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.