Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I Should Not Report the News

In my never ending quest to understand the human fascination with always being connected, I spotted this small story on the MSNBC news page. Another reminder that having the World at our fingertips every waking moment may not be such a good thing. As a matter of fact, many of America's less than noble habits are encapsulated into this news piece. Eating habits, dark secrets, an insane need to be connected at all times, and litigation all come together in one short story of a couple who now feel the need to find a new home.

Lessons are there to be learned. But not by the plaintiffs. Responsibility for one's mistakes lost as another couple decide that what happened to them was someone else's fault.

This mild mannered couple sit down to have a sumptuous meal of grease served up on foreign beef and bleached flour buns. They pick a favorite eatery for this handsome repast. They are sure their privacy will not be violated in this public space. Per usual, one of them sets their cell phone within easy reach. Missing a phone call, any phone call would certainly ruin the rest of their day. How they ever got by without being hooked up and tapped in every waking moment often runs through their minds.

Small conversations pass between this idyllic modern couple as the juice runs down their chins and they reach for those over sized sodas filled with ice by their own hands at the sparkling soda dispensing station just to their right. Here in the space of a ten foot stainless steel counter, the impressive variety of different flavored carbonated water to pick from lets them know the true meaning of being an American. Freedom of choice laid out in front of them and reinforcing their assertion they do indeed live in the grandest of all places.

Smiling sometimes at each other's humorous repartee, they enjoy their brief break from the frantic existence that is their life. Satiated and composed, the couple deposit their trays dutifully at the tray depository found above the numerous plastic bins that say, "We recycle" on them. Happy and content, they leave and proceed with their day. Like any other day. As they push towards the exit through crowds waiting in line for their own slice of burger heaven, they do not realize that their lives will soon be part of the public domain.

Some days later or sooner, a friend, a colleague, or casual acquaintance relays some horrifying news to this couple. In their haste or mindless satisfaction upon leaving the famous eatery the other day, they must have left their cell phone on the table. And because of their fascination with anything electronic, they had naturally utilized all the options on said cell phone. Of these options, the one that would later haunt them and force them to take their case to court, was the capacity of the phone to take and hold any image they so desired.

Now I am of the mind that what people view on their own time is their business. The fact that this couple's phone had been utilized to store images of the Missus in various states of undress is between them. Who am I to pass judgement on the need for the Mister to have these images at hand every waking hour? The why of it is again, between them. But now and forever, the naked pictures have made it to...........the Internet! For as long as electricity flows through the grid of Mankind, these images will be there for any or all to view at the click of a mouse.

Imagine their embarrassment. Consider their intimate secrets now part of the World Wide Web. Put yourself in their shoes. Oh the horror and shame. Not being able to face your co-workers. Always wondering if the Internet time they poach while in their cubicles is not the porn from some site in LA, but the pictures of your wife taken in the bedroom down the street. It would be awful. (Forgive me a moment............I just blew coffee through my nose. Uh, wait a second.....okay, I am better now)

Feeling violated, this couple has sought comfort in the loving hands of lawyers. Seeking to find some emotional and fiscal compensation for their self inflicted embarrassment. They have indicated their lives have been ruined and now must move to avoid the awkward moments at the grocery store, the hardware store , and of course that famous eatery they so enjoyed much of the time. It would be logical and their right in suing the burger joint. Looking for the deepest pockets to pick to smooth out the ruffled edges of their lives is the American thing to do. Finding fault somewhere else instead of looking inside.

I have tried for at least a moment to find some sympathy inside myself for this couple's unfortunate situation. I was not successful. I had to find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.


Bull said...

Amen, shipmate.

Zero sympathy. If your minor property is worth protecting, it's up to YOU to protect it.

But I do have one very salient question to the case at hand.

Is she hot?

Dawn on MDI said...

I have very few hard and fast rules in my life, but one of them is this: never, never, NEVER let anyone take a picture of you naked. Break-ups happen, thefts happen, stuff gets lost, hearts get broken, and shit ends up on the 'net. Embittered ex-lovers show great groups of friends the solo porn movie made for her to ease those long business trips, eeeegads. The things people have done! People I know, even! Yikes! But fortunately, blessedly, thankfully, I am not on that list. Thank god. The world of electronic digital images makes things scarier still. More access means more opportunity for grave error.

