I was trying to be thoughtful. I like to do so with surprises. I purchased him a gift, a subscription to his favorite weekly magazine, just because I knew he liked it and just because I knew he never would subscribe.
One hundred dollars spent just because. Or maybe spent just because I like a man who reads. Or maybe spent just because I like a man who shares his knowledge of the world with me. Or maybe spent just because I like his vast vocabulary, and I like his word choice creativity and spent just because I want to nourish his mind with high brow print.
Social media cheapened my gift, my thoughtfulness, and me with a $6 promotional offer targeted directly to the man at the address I had just subscribed. Why, oh why! Come on, Facebook! Give me a break!
“It’s the thought that counts” are words people often say when good intentions are received imperfectly. My thought was intercepted by the computers; next, my thought’s context interpreted as a cheap opportunity seized instead of as a generous funding of intellect.
The computers came and plundered; they robbed the air of luxury from my gift; they robbed the air of surprise from my thought.