If you’re reading this, Mallory Johnston, sorry if it reads like a broken record sounds. After bumping into her near Walmart’s produce section recently, we got on the subject of how Facebook for this generation of grandmas packs the same excitement as scanners did for my late grandma’s age group.
To that matter, it’s probably not letting the teenagers of today get away with much, if the right grandma is linked in with the proper circles.
I’m sure if I dug deep enough, I could still find a list of codes scribbled in grandma’s handwriting for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Aberdeen police and fire departments, Wren Volunteer Fire Department, the game wardens, the highway patrol, Aberdeen-Monroe County Hospital’s ambulance service and any other first responder within an earshot of Coontail Road in the late ‘80s through the ‘90s.
Like a video game cheat code, the right number combinations magically unlocked radio chatter and any dispatch as it unfolded. Any fender bender or traffic stop instantly became anybody’s business with a Uniden Bearcat plugged into the wall.
Way before AutoZone sold blue bulbs for your headlights, my thriftiness and ingenuity made cutting out a green transparent binder bought from Cosco Office Supply the granddaddy to them all.
Neon lights and lowriders were a really popular thing for teenagers in the ‘90s, but my way of improvising green reverse lights, license plate lights and headlights were a sure-fired way of getting pulled over and let go with a warning. Before that Aberdeen police officer told me I had to take all of that stuff off to have white lights, my name had to go across the scanner.
Of course, I was driving to grandma’s house when I got stopped. It’s not like I had to pick my own switch from the pear tree for punishment for getting pulled over that one time but did I ever have to hear some disapproving yelling. Watch what you do to avoid your own memorable fails.
Good luck getting yourself out of that kind of scolding now, teenagers posting something scandalous online.
Scanners were the ears back then, and Facebook is the eyes to anything hard to outsmart your elders. Trust me, just about everybody’s there too.
You can hide out with your party pics on Instagram and tweets about last night somewhere else, but I think this next crop of grandmas is resource enough to dig it out.
Not about any post-prom party or senior prank, but I occasionally get messages from people falling in your grandparents’ age bracket letting me know about this and that they’ve seen on Facebook and how I need to do a story about it.
Sometimes it’s something legitimate and sometimes it’s something bogus. Regardless, the grandmas are watching.
To the grandmas glued to social media, just remember people aren’t as trustworthy now as compared to back when your parents were glued to the scanner.
My grandma used to be quick to call her sisters and friends to talk about something heard on the scanner. She could trust those policemen and firefighters to their word back then, but the 14th friends request I’ve gotten from Mike and Tyler’s grandma makes me think her account has been hacked and hacked again.
Don’t trust everything you see online. Who seems to be that someone you’ve known for years may desperately want to share amazing news or for you to send $550 to get them out of a Mexican jail, but don’t trust it.
To the teenagers today, since so many of our agencies use digital MSWIN channels for communication, I think the days of letting scanners one-up your hijinks are coming to an end.
To the grandmas today, there are a ton of recipes, baby pictures and I Remember When…groups to engage you from online drama and everything you don’t want to know about your grandchirrens (yeah, I meant to spell it like that). Please Facebook responsibly.