With one flick of a finger, I accidentally lost a year’s worth of photos the other day. My cell phone “gallery” went from 1,225 photos to 41. These were photos of my husband and his ailing mother on their last ever meeting in Florida, photos of my sister’s recent and rare visit from England, plus the record of every outing I took with my granddaughter and grandson in the last 12 months, which I intended to turn into calendars for Christmas.
My husband and I were sitting in a doctor’s office when it happened. Having leafed through Harper’s Bazaar from cover to cover and wanting to make the best use of a long wait, I decided to start deleting the detritus of those odd shots of my shoes, or the undecipherable photos of graffiti on the wall of my daughter’s now evacuated bedroom. I never saw the “select all” pop-up and plowed ahead. When we both realized what I had done, we just looked at each other speechless—like those people in 2008 who in a single day found themselves thousands of dollars poorer as Lehman Brothers crashed.
“Is there no way to get them back?” I finally broke the silence. “I don’t think so,” my husband replied.
But worse than the evaporation of my photos is the losses I have incurred, in the course of my lifetime, over a “flick of the tongue.” As with a cell phone or computer, you can do things right 99 percent of the time, but it is that one foolish slip that costs you everything. It doesn’t seem fair, but there it is, ladies and gentlemen.
There was an old child movie star I admired all my life, and then one day I heard an unflattering remark she reportedly made. The remark may not be at all representative of her character, but it forever taints my memory of her. It is as the Bible says:
“Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.”
If you think losing 1,000 photos in one throw is bad, try losing a good friend or a reputation with one careless or foolish word.