On Good Friday I received an Easter card from my Grandma.
On the inside, in perfect cursive, she had penned: “Happy Easter and National marijuana day.”
Last time I was home and hanging out with her, I had let her know that April 20 fell on Easter this year, and that if I got high enough I might start to believe in the plausibility of the story of Easter. (She’s very Catholic but also has a nice sense of humor and respects people who think for themselves.)
I took a picture with my phone and uploaded it to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, where it was almost immediately met with an outpouring of likes and expressions of holiday joviality. I believe that on this day more people had seen something my Grandma had written in a card than I had written professionally.
I didn’t give it much thought when I posted it. It hadn’t occurred to me that it was in any way a big deal. Because it wasn’t.
A couple hours after I’d posted the picture of my Grandma’s message, I called her to thank her for sending me the card.
“You’re in big trouble, mister!” she said.
“What? Really? Why?!” I was dumbfounded. I’ve never in my life drawn the serious ire of my Grandma Lillian.
“You put that thing about my card on the Internet! About the marijuana day!”
I was surprised initially that she knew, on account of the fact that she professes with some sort of strange pride that she is unable to even turn on a computer. She’s old school—even un-ironically keeps a rotary dial phone in her kitchen.
I told her to embrace being Internet famous, a concept I promised I would explain to her next time I was able to make a trip home. She told me not to “take too much marijuana” on Easter, “whether I was snorting it or smoking it or however you kids are taking it.”
I thought about taking the post down, because maybe my Grandma didn’t cherish the idea of people seeing something she’d sent me. It would be easy to take it out of context. They might think that my Grandma was some sort of drug enthusiast and that she had passed it down to me. I was worried that since Grandma is unfamiliar with most digital technology, she might think this was a bigger deal than it really was, and would never understand why I would be compelled to share something like that with a bunch of people she did not and would never know.
Later that night, I was texting with my Mom and she told me that Grandma had had a good time “razzing” me about posting something she sent me on the Internet, and that it was all in jest, that my Grandma, like most of the people I keep close to me, didn’t care if I shared something from our inner familial circle that might make a few people chuckle. Grandma is like how I wish desperately to be: she has zero f**ks to give about what you or anybody else thinks of her.
About a week before Easter, my friend Sara unexpectedly lost her father.
In current times, a lot of us have friends we stay in touch with mostly via social media, especially when we’re geographically far from one another. We spend months not talking, but we keep up with the lives of the other person mostly by way of social media.
Sara is one of those friends. I don’t care about her any less than the people I see every day, but since I haven’t seen her organically for a while I figured it would be best to wait until after the funeral and other things meant for close family and friends to reach out and tell her that I was praying for her and her family, and that if she needed anything I could possibly help out with from distance, to please give me a call or whatever.
Her response to my text message:
“Let me just say that your Grandma actually made me laugh incredibly hard for the first time in days because of her card to you.”
Grandma was delighted that she was able to cause something like this. She said she hadn’t cared in the first place, that if anything she thought it was a funny concept that my friends would look at a little note she sent me, but that now she was happy it had actually done some good.
Sometimes people ask me why I write and share so many personal things about myself and those close to me.
Because for all of the downfalls, sometimes it can do some good.