As for sympathy for this couple? Um, NO. Take pictures at home, put them on your computer if you like, e-mail them to your mom for all I care, but to put them on a device that you carry with you?!?! How dumb is that!?! Upon further thought, what do you suppose is on the hard drive of this guy's computer? Good thing that wasn't left at McBurger. Probably has video. Asshats.

Middle Ditch said...

I had to laugh out loud reading this. No sympathy here either. How stupid are they? Actually I might just go and have a look and another laugh.

Randal Graves said...

HA! What a perfect take on this slice of modern absurdity.

Demeur said...

Strange but there are those in their late teens and early twenties who brag about and show off their trophy cell phone shots.
I guess the times are changing. The nearest thing we came to this in my day was some sexy talk on the CB but back then it was self regulating.
With the NSA keeping copies of all phone transmissions who would be dumb enough to think cell phones, emails and the like are a private matter?

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Tryin' to care, tryin' to care, tryin' to care, tryin' to care... nope, sorry. Just not happening.

I didn't read the article - it would have been a monumental disappointment after your description - but I sure hope Mr. and Mrs. Mobile Telephone lose the case.

Tom Harper said...

I saw that same article. What in the F%$# is that couple's reasoning in suing the restaurant where they left their cell phone? That's absurd.

Other than that, very amusing story. And every illustrative of modern American life.

Joe the Homeless said...

I did enjoy your account of the incident and your attempt to stir up some fuckin sympathy, but no need you ol fuckin softy, that dickhead is probably makin a fuckin book deal as you read and his wife is posing for a fuckin coffee table book or a goddam "cell phone naked wife" calendar. He don't need no goddam lawyer, he needs a fuckin agent.
this is America.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Please consider writing about a forgotten book for my blog. I post both reviews and links every Friday. Patti Abbott.

BBC said...

Ah, as someone else has already pointed out, the word between sex and syphilis is sympathy.

Well they won't get any from me, they did it and they should just own up to it.

If I had done something like that I would just say something like, "Yup, that's us, you like?"

It's bullshit that people are what they are and then try to act innocent when they get caught.

Christians are always pulling that crap.

There are women on the internet that have naked pictures of me, and I have pictures of them.

But I have never shared those pictures with others, and as far as I know they have never posted mine.

But if they did I would just admit that it was me and ask others what they thought of me naked, after all, I'm not in bad shape for my age.

And even if they did get small and post them I still wouldn't post their pictures. I'm just not inclined to be that small.

They sent those pictures to me in good faith and I won't break it.

BBC said...

You must be old enough to remember the old AT&T commercials. "Reach out, reach out and touch someone."

These days it's, Reach out, reach out and fuck someone. Ha ha ha.

MRMacrum said...

Bull - The Mister must think so.

Dawn - Asshats indeed. What will add the ridiculous to this sublime is if McDonalds gives them money.

Middle Ditch - I just love real life stories. More times than not they are indeed funnier than anything a writer could think up.

Randal - Not often do this many absurdities align themselves in such a perfect way.

Demeur - Yes, I think the expectation of privacy in a McDonalds is pushing the envelope. Nevermind what the NSA is doing.

El Cerdo Ignatius - This is the US. People are rewarded for their own stupidity every day. Even if they might lose the case, Mickey D might decide to settle instead of going to trial.

Tom Harper - All the ingredients for a classic tale of American flaws in action.

Joe the Homeless - I am sure his lawyers have looked into the agent for him. Of course it all depends on Bull's question though - Is she Hot? If not, this dies once the first agent takes a peek.

pattinase - Uh, um, okay. But if they are forgotten how am I to remember them? Must be a trick question.........Yeah okay, thanks for the invite. After reading some, I am wondering if I can measure up.

BBC - Well I guess it was more acceptable back in my mom's day to say "between shit and syphilis" than using the "S" word. There was no sex in the 1950s. All I know is when coming in bleeding or having acquired some new contusion, "If you want some sympathy, here, look it up. You'll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary." And she would hand me a dictionary.

Odd that. I never noticed until a friend mentioned to me one day, "Why do you have so many dictionaries in the house?" I had never thought about it much until then. A dictionary in every room was normal I thought. My parents were crazed crossword people. More often than not I would find them in the living room or the kitchen, each with a cross word puzzle in hand, a drink next to them and a cigaret in their mouths.