Once upon a time, back in the olden days, the husband and I were engaged to be married. Because we wanted to ensure that we would stay madly in love forever, and the priest told us it was required and we didn’t have a choice, we received some pre-marital counseling. During this counseling we were told that there are two types of people in the world. There are people who go to a party, and when the party is over, they are excited to go to another party. And then there are people who go to a party, and when the party is over, they can’t wait to get home.
If we were getting married today I wouldn’t be surprised to find that these thoughts had been updated a bit. Today we would be told that there are two types of people in the world. There are the people who are in love with Facebook. And then there are the people who make fun of them.
Facebook is powerful and all knowing. I had an account under a fake name for a year and a half. Facebook still managed to use my email address to help friends find me. I couldn’t decide on my Facebook profile picture and changed it numerous times. Facebook told all of my new friends about my erratic behavior. Facebook tells me things about my friends too. Sometimes, things I’m not sure I want to know about. And once, I had to turn the computer off because Facebook saw me pee. You just can’t be too careful these days.
Facebook isn’t the only one watching however. My credit card company called and wondered why I had purchased a Fatburger in Canada. Netflix has put me into the documentary/musical/70’s TV show category. My grocery store sends me coupons for granola bars while my neighbor received coupons for macaroni and cheese. The teenager’s friends can’t sneak over to a boy’s house because a GPS tracker in their cell phone will tell their parents where they are. The bank surveillance camera took a picture of the guy that robbed the bank last week. Google’s new Latitude program can tell you exactly where someone is at any moment of the day. Tracking cookies, search engines and spyware can record every keystroke we make on our computer.
Zoom lenses on a paparazzo’s camera can record a celebrity sunbathing from half a mile away. Super zoom lenses on a satellite’s camera can tell if I need to mow my lawn. Employment, college and scholarship applications and even endorsement deals with Kellogg’s have all been denied because someone posted a photo online of someone behaving badly. If you are in an auto accident a data logger, which is on any modern car, can provide lawyers with evidence as to how fast you were going, if you applied the brakes and what gear you were in at the time of impact.
I’m not always comfortable with all of this new technology. I don’t usually want people to know every detail of my life. I don't like being secretly watched. Sometimes, I like to have a little privacy and a little technology downtime. Last Tuesday was such a day. I was going to go to bed early and read my super thrilling book about a British spy imbedded with Al Qaeda. As I went to turn the computer off I saw that at 10:42 AM, someone in Parow, South Africa, who has Windows NT, Firefox for a browser and a really big monitor, Googled the words “my turtle is always sleeping” and found their way to my blog. As I turned the phone off, I saw that my cousin had called 3 times, leaving a message only once. As I pulled the curtains shut I saw that the neighbor behind me was having dinner a bit later than usual-I think it was soup. As I locked the front door and looked out the front window, I saw that the scary boys across the street were smoking in the neighbor’s yard. As I picked up a magazine off the floor I saw that Tony Romo had cheated on Jessica Simpson with someone who hadn’t recently gained 7 pounds.
And as I went to turn the TV off I flipped through a few channels. I caught a glimpse of my favorite television preacher. I stopped to see what the topic of the day was. The preacher bellowed out from across my living room, “Modern technology keeps track of our every move. Your boss tracks your computer usage at work. Cameras take pictures when you run a red light. There could be pictures of you online right now that you don’t know about. Sometimes it feels like technology is watching us 24 hours a day. But I’m here to tell you, modern technology has nothing on the all powerful God in heaven who sees more than technology ever could. God sees all. Not one single thing you do will ever escape his eyes.”
I turned the TV off. I proceeded to walk upstairs to start my private, technology free evening. I opened up my book and started reading. God just watched. But as I sat there in bed my mind began to wander... I bet if God had a Facebook page he’d totally have the most Facebook friends EVER.
Check This Out!
This week the Slightly Exaggerated family thoroughly enjoyed the 1969 movie, Hello Dolly!. Directed by Gene Kelly it stars Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau and many other greats. We can’t stop singing the songs. If you haven’t seen it, you must. If you have seen it, watch it again.
The two very different songs of the week at Slightly Exaggerated are the PG-13 Guns N' Roses song, Sorry, off of their much delayed Chinese Democracy album and the much tamer Barry Manilow version of the classic song, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, off his album Singin’ With the Big Bands. Give them both a listen.