The Wondrous Power of Fax

A Brief, Spontaneous Study of the Effect of Family Fax on the Facilitation of Friendly Familial Interaction and Multilateral Bonding of Family Roles

I am a clinical psychologist in Panama City, Florida. A few years ago, I gave my parents a fax machine and pushed them to learn to use it. At first, I heard a lot of “whys” and “No needs” but then I heard things like, “... this thing is amazing.” Some verbal interaction is specific to the form of delivery. For example, some things can be said over a telephone that can not be said in person. Some concepts can be presented in poetry that would not be well received in direct conversation. Some things can be specific to the mode of fax transmission as demonstrated below. What follows is an exchange of humorous poetry or rhyme, that allowed a unique form of interaction between family members. It produced a level of warmth and identification that was very impacting , tremendous fun and helped push back the concept of time and aging.

As my parent's 60th. wedding anniversary approached, wanting to send a little something every day, I rather hastily composed and sent the following.....

Few things in life hath God created,

That cause me to be so elated

As circumstances that took place

In ‘36, that year of Grace

Few men know what choice is true,

Or what things they are to do,

Yet fate pulled me from nook or cranny,

Because my dad espied mom’s fanny

And their union they did affix,

On June 21st of ‘36.

______________________________________________

O.K, I know it was rather corny, but I also know that it gave them a little thrill to get anything over the fax. Shortly, I received the following fax from my mother, then 81 years old.....

The part of my anatomy you mentioned in your verse,

Did that precede “You take this man for better or for worse” ?

Well, little did I know it then, it Still seems quite uncanny...

To capture his attention, I’d just have to twist my fanny!

(I must have done just that!!!!!)

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So, the next day I replied with the following......

I enjoyed your little note, I thought that it was cute.

I know that you were funning, though because you’re more astute

You’ve seen the mates your kids have picked, the judgment that they’ve shown.

You’ve seen the flaws those unions had, you’ve said, “They should have known!”

I won’t believe that I am from a parent so naive,

To think that “personality” doth lead one to conceive.

Except for getting drunk at some big hootenanny,

The thing that makes “the world go ‘round”, is the wiggle of a fanny.

I’m sure that dad was real impressed with linage, style and class,,

But if he never told you mom, he picked you for your fanny!

____________________________________________

The next day, my mother replied with.......

Now please don’t think your mother is the least bit proud or haughty,

But somehow words we used in fax, were geting sorta naughty.

Well, maybe sixty years ago I gave my (blank) a shake,

Or maybe wiggled this or that,.... So what, for goodness sake!

My wiggling of whatever wasn’t really all that bad,

For don’t you see, eventually it worked--- I got your dad!

________________________________________________________

...... I retorted......

Of course proud, haughty or whatever,

You were right, as one can see,

‘cause the end of all your cleverness,

T’was the start of ME!

Young people sometimes cannot tell,

Where they will go in life.

They all want some Utopia,

But most wind up with strife.

You got your wish, with subtle swish,

You wed and stuck like glue.

You got a brilliant first-born son,

(But you got those others too!)

The test, I guess, is not how far,

You might have gone or been,

But if the chance again were here,

Would’st do it all again?

I hope you would, for all our sakes,

As one can plainly see,

Cause if you changed a speck of past....

.... What would become of me?

If you and Dad had never met,

I don’t know what he’d do.

Because, (and he’d agree I bet)

The best of him is you.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad!

I think that he is super!

But we know, without you Mom,

He’d just go down the “pooper”.

So whatever made you wiggled Mom,

Or whatever part you twerked,

Is fine with me, because you see....

I’m thankful that it worked!

_______________________________________________

Now I have a younger brother Bob, who lives in Dallas. We were faxing copies of all of this to him. He responded with the following submission.

I got your faxes this A.M. and I do have to admit,

I found them very funny... and there is a lot of wit

In all you banter back and forth but one thing’s not to clear,

I wonder, “Why all of this attention towards our Mom’s derriere?”

I’m sure you’re right when you say that it got Dad’s attention,

But there’s something else here that I feel compelled to mention.

The thing that kind’a worries me, (Correct me if untrue)

Don’t guys who fixate on their mom’s fanny end up seeing you?

But I agree that sixty years together’s quite a feat,

It’s really something special, ..it’s really pretty neat!

