We all have little secrets – skeletons in our closet that we don’t want revealed. Some of us are hiding mouse-sized skeletons and some can barely keep the door closed because of the behemoth bones crowding every square inch of our tiny coat closet. My bag of bones burst through the door last weekend and it wasn’t pretty. I got outed.
I’ve always maintained that I’m not bright enough to keep a secret for very long – which turned out to be true. No one would have to waterboard me to get me to bare it, I would just let something slip in casual conversation that gave away whatever I was trying to hide. With most people, I have been able to stay quiet and hold my secret inside. But not in front of my family – to be quiet in front of them is suspicious in and of itself. But this time I kept my mouth shut! Even though it gnawed away at me, I stayed quiet and they still found out. Now they are judging me.
There is always a paper trail. Nothing can stay secret forever. In today’s digital age, someone always has a camera ready. I cannot describe how glad I am that video cameras, cell phones, and GoPros weren’t invented when I was young – especially during my college years. I have the distinct feeling that I would have played the lead in a viral video that showed either my legendary stupidity or poor judgement.
It is this technology that busted me. As Thomas Dolby once predicted, I was blinded by science. It’s really not fair. I’m old, things escape me. I am a man content with three channels living in a world of endless data, wifi, and TV on-demand. Apps have funny names I can never say the same way twice, the cloud is an unintelligible concept, and I need teenagers to teach me how to use my devices. It’s getting hard to keep up.
It all started with a free app – a little puzzle game involving dots that my kids play. One day, they invited me to play with them and being the old man typically left out of their reindeer games, I gladly joined. The makers of this app release thirty frustrating levels at a time and hook you by designing some that are nearly impossible unless you buy their bonus lives. The kids are on level 660 together. I had fought through the challenges and resisted the urge to buy anything… until recently. I had to do it. I have reached a point in life where I actually make money and it is sometimes more economical to plunk down .99 rather than tearing my hair out – forcing me to spend my hard earned cash on things like Rogaine or Propecia. So I did. I paid for it. It was on my phone, my iTunes account. Who would know, right?
The paper trail. I forgot about the paper trail. Stinking iTunes doesn’t email receipts right away. Apple is the one company that can scoff at customer service and still make gobs of money. So after a couple of days of dust had settled on my little .99 technological breach of trust and I thought I was in the clear, mom noticed a poorly-timed email and asked, “Who paid .99 for lives in an app?”
Like a cut-rate insurance company I went into denial mode, but they knew. It was out. I was outed by the digital footprint of an iTunes email receipt. My 660 levels are now illegitimate according to my children and they are also doubting everything I’ve ever told them.
If only I could keep up with this crazy, digital world!
If only I had pushed through level 578!
If only Apple emailed receipts right after you buy something like everyone else does!
But there is no going back. I’m out now.
Hi. My name is Mark… I paid for bonus lives on a free app.