The young man straightened his tie automatically in response to his dad fingering his ear spacers. Spacer, rather. One ear had been stretched so far for so long that, somewhere around forty five, the lobe just gave out and split. So Dad was playing absentmindedly with his right, ringed ear, while the left one was left to waggle in two long strings. Which made Son anxious. And when Son got anxious, he adjusted his tie.
“Dad,” he said. Then a little louder. “Dad.”
The older man started, looking around. “What the what? Yo, mang. Give Daddy some dank.”
Son sighed and sipped his coffee. “No, dad. That stuff’s not legal anymore.”
“It is too legal! My generation fought hard to get that mess totes passed.” He adjusted his tank top’s straps proudly.
“No, you complained in pathetic digital haikus, and the politicians legalized it to make you like them, and then everyone realized it was a terrible idea, and they struck it down. Twenty years ago.”
Another sip. “Did you upload your scan?”
Dad grumbled and scratched his shaggy, gray beard. “What scam?”
“Scan, dad. Did you upload one yet?”
“I’m not down with that.”
Hand to necktie. “Dad, you have to upload your body image every day. It’s the law.”
“What’s bacon gonna do? Arrest me for not putting my junk on the internet?”
“It’s not the– If you don’t upload your image every day, we’ll be fined. You’ll have privileges restricted.”
“What about the right to privacy, broheim?”
“You threw it away, you and your generation, your grassroots uPhone–”
“Whatever. You posted everything for the public to see. You cried when the big, bad government told you that they weren’t your private thoughts because every secret you sent used a technology that passed signals through the air. Now, as it has been for a long time, nothing is private, so everybody is on the same footing. If nothing is secret, everyone takes a lot more care with what he says and does. There’s no anonymity. There’s civility.”
Dad started laughing and wheezing.
“What’s so funny about that?” asked Son.
“Heh. I said ‘tokes passed!’”
“No you didn’t,” said Son, touching his tie.
I do not own the rights to the iPhone. Those are Apple. Or Macintosh. Or someone.