When I was 8-10 years old, my mother, older brother and I lived in a house that had several peach trees in the yard.
I really liked those peach trees. I still remember what pleasure it was to sit in the crook of a tree, pick off a nice, juicy peach and eat it.
Those were the days when my brother and I used to play with the neighborhood boys and girls. We lived in farm country and lived quite a distance from each other, but our bicycles made the miles much shorter.
There was this one day when a bunch of us were together. One of the boys said or did something that I didn’t like. I remarked to one of the other kids that he was asking for it and, if he came around my house, he was going to “get it.”
Well, lo and behold! Darned if he didn’t come riding up to the front of our yard on his bike later that day! As he sat there on his bike, he said, “Somebody told me if I asked for something, I was going to get it. Is that right?”
Suddenly I had lost the bravado I had just a couple of hours before. Meekly, I said, “Yes.”
“Good,” he said, “Can I have a peach?”
Reluctantly, and with relief, I said yes as I watched him get off of his bicycle, pluck a peach off of one of our trees, get back on his bicycle and ride away.
I think a lot of violence was averted by that peach that day, although I felt quite a bit humiliated.
Nobody ever heard that story until now. I didn’t even tell my mother and I definitely didn’t tell my brother.
I wonder what the story would have been like if we had had the Internet and I had posted my anger on Facebook—or Twitter—or Tik Tok—or one of those myriad social media. Would the situation have been solved with a peach?
The anonymity of social media gives us courage that we would not have when face to face with a person. It also gives us the opportunity to make fools of ourselves. The effects can be long lasting, such as when you’re looking for a job or running for public office.
Some people have long memories when it comes to adverse information that is shared in writing and employers aren’t always willing to give a guy or gal a break.
Maybe, we should give a person a break. But, maybe, we should think about what might happen somewhere down the road before we say or do something we’ll regret—especially when it is on social (or anti-social) media.
Dorothy is the author of two books—“Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together “. You can purchase a book or make a comment by emailing her at email@example.com