The Inappropriate Text Message

“I’ve never owned a p*rn picture before. I guess at the age of 71 it’s time to begin my collection.”

Ladies and gentlemen, meet my Granny.

When Granny issues a rule, we obey. We use our best table manners around her, we don’t use foul language, and we don’t misbehave. That’s just the way it’s always been. So several years ago when my Granny started laughing along instead of sternly calling my full name if she overheard me telling a slightly off-color joke, it came as a bit of a surprise.

One afternoon a few weeks ago, I was running errands with my mom when Granny called to announce she had received a disturbing multimedia message and that she wanted to stop by so my mom could see it. While the message had at first creeped her out, by the time Granny handed over her phone she was able to crack a joke to my mom and ask mischievously, “Is that anyone we know? Do you see any moles?” I swiped the phone from my blushing mother so I could confirm the offending photo, and there it was: some guy’s junk. In a multimedia message sent to my Granny’s phone.

How absolutely perfect was this situation? I mean, of all the people in the world who could have accidentally received a picture of somebody’s goods, it had to be my grandmother, the woman who uses clinical terms for everything and who once threatened to wash my mouth out with soap for saying the word “weird.”

Studying the text message and laughing uproariously at the odds, I brainstormed aloud all the things my Granny should send back to the person–things like, “Is that all?” or “Let’s see the rest of it!”–and she laughed loudly at each one.

One of the first and best jokes I’ve ever gotten my Granny to laugh at was born when I invented a fake boyfriend for her several years after my granddaddy’s passing. She became fearful for her safety once she had to adjust to living in their big house by herself, so I urged her to invent a story about a tattooed biker named Spike who would strike fear in the hearts of any who dared to mess with her. To my surprise, Granny went along with the joke. More stories were born, so that each time I talked to Granny we had a new tale to tell about Spike’s bar fights and latest tattoos.

The text message caused a dilemma because I wasn’t able to decide which would be better: creating a new joke about Spike, or poking fun at the “gardening club” my Granny hangs out with when she’s not with her bridge club or the red hat ladies. I decided on the former and asked Granny to stop being so modest and just own the fact that her relationship with Spike had evolved into the technological realm. And she surprised me yet again by chuckling at the joke!

So now, instead of being shocked that somebody would send my Granny a picture of his genitals, I’m instead shocked by the fact that she reacted so nonchalantly to the incident. This time I’m the one left scratching my head repeating “Well Golly Moses!” in wonderment.

The times, they are a-changin’, and I guess Granny got the memo before I did.


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