Confessions of an Accidental Spammer

Pam Grimes
Sep 28 · 4 min read
I’m an analog girl stuck in a digital world.

“Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.” — Charles Schultz

It’s been said that the inability to accept change is the harbinger of old age. In my case, it’s not a matter of acceptance; it’s a matter of adaptation. Technology is a prime example. I’m an analog girl stuck in a digital world, and recently my smartphone has begun to outsmart me. It turns out it wasn’t that hard to do. All it took was the autofill feature on my phone.

To put it plainly, I’ve been spamming my contacts without even knowing it. For example, last week, I texted an Oktoberfest invitation to my sons and accidentally included our neighbor in the thread. A few minutes after sending the text, I received a message back from the neighbor thanking us for the invite but unfortunately, they’d be traveling and couldn’t make it. Mental head slap!

As it turns out, this wasn’t the first time I’d spammed the neighbors. A quick perusal of my text history showed that over the past six months, I’d sent them my shopping list, Christmas list, and pictures of my pedicure.

Now I know why these neighbors always giggle when they see me. I just thought they were inordinately happy people. I will no longer be able to look them in the eye and may have to move if this continues.

To my horror, I’ve discovered these neighbors aren’t my only victims; it turns out I’ve inadvertently texted other contacts in my phone. Some of these were highly embarrassing texts meant for my kids. A few of my greatest hits include: Are your socks clean? What size boxers do you wear? Please take out the garbage and my all-time favorite Please sweep up the tumbleweed of hair on your bathroom floor— I saw it move this morning. I’m sure that one went over really well.

I’m afraid to look any further through my phone’s history to find out who else I’ve spammed. Maybe our veterinarian knows I’m gassy and in need of Metamucil. Perhaps I’ve placed an order for General Tso’s Chicken from our dentist or told my podiatrist about the disgusting clog in my sink or let my hairdresser know which hemorrhoid cream I prefer. No one is safe at this point.

Worse yet, I may have sent kissy-face emoticons to my husband and unwittingly included any number of acquaintances. Now there’s a frightening thought. I could be carrying on with the Roto-Rooter man and not even know it! Maybe that’s why the gardener’s been winking at me; I thought it was just a nervous tic.

Someday my kids will have to remove my phone forcibly, but I thought it wouldn’t happen until I was 90 and using my phone as a spoon or to talk to space aliens. Not when I’m in my 50’s and still relatively sane.

It’s funny how you can see other people’s limitations so clearly while remaining oblivious to your own. I remember my own mother’s confusion over the bank ATM. The idea that a computer would read information from a card and then spew out money like a Vegas slot machine seemed like absolute hokum to her. The only time I visited an ATM with her, she acted like we were there to rob the bank. I tried to assure her that using the ATM was safe, but she remained unconvinced. I returned to the car to find all the doors locked, and Mom in the front seat with her eyes closed, head bent in prayer. We never went to the ATM again.

In light of my recent discovery I’d like to apologize to the friends, associates and strangers I’ve accidentally spammed. You knew those texts weren’t meant for you but were polite enough not to point it out. Your mama raised you right. Thank you for your discretion, and I hope we can move forward in this cloud of blissful denial we’ve created. Hey, if it works for us who’s to judge?

I’ve learned not to eschew change, but to embrace it as an inevitable part of life. And in my case, to humbly accept that my learning curve is now a bit steeper. So while I can’t promise to stop spamming immediately, I will buy stronger reading glasses and attempt to cut back. In the meantime, perhaps I ought to take a page from my mom’s book; lock all the doors, close my eyes, and pray. Afterall, this too shall pass.

Pam Grimes

Written by

Writer living in Portland, Oregon. And, yes, it’s weird here. (A Medium Top Writer in Humor, Fiction and Short Story.)

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