By Scott Sullivan
Ever send or receive mixed messages? I got back-to-back ones within a minute from MR SONI CHRIS last week.
The first, headed “Invitation: BENEFICIARY, YOUR PAYMENT is not cancelled,” continued, “This is our last and final notification to you regarding your payment released …”
Except for the one headed “Cancelled: BENEFICIARY YOUR PAYMENT is not cancelled” that popped up an instant later.
I wish MR SONI CHRIS would make up his mind, because both last and final notifications said I am “among the few newly persons selected by international monetary fund (I.M.F.) in conjunction with Organization of African Unity (O.A.U.) has directed us to pay you Five million five hundred thousand united state dollars ($5.500,000.00) in cash through means of diplomatic courier service hand delivery after meeting in United States under the regime of the New President Donald J Trump and last G8 meetings.”
The 39 few other newly persons copied in had email addresses such as earplugsbambi, earthen.anastacia and others close in the alphabet to editorcommrec, by coincidence.
I don’t know about you, but I could use $5.5 million — especially after giving my computer passwords and credit card numbers to DR ZENYATTA MONDATTA of Nigeria to secure my share of $20 million just released from another Dear Friend I’d never heard of.
Instead, what I had was a triple negative. The $5.5 million question: What does canceling something not canceled mean?
“Honey?” I asked my wife.
“Why do people send mixed messages? Because we are complex, conflicted and communicate poorly?”
“Why ask me,” she replied, “then give answers yourself before I can get in a word edgewise?”
“I asked for answers,” I told her. “Instead, all I get are questions.”
“Why do you think that is?”
“Let’s cancel not canceling this discussion. I’m worried about today’s teenagers.”
“A study just published in Child Development says teens in the 2010s are less likely than those in any generation since the 1970s to date, have sex, drink alcohol and go out without their parents.”
“This worries you?”
“Why, when I was a teen …”
“Do I have to hear this again?”
“How can you grow up without debauchery? Psychologist Jean Tweenge, the study’s main author, fears as much, concluding, ‘It’s not an exaggeration to describe “iGen” as being on the brink of the worse mental-health crisis in decades.’”
“Because as kids they behave responsibly? The horror, the horror.”
“Fear not,” I said, checking my latest email. “We’re invited to a Free Lunch & Learn seminar on the benefits of preplanning our final wishes. The sponsor is a funeral home. Yippee. We get dead, we’re out of it. No more mixed messages. No more nothing. The funeral home gives us a free lunch too.”
“Which means they’ll pitch us a pre-pay plan so our teenager — who, since she’s not debauched, can’t function in the adult world — isn’t stuck with our death costs?”
“What do you mean by ‘adult world’ anyway?”
“What do you mean?”
“Not something I aspire to. Here’s an example: I was driving home after shooting pictures of the Saugatuck High School cross country teams at the Cougar-Falcon Invitational — teens running in essentially 5K circles — when I came on a detour. I followed the signs and they went in a circle too. Instead of letting me turn westbound as I wanted, they pointed me to repeat the same loop.”
“That’s the adult world, all right.”
“An answer at last!” I said.