Why Sandra Tsing Loh is on Facebook.
I am on Facebook NOT so much for my WRITING career, or to interface with other Democrats, but MOSTLY to spy on the relatively BENIGN world of my keyboard-tapping children and their out-of-town cousins.
It’s typically a SLEEPY, as-innocuous-as-a-Christmas-letter WORLD of angsting about the PAPER due tomorrow while QVELLING about the latest funny CAT photo, finished off with a curt BRB or GTG (Be Right Back or Got To Go).
These are kids who FRIEND their parents and aunts, the better to ACCOST them to buy CANDY bars for the school FUNDRAISER. Even Internet PREDATORS would have to struggle to stay awake through the continual pelting of TRIVIA, as relentless as an AVALANCHE of stuffed animals.
But then it happened. I don’t know how, but I do know Facebook never stops THINKING of new WAYS to keep us technologically CONNECTED. Which is to say, while WORKING in my office, suddenly scrolling down the right half of the screen, in real time, was a Lord of the Flies comment thread of sixth graders that showed my 11 year old daughter being mercilessly flamed.
I tucked and rolled into the burning building, IM’ed her, got her out of there, and shored her up-- easy enough to do in the MOMENT.
There is no lack of sage aphorisms PARENTS can gift their children today about bullying. Aside from the fact that there is a NATIONAL anti-bullying MOVEMENT, one on one with your child, you can mock the mean kids’ bad spelling, such rocket scientists will SURELY be serving me SLAW in eight years at El Pollo Loco you can say, and oh, you know who was bullied? Lady Gaga, her high school PEERS shoved her into a trash can. How did she respond? She invented a fabulous DRESS out of trash, now she is an international ROCK star worth 22 billion.
So, drying her tears, my daughter was able to dust herself off, have dinner, finish her homework, read a book, work on a STORY, pop onto Facebook one last time to post a funny CAT photo, and go off to bed—
While of course, her perimenopausal 50 year old MOTHER lay awake until 3 in the morning.
Modern parenting WISDOM STERNLY advises us not to become hovering, overprotective HELICOPTER parents. So I won’t. No, instead of mere helicopter parenting, you amateurs, think Robert Duvall in a cowboy hat leading a sky-darkening fleet of a hundred Apocalypse Now storm-choppers as palm trees FLATTEN on all sides.
I have known these mean children SINCE KINDERGARTEN, I know their secrets, I even have awkward IPHONE PHOTOS of them from the Cheesecake Factory, and I will get Medieval. Won’t I?
Continued next week.