As stated in my last column that LYLOLH (left you laughing out loud hopefully), advanced electronic communication is a double-edged sword that leaves me bleeding more often than not.
I e-mailed that column to my friend, Frank Rozek, and if I might quote his reply without his permission, “All this time, I thought LOL meant lots of love and now I find out it's laugh out loud! I wonder how many people think I'm a complete idiot for ending an unfunny message that way? I actually wrote to my cousin Wendy after her Dad had a heart attack, and ended with ‘LOL.' No wonder I haven't heard from her since.”
Because I always like to accentuate the positive in My Lousy World, my renewed friendship with my old best friend Rozek is my lone feel-good Facebook chapter. We were weightlifting partners for over a decade ‘til the late 90s when his new girlfriend Jessie got Frank a job for the railroad.
Since he moved to Powell and worked on the railroad all the live-long day, we rarely got together anymore. Then I heard he'd been laid off, STS (split the sheets) with Jessie and had moved back home to Chicago, depressed. A few months ago, 10 years later, my e-mail said, “Frank Rozek wrote something on your Facebook wall.”
Without the enormous wingspan of FB wrapping us in a big hug, I'd most likely never have heard from Frank again, much less known he eventually married Jessie, drives a Harley, and that his complexion finally cleared up. We've been e-mailing, FBing, and giggling like schoolgirls on the phone ever since.
Now that I've exhausted the positivism, I'll warn that being pushed into Facebook land by well-meaning friends is like being dropped off in a strange neighborhood with amnesia. You not only can't find your way back home, but each door you open leads you to another door that leads you even further from home.
I'll think I'm on my “home page,” but suddenly am somewhere else that only looks vaguely like home. Whose “wall” is this, and who are all these people yapping at me? If I respond to one I recognize, will the privacy I expected be betrayed and tacked on some wall for the world to see?
Yes, it certainly will, I found out the hard way.
I was amazed at how many former classmates now live on poultry farms and invite old friends to help find eggs. I actually replied to one, “Hey, that's neat you live on a big farm now. Is that somewhere near our old school, or is your farm out of state?”
Weeks later, I learned the “farm” is one of many interactive FB games I'll be invited to play. Well, I don't like games when I'm trying to talk, and if people are going to lie about raising chickens, what else will I look foolish believing?
Some informed me they “like” something and asked me to like it too. When I tried to explore it once and clicked on “The View,” days later I read in my own bio, “Doug loves The View.” Hey, I never said that. Sure, I've seen it, but it's absurd to suggest to all these chicken farmers that I'm some kind of Metrosexual View groupie.
One's bio, or “home profile,” is basically everyone's personal Playboy Centerfold page, except few divulge their measurements or anything about running naked in the rain.
The idea is to reveal your interests to those you've accepted as your “FB Friends,” and every day someone seeks your friendship.
Hey, it's hard enough to find ample nap time in the real world, so who needs all these new, invisible friends? You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so you “accept” most of the groveling solicitations, but that friend then throws up 10 more potential friends for you to never actually meet, but to read private messages you intended only for one trusted person.
By accepting each request, do I appear needy, trying desperately to seem popular? It's not like Valentine's Day back in grade school where only the cool kids' fabric hearts pinned on the wall are filled with cards. As I see it, anyone can have hundreds of meaningless friendships on FB, as the screening process is basically, “Friend? OK, sure.”
At the bottom of the screen, there's always listed a few friends who are “online to chat,” whatever that means. Hell, the world's too darn chatty as it is. Do strangers now really need to know if I'm “Working hard or hardly working...LOL?”
If you're still safe at home, don't ever travel to this place! It's confusing, invasive, and scary. And each time you try to help someone find their eggs, you step on a land mine!