then how on earth how am I supposed to access 30 of the most-pinned crock-pot recipes? The next 30 days will look bleak, supper-wise. What if I am forced to actually use that big thing in the kitchen…you know…the thing that gets really hot? It’s like a very large crock-pot? My sister calls it an oven. I know, right? Just “oven”. (not to be confused with the more common “microwave oven”)
Without Pinterest, I will have no idea how to organize my “small closet space” do any “small room decorating” and, probably worst of all…my empty toilet paper rolls will just be tossed! Instead of used in 18 handy ways I never thought possible. I need Pinterest, people.
I can’t talk about privacy without talking about that crazy Google. Oh, Google! You with the cute, goofy name and search bar suggestions...I mean, it's like you know me!! We finish each other's (Google: sandwiches...) YES! I was going to say sandwiches!
Sometimes I think Google is messing with me. I type in “ways to” and Google suggests, “Kill yourself? Commit murder? Hide a body?" Google! You need to calm down. Or I type in “recipes for” and Google suggests “losing weight? Staying young forever? Improving your love life? Um. I was going to say “chicken” but I’ll probably just go cry into my pillow now.
So, the bottom line. If you want complete privacy online? It’s simple. Don’t go online. Ever.
I say throw caution to the wind. Well, okay, I don't exactly say "throw" it. Use the internet, but keep caution right there on your monitor in a posty-note as a constant reminder. Also - have nothing to hide. See? Simple.
Note: I go by just “Judy”. Like Pink and Moby. And Raffi. And Yanni. And The Biebs. It has nothing to do with privacy regarding my last name. I simply dropped it. I don't even remember it myself. If you must know, I’ll have to ask my daughters and get back to you.