Thursday, February 10, 2011
So I logged onto Facebook last week and read, as I usually do, about one friends amazing night out on the town, sipping fine wine at an upscale restaurant, gnawing on a very expensive steak and then finishing the night off with a movie. And this is on a Wednesday night! Of course, his post came with pictures of him and his beautiful trophy wife (his third) and was complimented with a number of "likes" from all of his and her friends. And as I scrolled down through the page, it was right there in front of me. All of these people living their lives out loud in a world they are able to shape and manipulate in which the final product becomes a portrait of some form of distorted reality they want people to buy into.
Are that many peoples lives really that fantastic? Should I be climbing Mount Everest and Running with the Bulls as well? I think the most exciting thing I did this year was won a free lap at the Putt Putt go kart track. But is that Facebook worthy? How do I keep up with the likes of others who have somehow managed to travel to 45 foreign countries this past summer?
And what about the pressure that comes along with being on Facebook. What is my obligation? I really don't want to be that persons "friend" but what happens if I don't and then I run into them? Will I be persecuted in front of others ? Will some sort of Facebook mob start to form and throw rocks at me? And so what if I didn't "like" my buddies Wednesday night out like my other thirty two friends did. I don't need them saying, "What...are you too cool to think Toms pictures were nice?"
And how often am I supposed to post something? I will say, don't wait longer than a month. Than you get comments like, "About time! Haven't heard much from you. Thought you were dead! Call me." Only to log on a week later and have three friends instant message me. "There you are! I knew you were on here. What are you, just not social?"
And don't get me started on the profile pictures. I've seen you. You're fatter than that. And older. Just because you are able to gently photoshop a few wrinkles and crop out the hips, doesn't turn you into that person. Unless of course you're on Facebook where anything goes. Where happily married men and women see the well plotted life of an ex...and fall for it. Where a man fibs to his significant other about staying home one Saturday night, only to find he's been "tagged" in someones Facebook page enjoying a night Charlie Sheen would be proud of.
But as I scroll down to the middle of the page, I come across an old friend who put a small note for his post. Please pray for my father. Nothing more. And so I called my friend, wanting to know if everything was OK and if there was any way I could help, as did other friends. And then I was able to block out the bad. I realized all my friends really don't know all those movie stars and athletes. And that sometimes we paint this life we want others to visit because we're not that happy with our real lives. And you know what? I get that. I really do.