After turkey and mashed tatoes had been eaten, after Charades had been noisily taught to my grandfather’s girlfriend, we all settled back into quietude. My uncle Steve settled down to watch the Ravens play the 49ers. Grampa and his girlfriend went to their bedroom, as it was way past bedtime. My twin sister, Lacey, went to investigate the space heater. Dad went to wash dishes. Mom continued sitting in her chair, looking sleepy.
“Mom,” I said. “Let’s say I was hit by a bus tomorrow.”
“I would be very sad,” she said.
“Yes,” I said. “But what would you do with my online stuff? My twitter feed — I mean, my facebook feed? My livejournal?”
“I barely even know what a twitter feed is,” Mom said.
“I haven’t updated it in months,” I said. “What about my facebook? Or my livejournal? Would you want to access that?”
Mom thought for a moment, then said, “Yes. It’s a part of you, a part of your creativity. I would want to be able to access that.”
“How would you get at my information, though?”
“I guess you could put it in your will.”
I don’t have a will. I thought about this for a moment.
“I have a friend,” Mom said. “An acquaintance, really. He died about two years ago. And it’s weird. It keeps saying, ‘You have six friends in common’, and what would they do with that friend request? It’s morbid. Why don’t they delete it?”
Next I asked my twin sister Lacey.
“Lacey,” I said. “Let’s say I was hit by a bus tomorrow. What would you do with my facebook account and my livejournal?”
“Are you planning on throwing yourself in front of a bus tomorrow?”
“No, it’s for class.”
“Oh,” she said. “I guess, yeah, I’d use your facebook and your livejournal. It’s how you keep in touch with people right? So I’d arrange your funeral and stuff like that through facebook, yeah.”
“What about after that?”
“I guess I’d download it and delete it,” she said. “It’s kind of weird, you remember my friend Paul? He died like two years ago, and his family still hasn’t deleted his account. I still get updates.”
“Yeah,” I said.
I approached my dad, washing dishes.
“Is that china?” I asked.
“No, the dishwasher is full.” He gestured at the dishwasher, which was currently running.
“Dad,” I said, “Let’s say I died tomorrow. Would you want access to my online stuff?”
“Yes,” he said, almost immediately. “It’s a part of you after all. Losing it would be like losing you.”
“Oh,” I said.
“There was a lawsuit a couple years ago,” he said, scrubbing at a dish. “A family wanted access to their son’s email account, but Verizon wouldn’t give it to them. They asked what they were planning on doing with the account, and Verizon said they were going to delete it after sixty days or a year, I forget. They said that they might as well give their son’s email to them, but Verizon refused. So they sued them. I forget the result.”
“Interesting,” I said.