My son is in Little League. I get an email from his coach that the schedule and the volunteer assignments are on the website. I have been in San Francisco six months and so it hardly even registers that a little league team has its own website. Of course it has a website, why wouldn’t it? How would it work without a website? I mean, you have to ask yourself a metaphysical question – would it really even be a team if it didn’t have a website? A collection of players, sure, but a team?

I am not in any way adverse to the idea of a team website, but when I make my way to it I find the site is hosted by Shutterfly. I remember Shutterfly from years back as one of those early websites where you could upload photos and share them with your friends. There were a bunch of sites like it – Picasso and some others come to mind – and you were always getting emails from someone notifying you that they had posted pictures to the site. At the beginning I would dutifully go through to the site and dutifully create a user name and password and dutifully if ponderously log on. The process always took forever so that by the time you got to the photographs you were not in a proper frame of mind for viewing them. But sometimes you found a snapshot of one of your kids worth having and then you had to navigate a mechanic where you bought the photo from Shutterfly even though someone else it took the photo and even though it was one of your own kids whose pictures you were buying. Then you waited forever for it to download and once it did it was immediately lost on your computer with a name from an incomprehensible Eastern European language – ZZwx10019923zyywwc1 – that could never be found by searching the computer.

You could also get the photo printed on a coffee cup or coaster if you were willing to fill out a form with shipping instructions that tried to sneak in some stupid product research questions in boxes on the screen that you’d not fill out until you got a red error message that some line or other was required and then woe is you if you ever actually made one of those purchase because your email account would be filled to overflowing with offers and discounts and welcome backs and notifications not to mention alerts and promotions and specials so, inevitably, you’d find the control in your email that let you brand Shutterfly or Picasso or the other ones as Junk! so mercifully they would stop annoying your laptop with endless cloying messages based on the false assumption that you’d spent meaningful time together – perhaps even had sex – and a little reminder, update, love note was not only appropriate but welcome.

Only by Junking them could you get free of their attentions but then, inevitably, someone would have a picture you did want and when you asked them to send you a copy it would be on Shutterfly or Picasso or one of the others and you would have to go back to the site and find that you didn’t remember the password you used last time and when you tried to get a new one it gave you all sorts of shit because you were using the same old tried and true email address you’d been using for ten years and there was some unremembered password connected to it so you’d have to create a new name in a different email account and then the next time you wanted to log in you’d have to remember not only which password but which email account it corresponded to and then the alerts and reminders and Junk! would all start again.

Oh I hated them. The Shutterflies, the Picassos, the other ones, and I had shut them out of my mind hopeful that with the passage of time and the lavishing of inattention they would go the way of Chapter 11 but apparently not, they had gotten bigger and stronger and now they were running my son’s Little League website. ARGGGHHHH!


Shutterflies originally appeared in Issue 2 of CRANK.

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