By ‘I Was There’ (name withheld upon request)
Last night, I was part of a group of bochurim at LaGuardia Airport, waiting for a flight to Miami for a friend’s wedding. Knowing our flight was delayed 2 hours, one of us brought along the UNO Card Game, so we’d be able to pass some of the time with a fun game (yes, even Eltere Bochurim like to have fun sometimes and can do it without being glued to our phones).
As we were sitting and playing on the airport floor, we noticed a fellow Yid videoing us. It seemed he was doing it simply for fun, but nevertheless, just to cover our bases, one of us called him out on it, and said: “you’re welcome to join us, but please don’t post on social media.” The man smiled and said, “It’s going straight to COL!”
We didn’t think he was serious for a second. After all, why wouldn’t someone be respectful of someone else’s explicit request, especially understanding the ramifications of such an action?
As it turns out, we were wrong. Within minutes, each of our cellphones was flooding with links to an Instagram post with a video of us playing. The caption read: “Yeshiva bochurim stuck at Laguardia Airport making the best of their delays, keeping their spirits up with learning and a game of cards.”
Now, before I continue, I have three questions to the man who took the video: a) what business do you have videoing other people? b) even if you did, when you get a clear request not to post on social media, why do you go ahead and do so? c) even if you’re already posting, why do you caption the video in a misleading manner? Why not just add the word “UNO”? And if you didn’t know it was UNO, just leave out the whole “cards” thing. But of course, it’s social media. And it’s 2018. Questions as these don’t exist in our world.
Naturally, with such a misleading quote as “a game of cards,” the calls and texts began coming in: “Poker?” “Blackjack?” Rachmana Litzlan! Now it was on us to begin “farentfering” for ourselves: “It was just a game of UNO,” “just trying to have a little fun by ourselves” etc. etc.
But of course, it’s social media. Where news travels faster than light. The damage is already done. We are the underdogs. After all, how many people who received the link would receive the explanation?
Boruch Hashem, the video was taken down from Instagram and hopefully, nothing more will become of this episode.
But I have learned two valuable lessons:
1. My every move is potentially being watched, many times by insensitive people. I’ll be more careful with the way I act in public, and I’ll be more sensitive in my treatment of others in this area.
2. Social media (especially when it’s just for fun with no purpose), is killing us as humans from the inside. It’s eating away at our innate moral compass. I don’t blame this man. His actions are just a product of the warped norms of society today. I now see ever more reason to avoid all these apps unless completely necessary.
I wish everyone an easy fast, and encourage all to take on good Hachlatos increasing Ahavas Chinam, thereby breaking the cause of this golus. With our combined actions, we will speedily merit the time when we will no longer have to fast, with the coming of Moshiach now!