I want to lay around and read with you.
It makes my soul cry out.
A Fine Frenzy - Ride-Goldrush
Despite what you may think, you don’t really know all of the people on your Facebook friends list. Unless you’ve limited your social circle to only people whom you hang out with on a regular basis or family members, you’re going to have people on there that fall into the acquaintances and/or “guy I went to middle school” categories. Since Facebook is currently our society’s archival system of record, few people want to share their real lives with their ‘friends.’ Instead of being themselves, they’ve created an online persona where nothing is ever wrong and the world is filled only with My Little Ponies and kittens. This way the world will only know that life was amazing when they’ve moved on!
It’s unfortunate that people feel that they cannot be themselves in front of people that are, in theory, their friends and who would support them. Really look through your friends list and, excluding your best friends and family, what do you really know about the people whose photos scroll by? Sure, you may know where they work and where they’re living now. You may even know that they’re in a relationship of some kind. That information is generally included by default when creating a profile so I don’t believe that it really counts for anything.
Once you’ve gotten past that surface information, you’re really only left with what they want to show you. Most of the time it is pictures of their little brood of resource sucking offspring, amazing photos from a vacation, or photos full of nothing but smiles everywhere like a family reunion of Care Bears! Quick note on the kid photos: nobody cares, please stop. Status updates consist of mindless babble or something that would never lead you to believe their lives are less than enchanting. Either that or it’s what’s referred to as Vaguebooking where they lead on that something is wrong but speak so generally that they hope you take the bait and ask what’s wrong. Once you do, get ready for, “Some people just don’t fill in the blank” statements to follow. This is fairly common and oh so annoying.
So really what you’re left with is a contrived, spit-shined view of your friend’s life. It’s boring. Nothing is happening. Nothing of substance anyway. The oddest part of this entire situation is that when people do actually post something of substance on their Facebook profile, they can easily be accused of oversharing, or, “TMI” as the lazy will say, followed closely by a “LOL.”
My understanding - and use - of social sites is that they’re places you go to share pieces of your life. Obviously, one has the right to display what they feel comfortable with and I’m not necessarily saying that is a bad thing. But, one’s life is never, ever perfect and devoid of worry or conflict. Online though, the picture couldn’t be more perfect if Michelangelo had his hand in it. I’m not advocating posting offensive or obscene photos - really, that stuff shouldn’t be photographed anyway, rookie - but to gloss over the parts of your life you dislike is dishonest. The ugly parts of life are sometimes what makes life beautiful! Why would you ignore them as if they did not happen?
And that is what really gets to me - the “fakeness” of Facebook. I personally do not mind putting myself out there online because I will do the same thing in person with someone if asked a question. I do not believe in holding back on your thoughts or feelings but I get that not everyone is me. I feel that your social sites are where you can post all of your thoughts and somewhere in the world - particularly on sites like Twitter and Tumblr - you will find someone else with the same feelings or thoughts. This is why I prefer those sites to Facebook, which I’ve taken measures to limit my presence on, and do most of my online playing on them. Twitter is for whatever word vomit or celebrity taunting you feel like at the moment and Tumblr is where people can go to really open themselves up. The depth of content on that site makes it inevitable that you will cross paths with people who have the same exact feelings and interests as you do. It’s quite amazing, honestly.
If people would understand that their friends are meant to support them and not tear them down they’d probably be more inclined to share their real selves with the world. Unfortunately, most of the time we worry about what everyone else will think and that’s terribly sad. Those aren’t friends. If they don’t have your back, they can’t be considered your friend. If they judge you to the point that will not think, believe, or do something, they’re not your friends.
At the end of all this, of the 380 people I’m friends with on Facebook, I could tell you specific details of, maybe, 15 of them. The rest? People who’ve crossed paths with me in my life whom I likely wouldn’t speak to even if I did recognize them in Hollywood. (I have a weird knack for remembering faces I’ve seen, even if only once. I recognize people all the damn time.) But, Zuckerberg has made it possible for these people to connect with me after a decade or more by using some complicated algorithms that process your personal data and theirs and making us “Someone you may know.” This would be all good and well if they actually shared their lives with me, but, as it stands it’s just happiness and vague whining so what’s the point?
A Christmas Story
Play the song while you read :)
Once again, Christmas is here and aren’t we all just bursting at the seams with excitment?! I have no problems with Christmas, really, so this isn’t going to be a mean spirited rant which I’m sure is a pleasant change of pace for you all when dealing with me.
I think the point of this is…well there is no point, just wanted to share a story with you. It is both sad and funny which makes for a great read.
How many of you remember that Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Album? It was the three chipmunks squealing out Christmastime standards while their guardian Dave oversees and occasionally yells at them all. Well, I remember this album quite well, though likely for far different reasons that you.
When I was but a wee little tike, I listened to that album every Christmas. In fact, I still have one of the songs on my computer - “I still want a hulaaaaa hoooooop!” One particular Christmas stands out above them all. See, I was chillin’ out in my onesie, playing on the floor, and listening to my record (If memory serves, it was ’85 or ‘86, something like that.) After some time, I heard a rather strong and powerful knock on the door. Santa? Nope, LAPD. Turns out that my mommy and my daddy were doing coke. Cocaine is illegal in these parts. My parents got hauled off to jail that night and, to be honest, I don’t remember how long they were there. This basically started the cycle of me living with my grandparents for a while and then my mom when she straightened up.
Anyway, while my parents were being searched and cuffed, that record was playing in the background. I’m fairly certain I cried and why not? I was just a kid and all of a sudden my mom and dad were gone. I really only remember this entire event because one day when I was a bit older and living with my mom again, I was snooping through her things and found a Cocaine Anonymous pamphlet. It all came back to me at that moment and then I forgot about it again until I wrote this the first time. Turns out I do have another memory of my dad beside my mom knocking him down the stairs with a wicked right cross!
So now, every time I hear/see/think of that album or that song, I get all sentimental and remember how my parents were on drugs. How I got over that and countless other situations they put me in I’ve no fucking idea. But, hey, whatever. Don’t feel too bad for me. It sucked, but I don’t think there’s any permanent scarring. I really just get amused by replaying that story in my head. I can still picture the little apartment though I cannot remember where in LA it was. It couldn’t have been far from my grandparents since I ended up there that night. And hell, I’ve got an amazing bedtime/Christmas story for my kids whenever they decide to be more than some apparition off in the future!