Through all the good times and the bad, the highlights and the ruts,

I’m very proud of both of them, no if’s or and’s or Butts.

________________________________________________________________-

Of course I had to respond to that one! I have another brother, George who works with Federal Express, and a sister, Betty who lives in Atlanta. So, the next day I sent the following.

I think this whole darn thing has gotten terribly out of hand!

Even though it all got started just to tell the folks they’re grand.

But Mom just wouldn’t take my note and let the message be!

Oh no, she had to get my goat, and so she out-rhymed me.

So I rhymed back, ... then so did she, a battle did ensue.

Then just as things got out of hand.... Bob jumped in it too!

(I think that Bob has missed the point. Why bring up Oedipus?

Some Freudian thing from a Shakespeare play ‘as got nothing to do with us!)

It’s been real tough to be sincere while cute and semi-clean....

What’s next? Must we now get our sister a fax machine?

And what if George jumps in the fray, and adds to the duress

I guess we’ll get MORE silly stuff, delivered by UPS!

This stuff’s addictive, it woun’t turn off. Rhymes run through my head

While eating, reading, working,.... while wide awake in bed!

It’s gotta stop! It can’t go on. It’s taking up my time.

And I’ll admit I’m not that smart... I’m running outta rhyme.

It doesn’t take an Einstein, nor the Delhei Lama, to know the simple truth, which is....

I can’t out rhyme my mama.

I must point out in closing though, that while we all were cute,

Dad, the leader of the clan,......... has stayed wisely mute.

And WELL HE SHOULD, cause he’s got smarts, and I’m sure glad he’s gottem,

Since all this stuff got started ‘cause ‘twas HE who chased Mom’s bottom!

_____________________________________-

.... Then my mother faxed the following to Bob and me...

I’m glad that you two keep in touch with all this idle chatter...

But one suggestion I must make: Just CHANGE THE SUBJECT MATTER!

To speak of my anatomy, (and you can tell your brother),

You make me blush - you realize, you’re speaking of your mother!

Famous writers long ago all praised their mothers’ charms,

Her eyes, her fair complexion, her hands, her loving arms...

When Whistler put his mother in that well known rocking chair,

He made no mention of her (blank)... why no, he wouldn’t dare!

I may repeat my self, but still, I find it quite uncanny....

I can’t believe you chose to write about your mother’s.... well, you know.

---------------------------------------------------

Well, I figured that if she wanted poetic praise a’la’ Whistler, I could do that, so I sent her this one.

As a young lad, if I were scared by any Harry, Dick or Tom,

When I looked for security, I’d always turn to mom.

Whenever I had questions, about the world or such,

My mom would always be the one who could tell me much.

She was a wizard at the stove, we always ate gourmet.

No one could top my mother’s meals,... that’s why so much I weigh.

She was the hub of the family wheel, she had the final say,

Yet she was quite demure and soft, and still is so today.

Dad was the leader of the group to any outside focus,

But Mom supported one and all to ensure that nothing broke us.

With loving arms and tender heart, she raised each child till grown

While Dad was master of his house, she was the power behind the throne.

A country girl from Camden, a young lad from N.C.

Created a loving union that survived much history.

BUT! None of this would have happened, none would have come to pass,

If in the year of ‘36, Dad had NOT admired her attributes!

(A rose by any other name is still a rose)

___________________________________________________________

Shortly after that I received my mother’s last submission to this running repartee'.

The content of your latest fax is a subject for debate,

The compliments contained therein I did appreciate.

You stretched the truth a bit, you know, however it’s okay...

For all those pretty things you said really made my day.

Now as to how I got your Dad: I’m sure the Powers That Be.

Would tell you I was made for him and he was made for me.

But somehow my (blank) got involved as you kept insisting,

That could be because I did a lot of shaking and a-twisting.

You’re probably right, I won’ deny, in fact I will admit it.

But you can rest assured that I am surely glad I did it!

...........Cause I got you, and Bob, and Betty and George......

________________________________________________________________________

Of course, a considerable amount of non-poetic notes were generated by this process, and my father sent notes that were "filler" pieces of information but not in rhyme. The interaction in this form ended when I sent one final poem that was sent on the approach of my mother's Nov. 3 birthday. Taking a non-humorous tone, that changed the implied rules and the game ended. That final poem can be viewed by left clicking your mouse on the following picture of my family taken at my parents 60th wedding anniversary party.