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I thought you might like this

Topics/tags: Autobiographical, short

When Michelle and I started dating, one of the first questions she asked was, Why do you have so many unopened letters from your mother? [1]. So I told her to open one of them. Inside was a folded article from somewhere or other [2] along with a sticky note that said something like Thought you might like this. When Michelle opened the rest, she found that they also contained articles. So, they weren’t so much letters from my mother as recommended readings from my mother.

Now, mom was right. In most cases, I appreciated reading the articles. I still have a few stashes of them scattered throughout my offices [3]. But I found them most natural to read in batches, rather than as they arrived. Sorry, mom!

The other day, I reflected on my own behavior. If I recall correctly, I had texted a link to an article from The Washington Post to one of my sons, along with a note that I thought you might like this [4]. I had emailed a group of friends [5] with a link to an article in Chronicle along with a slightly longer note: You may have seen this already. I’m passing it along in case you haven’t because I think you’ll find it useful. They hadn’t. They did [6]. And a day later, I sent another son an article on the history of vi [7].

And then it sunk in … In this way, as in so many others, I’ve clearly become my mother.

Postscript: I realize that it’s common to share articles on, say, Facebook. But that’s generally sharing with the world. I’m sending texts and emails to a few people, often my family. That feels different. Or perhaps it’s just that large numbers of people are becoming more like my mother.

[1] I’m a bad son was not the correct answer.

[2] The New York Times, The New Yorker, Psychology Today, The Boston Globe, and many other places.

[3] I have no idea where in particular they are, but they turn up from time to time and make me happy.

[4] He did. He ended up quoting parts of it back to us.

[5] Also colleagues.

[6] More accurately, two of the four colleagues wrote back. Neither had seen it. Both thanked me for sending it along. 50% is a pretty good hit rate.

[7] That was less successful. He asked me, Why did you send this?

Version 1.0 of 2018-08-27.