Facebook, as anyone who actively logs in can attest, is chock-full with more opinions, beliefs, politics, useless data, and irony than a meme of Jesus riding a raptor. Just think of all the things you learn about people each day… yet this blog has NOTHING to do with Jesus, raptors, religion, or controversial memes.
For example: I never would have known what a “meme” was, had it not been for splish-splashing the shallow waters of Facebook’s newsfeed daily, as well as the rest of the Internets. This isn’t to suggest that spinning the scroll-wheel through the vast stretches of information doesn’t teach you something. In fact, I’ve learned plenty. I’ve vastly expanded my knowledge with a great many topics such as dogma (and its opposing views), satire, cooking, politics, art, humor, and, most importantly of all: The Human Emotion (or “The Emotional Human”).
If you’re going to set out with the simple purpose of judging and therefore assuming you know a person based entirely on their written rantings and copy & pasted viewpoints, look no further. Facebook is awash with emotional diatribe in one trivial form or another. The only way you can have an account and NOT be comfortably packaged into a stereotype, is to remain an invisible ninja stalker. But the moment you begin clicking “LIKE” on anything, you’re then labeled as a stalker… which is worse than actually coming out and expressing your fetish for midgets, or hard-on you get for Ron Paul, or pigeonholing yourself as a slut, drunk, religious zealot, or blasphemous heretic. Plus, now that your musical tastes and other non-comment involving activities (such as breathing) are tracked and broadcasted to the world, you’ve essentially self-labeled as a stalker. A creepy one. It’s worse because we all know you’re watching, reading, tracking our behavior, but too chickenshit to voice an opposing view.
However, to be fair, I have some very good friends whom (I’d like to hope) do not use Facebook for such introverted behavior. Some people would rather just read than reply, and that is quite okay too; even if you do masturbate to dog porn when no one is around.
It is this very nature of online social networking cultures that we’ve inadvertently developed the habit of assuming we know as much as we need to know about a person because of what they choose to highlight about themselves. This isn’t to say there’s no merit, or truth, to these judgements. But it does serve to weed out the people that you’re quite certain you’d never let into your house. So really, why did you accept their Facebook friendship? The thrill of living vicariously through someone else.
But, again, this is a judgement-call and I realize that I’m being totally hypocritical and most likely wrong.
But, again, I digress…
If I’m a bit of a smart-ass in real life (which I am), then Facebook is the Ferrari in which I use to cruise the neighborhoods to distribute informational pamphlets written in the loving language of sarcasm (which I do); like it or not. I attempt to keep it light, for the most part. As a general personal rule of thumb, I do my best to keep the satire and trolling to a dull roar. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the occasional (see also: hourly) nonsensical heckling of my fellow Bookers. And this hasn’t been much of an issue (at least from what I can gather because I’ve received only a few frustrated, yet easily resolvable, emails), that is until earlier this week.
A few days ago, my ex-wife was still in throes of recovering from a nasty kidney infection. She’d been ill for almost 2 weeks at this point, but seemed to be coming into the clearing, albeit slowly, and her spirits were picking up again. She has many followers on Facebook, including myself –over five thousand, last I checked– because of the social media business she co-owns. Her people are avidly faithful, and in any given status update, at least 20 people will have pockmarked her threads within seconds to either add to her thoughts, play devil’s advocate, offer an opinion, or “LIKE” the post and not say a peep… the latter are who you should be most weary of.
In typical, random, smart-assy fashion, I added a single comment onto a status she’d updated; like omitting a single fart in a bathtub, designed to create a single stinky (yet funny) bubble of gas.
Her status said something along the lines of, “Well, I thought I was getting better, but it looks like it’s not over quite yet.”
After a couple dozen various people popped on to wish her well, I said, “Do you think we should remarry so I can open up a life insurance policy on you…?”
If it were any other half-known Facebook stranger, then I’m sure the wording would have come across as me being an insensitive asshole, and I would’ve never posted it in the first place. But her and I have been in each other’s life since 1998. I knew she’d “get” that I was coming from a good place and this slightly off-color comment was not only typical, but designed to make her smile during a time when I knew she’d need all the smiles she could get.
However, it’s that stalker you have to be weary of more than the person whom openly shares their thoughts through various posts.
Suddenly a reply pops up. It’s an old mutual acquaintance from back when her & I were married. The two of them had been friends since Jr. High, throughout my marriage to her, and then they continued for a bit after the divorce, primarily because there was already so much built-up history at that point.
He and I attempted to maintain a friendship, but, as I posted 2 blogs ago, whenever there’s a divorce, there’s also a divorce of friends. The grudge he has carried since our divorce never subsided, even though my ex-wife and I came to terms with it long ago. Unfortunately I didn’t realize this at the time. His reply hardly made it clear to determine if he was razzing me or not. It was ambiguously rude. Perhaps I was misconstruing and taking things out of context…
“No, she should remarry you so she can again feel a pain even worse than a kidney infection.”
Hmm… I hadn’t spoken a word to the guy in almost 3 years at this point. Three years is a lot of time to pass. He had also slowed down on communicating with my ex-wife. Everyone was getting older and therefore we were all drifting along on our own portion of the ocean of life.
I thought for a few minutes and then replied in a condescending, yet slightly kidding tone, “Oh look at you, Ry Ry… you really do care.”
The stalker then unleashed his lunacy. He proceeded with a childish attempt to rape my soul by prophesying to all of her thousands of followers that I am a worthless pile of shit, a meaningless carcass of a man who sits around and smokes tremendous amounts of pot whilst poorly playing my guitar, daydreaming of how awesome it would be if I were as much of a superstar as my ex. No one has ever heard of me, while scads and hordes of folks weep at the mere mention of her name.. And, just as a bully on the recess playground raging with a severe case of penis-envy, he concluded by proclaiming that my ex is the only person on the planet that has made any use of my pathetic last name.
It was at this point when I did the unexpected, the unimaginable, the unpredictable:
I gave no reply.
Instead, I contacted my ex-wife (through this crazy invention called a “Tellie-fone”), and explained to her that it’d be best if she quickly logged into her Facebook to address/delete this hatepost before too many people could read it and make their stereotypical judgements. My hope was that they’d instead view his dicktastic replies which obviously originated from some cosmically silly drunken jealousy, and just realize that I meant no ill-will nor foul vibes.
I’ll spare the boring end where she calls him and explains how completely out-of-line he was, and how he remained steadfast with regards to his incredulous opinions of me, and how he was sorry, but not sorry enough to actually apologize to the person with whom he showed his small penis to. Because, really, the rest of it is moot… and the joke has since fizzled.
In closing I have no serious point to this blog other than moral in itself makes for something I will be passing onto my grand kids. Just remember: be good to each other when in the digital world. It’s almost like saying the same thing face-to-face, aside from the fact that it’s not at all like that -it’s worse. Use Facebook as a tool of communication and always be weary of your surroundings. You never know when the stalkers are out, waiting to pounce, waiting to give you the “what’s for”. Once you put it out there, it’s out there forever in the vacuous landfill that is the Internet.