My Mom, the Monster
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Itís my fault. Itís all my fault. Everything is my fault. I was trying to be a good son, but I turned my mom into a monster. All I did was give her my old PC and hook her up with an e-mail account. If Iíd known it would cause all of this chaos, Iíd have left her in the dark ages of pencil and paper.

I mean, what was the harm in donating a five-year-old Windows machine to a woman who had just gotten her first Social Security check? Itís not like it had enough processor power to hack into the Pentagon databanks. Heck, she had a hard time remembering where Solitaire was on the Start Menu. How could I have known that she could single-handedly make the entire family scared to open our e-mail boxes?

Like any computer novice, she had her share of problems for the first few months. She sent me a half dozen e-mails that were blank. Then she called to tell me that none of the mail she got could be read on the monitor unless she highlighted them with her cursor. How she switched the font to white letters on white background is beyond me. We fixed that and lived fairly happily for the next few months.

  
 
Then came the next wave. She learned how to forward e-mails.

Everything that came into her box got sent back out: un-edited. If it was funny, we got it. If it was cute, we got it. If the e-mail promised darling bunny rabbits on the screen, we got it. Chain letters and get-rich schemes poured into our accounts by the dozens. She even forwarded the junk mail offers that came her way. If Mom got it, we got it. If you sent it to Mom, youíd get it back too. She didnít just send them to people she was kin to -- she sent them to everyone in her address book.

No kidding. Mom even forwarded them to her boyfriend -- and they live together.

Getting her to stop was a lost cause. It took some prodding and compromise, but we got her to at least clean them up before sending them back out. Now we donít get e-mails with FW:FW:FW:FW:and FW: in the subject line. Gone, too, are the hundreds of e-mail addresses that have to be scrolled through to find out how much God loves us all. No more of those >>>> at the first of the lines, either. We still get a dozen a day, but they are easier to deal with now.

Now sheís got a new thing. E-cards and greetings. Hallmark.com must be getting a hundred hits a day from Mom. Iíve gotten everything from a stripper Bill Clinton to singing fish to a screen full of blooming flowers that end with the poem/sweet thought of the day. Where sheís found some of these sites, God only knows. But I do know that a couple of them add you to their mailing lists when you go to get your card. So thereís another dozen or so e-mails a day added to all of our inboxes.

Black sheep, pariah, harbinger of death, scourge of the universe -- thatís me. The monster my mother has become is my fault. Itís my fault. Itís all my fault. Of course, things could be worse. The people in her address book could realize that Iím the one that got her started and start sending everything they get from her to me.

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