, , , , , , , , ,

Or, for those of us over forty-five,

what IS a meme?

From what I gather, the original meaning has been tweaked a little. But basically it’s this:

A slice of culture being copied or imitated, and traveling by word of mouth, or by way of online media, such as a story, a joke, a modern expression, etc.

Welcome to the constantly-changing world of modern slang, technology, etc. This is only one of the many latest words and ideas invented by the up-and-coming generation of American spawn. (Hence, the need for an Urban Dictionary.)

Illustration of a meme

Illustration of a meme

It only happens on rare occasions, but I love it when I figure out something in the world of technology before my teenage daughter does. It’s usually me asking her for help. Like when calling my bank and needing to punch in numbers. Wait—there are no numbers!  Help!

But once in a while (and sometimes by accident) I learn something on my own.

Like how to add the website icon to the home screen.

Our new smartphones arrived within the same week. Hers and mine. I had some money stashed, and she had a pile of cash from generous family members and friends, after graduating from high school.

We live in a hole. By a creek, down from the road, in a tiny rural community otherwise known as the middle of nowhere. Cell tower signals don’t reach us—leaving our family out of the communication loop. Thankfully, we did finally get wireless internet a few years ago.

We told our girl she had to get a job and a set of wheels before justifying the need for her own phone. And the Preacher and I wanted to wait for the right time to add an extra expense to the budget.

A friend introduced us to an affordable service that uses Wi-Fi when and where we can’t get a signal.

Within days she was so far ahead of me, having prior experience using her friends’ cell phones.

Mom, swipe. It’s so much easier.

I practiced my swiping.

Here, Mom… I’ll show you, she said, when I couldn’t see how to X out of a tab.

I’ve had to remind her once in a while to maintain respect even while helping the techno-world’s version of the village idiot.

But not one to quit, I kept trying.

Oh, look! I added our email icon to my home screen, I told her.

Yeah. G-mail. It’s already on there.

No. Our email.

Then, Wait—how did you do that? the teenager asked her middle-aged mother.


Before getting our phones, we used our laptops and messaged on Facebook. Sometimes while both of us were home, sitting across the room from each other. Before that, I’d sit at the desktop while she borrowed her brother’s laptop.

Mom, you have to see this! I’m sending you the link right now.

Crazy cat videos, funny quotes, new songs from her latest musical celebrity crush, pictures of prom dresses, ideas for weddings and special occasion décor… whatever she happens to be looking at.

Plans are in the works to get a third phone soon, so the Preacher can be in the loop.

It’s the way the younger generation stays connected. A large part of our family life and ministry life revolves around teens, so if we want to know what’s going on and get updates about the next youth group fundraiser, we need to be part of the connection.

And it’s how the older generations are maintaining their relationships.

Grandmas and grandpas are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and who knows what else.


To see pictures of their grandkids, to read about their grandkids, to keep up with all the achievements of their grandkids, to stay connected to their grandkids…

If you’re a grandparent, you understand.

Because this is the 21st century. No more pulling out the wallet and flipping through a dozen photos of miniature relatives. We just pull out our smartphone.

If we want to be involved in people’s lives, we have to be willing to learn their language. Just because other humans look like me, doesn’t mean they think like me.


But honestly, I think texting is highly over-rated.

Well, most of the time.

Did you know, staying logged in to Facebook and Twitter on a smartphone means being distracted every time someone likes your status or comments or does anything online remotely connected to you?

Which I find annoying. But that could be a sign I was born in the dark ages.

She takes her phone with her everywhere. After the half-hour drive home from town, she comes in the front door—and starts beeping. From the fifteen text messages she received while out of range.

She keeps it on all the time.

I do not.

One night she informed me I should want to stay logged in.

So you don’t have to go through the whole process every time you want to check your messages.

That makes sense.

If you’re under thirty.

And you never turn off your phone.

And your world revolves around your social life.

I spent the next day learning to decipher all the sounds on my smartphone. Because not every tone or vibration is an indication of a text message or phone call.

I didn’t know that.

So, help me understand, I said to her. Every time someone notices me in the virtual world, I am informed by a beep or a buzz or a ring or a…?!?


She smiled.

But what if I don’t want to be informed every time someone likes my status?

She turned and looked at me like I had two heads.

Well then… she said, turning back to her Zombies game.

(And she thinks I’m weird.)

On her phone, of course.

End of discussion.

Until I text her.