You can’t spell “Personal Identity Theft” without “iPod.”

So here’s the thing:

My mother is eternally at war with any technology more advanced than an 8-track. We bought her an iPod for her last birthday, an act akin to giving a nitrogen-cooled-Cray to someone looking to play Internet cribbage. Ever since then, the calls have been pretty steady:

<RING, RING> (because I apparently have a Bakelite phone, circa 1954)

Yours Truly: “Hello?”

Ma: “Hi, honey. I think someone is trying to steal my identity.”

YT: “Why?”

Ma: “Well, I had to put my credit card in for that eTunes Podstore thing, and now there’s a dollar charge on my statement.”

YT: “Ma, they just do that to verify that your account is valid. The charge won’t be processed, they just want to make sure it works for when you DO purchase something.”

Ma: “Well, nobody’s stealing MY identity. I saw it on the news. Those hackers can get in and steal anything they want! I took that credit card right out of there!”

YT: “OK, Ma, that’s fine. You’ll just have to re-enter it before you can buy anything.”

Ma: “Well, they’d better not try to do anything fishy with my card! I know my rights! What if they try to buy a bunch of drugs?”

YT: “I’m pretty sure that drug dealers stick to cash, Ma, but if you see a charge for “Cucuy’s Cocaine Cartel” on your statement, we’ll talk to the bank.”

My mother views the Internet with suspicion and dread. This is not necessarily a bad thing –  she has a point about identity theft – but her terror is such that the slightest interaction with it becomes a trial. Over a year after receiving her laptop, my mother uses it for exactly two things: playing Mr. Do, a circa-1982 video game most vibrantly remembered from the ColecoVision, and making snowflakes on the Internet.

Snowflakes.

And, the thing is, she’s REALLY into it. She’s apparently the best of the bunch in her little gaggle of Snowflake Friends…everyone compliments her on her structure and symmetry. She’s the glittering silver queen of the (ahem) flakes.

The scary thing is, I see in her the same rabid enthusiasm I have for, say, Guild Wars, and I am forced to ask myself, “am I really conquering evil here, or am I just one more flake in the storm? Am I really more advanced than my technophobe mother, or am I just making fancier snowflakes?”

These are questions destined to remain unanswered, at least if I want to keep my therapy visits to once every two weeks.

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