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I peered down at my phone to see that I had an unusually high number of notifications on my locked iPhone screen. A one hour meeting will usually create a backlog of a few tweets, a couple unnecessary ESPN notifications, and a handful of missed texts from my group text. On this occasion, however, the green iMessage icon lit up my screen, and I immediately knew something was wrong. After spending the next ten minutes or so diligently scrolling through the dialogue, it became apparent that we had a major problem on our hands. The privileged status of the group had been violated.
The mission statement of the group is simple: distract and help maintain a daily relationship with very good friends who are rarely seen anymore. Nothing groundbreaking, but the importance of a group text of this nature cannot be overstated. It’s like the 19th hole at the country club. That’s where you end the day. You can place bets with the bartender on the late Sunday afternoon games while drinking scotch, smoking cigars, and busting balls. It’s a boys’ club, and what happens inside of it is sacred. Now most of us are either married or about to be, so naturally we require a safe haven. Every man needs a way to decompress in a way that appeals to his primitive self. For us, that’s our outlet.
When John (name changed to protect the guilty) admitted to the group that his wife would occasionally take control of his phone while he drove and actually answer texts in the group, everything changed. Some panicked, some became angry, and some even created the dreaded side text. Late to the game, I became flustered as I struggled to digest all of the facts. John, a founding member of the group, was known for making mistakes, but never anything like this. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. But it was true.
Here’s the short of it: John’s wife happened to commandeer his phone at a most inopportune time setting off a series of angry texts to a few of the other wives. I believe the comment was that she had seen a screenshot of some “ratchet college skank” in the guy’s group, and the next thing you know, half of the group was in full damage control. It wasn’t call your buddy who just finished law school up because divorce is imminent serious, but it was more than anyone wanted to deal with in the middle of a workday. John got careless, and the heat was on.
It was a scenario that none of us were prepared for. How do you deal with someone who commits the cardinal sin of the group? That was the issue that required our full attention.
The crux of our analysis was what, if anything, was compromised by an outsider viewing our sacred conversations. Yes, there was the previously mentioned photo, but that was the least of our worries. Our group can be best described as rowdy friends who have since settled down, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not some incriminating material in there. Inside jokes, stories of college conquests, and vintage dirtbag banter can appear without warning. I’d love to tell you how much worse it gets, but that’s all I’ve been allowed to share. Yes, I sought the group’s permission to even discuss this matter in a public forum, because I respect the game. Now, I’m sure our group is nowhere near as incriminating as yours, but there was no time to scroll back and see what other damage was potentially done. When privilege is breached, you assume the worst and act swiftly.
Yep, can him.
That’s all it took. There would be no trial. Due process does not exist in a group text. Like Stacks from Goodfellas, he made a sloppy mistake that put everyone at risk. And we all remember what happened to Stacks (they murdered Stacks). We had to send a message. This thing of ours, this wonder of modern technology that serves such a vital role in our lives, means too much to too many people to let liabilities off with a slap on the wrist. Are we cold blooded? Some say we are. As I lay my head down at night to sleep, I sometimes wonder if we’d gone too far. But what’s done is done. So next time you think about revealing the secrets of your group, remember what happened here..