The Perfect Life #20
Maintaining Privacy in Our Thing
Dear Dr. Perfect,
My granddaughter, who works for me in my business, has sanctimoniously informed me that she (as a millennial) greatly prefers to communicate by text rather than telephone calls, which she deems intrusive, and that her feelings need to be considered by the entire organization.
She has communicated these sentiments via misspelled texts reeking of emojis.
The larger problem, however, is that the sector of our family business happens to be organized crime. She just doesn’t seem to understand that not only are texts not to be sent, but she needs to call from a payphone, or (worst-case scenario) a burner flip-phone.
Can you think of ways I can explain to her the urgency of this situation? Or should I just, you know…
Dear Legitimate Waste Management Personnel,
I seldom cast aspersions, but your granddaughter’s EQ might be low, and she may score low in any relevant personality type in the Briggs-Meyers test. Part advocate, part consul, all fool.
What about your feelings, especially your feelings about not becoming incarcerated for all the entirely legal activities you and your civic minded organization undertake? You might just have to walk her down the Appalachian Trail, if you know what I mean. Do you know what I mean? I apologize if my mafia innuendos aren’t landing. I’m not privy to that world, and, of course, neither are you.
I don’t know if anyone likes phone calls these days. You would think text messaging would be the height of convenience, but even that’s too much effort for some brats. They’d rather communicate in a series of haphazard emojis, like some bastardized 21stcentury hieroglyphics. Steering your granddaughter away from her tech preferences could prove tricky. Electro-shock therapy? Breaking her thumbs?
Naturally, she’s sanctimonious toward your seemingly antiquated methods. Today’s youth know everything and more. The world revolves around them alone.
I especially enjoy being lectured to by Swedish teenage girls about how I’m destroying the planet. Imagine yours truly, a simple advice columnist, having the power to wipe out life on Earth from leaving my phone charger plugged in. Convince your granddaughter that text messaging is bad for the environment and see if she buys it.
Recall the scene in Full Metal Jacket where the ruthless Drill Instructor tells his recruits that one of their own hasn’t received the proper motivation, thus punishing the entire platoon for the failures of one. I’m not suggesting that you club your granddaughter with soap-filled towels to get her in line, but Gunnery Sergeant Hartman would. Any problem can be solved with the right motivation. A stern talking to, for starters. If she awakes with a decapitated pony head under blood-soaked sheets, she can’t say she wasn’t warned. Although with her EQ, she probably will.
Try more positive incentives. Everyone likes positive reinforcement. We’re all just sitting around waiting for it. I regularly say, “Good job!” to random people on the street all the time. They stare back, startled, and then go about their business. I get a lot of anxious looks, but I know it’s appreciated even if they cannot show it.
It’s time to throw a little scratch your granddaughter’s way to ween her from texting. Perhaps she’ll consider this patronizing, even offensive. That’s when you remind her that the family business is too important to be compromised by her texting. Then take away her phone. And her dog. And her boyfriend.
Maybe it’s time for an “Ask Me About My Granddaughter” T-shirt if you don’t have one already. They’re adorable.