I joined Facebook


A week or two ago, my friend Tyler and his co-worker Heather invited me to join this new time-waster called Facebook. Man, I do not need a new time-waster, I thought. All my time is already currently wasted. No thank you to Facebook. Besides, I explained, I didn’t even know what Facebook was, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t photogenic enough to be using it. I had an idea it was like MySpace, which I do not understand. By that, I don’t mean that I don’t understand the appeal of MySpace. I simply don’t understand MySpace at all. Now and then I’ll follow a link or try to Google something up, and I’ll land on a MySpace page, only to find myself wondering, Where is the information I came here to look at? Who are all these people? Why won’t this song stop playing at me? What the hell is going on? I just get puzzled and click that window closed before I get overstimulated and worn out from all those pictures and embedded MP3s and hard-to-read white text on ugly background images and Dane Cook and have to take a nap.

If Facebook was like that, I figured, I didn’t get it. These things are for the younger generation, who are much savvier about the internet and technology. For instance, my 15-year-old nephew says that he can go watch people from his high school fight behind the new movie theatre across from his school at lunch, and thanks to cameraphone technology, he can go home and rewatch the same fistfight on YouTube after school. Back when it was my turn to be 15 and going to Thousand Islands Secondary School, that would have been unthinkable. All I had back then was a old-school camera with film and flashbulbs and a regular landline telephone with a long tangly cord that could only be taken as far as the hall closet, the only thing you could really do with a computer was play Sid Meier’s Civilization, and while we did have fighting at lunch, we had to do it behind a seedy old bowling alley instead of a nice new theatre. How far we’ve come.

However, while I was at home for Easter letting the younger generation blow my mind with their amazing tales of the future, my little sister sat me down and walked me through Facebook. She showed me how I could look up pretty much anybody I could think of and add them as my friends. It turns out that I can look up people who live in my city, or old classmates from high school and university, or former co-workers who seem to like to go on Facebook and act very excited about how well their company’s products work as though they’re just normal customers instead of employees. My sister conjured up the profile of a girl we went to public school with. Hey, she turned out kind of cute, I thought.

“Interested in: Men and Women,” her profile said. “Looking for: Random Play.”

Facebook just got interesting, I thought. If we had cute bisexual girls — or even random play — when I was in school, I certainly didn’t know about it. I was pretty sure that all we’d had was watching Scott Powers defend his heavyweight title behind the since-demolished Cadillac Lanes and playing Sid Meier’s Civilization. Clearly, I can’t let myself get behind the technological curve again. So I accepted my impending invitation to join Facebook post-haste, noting that Tyler had listed us as having dated from 1977 to 1988 and that our relationship had gotten serious, but now we weren’t talking. (I should take this opportunity to dispel that claim: We were never that serious.)

The only picture I had handy to use as a profile photo was a candid shot that somebody snapped of me while I was putting on a pair of pants and looking a little confused, so I was probably right about not being photogenic enough to use Facebook. (Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m not. My friend Scott’s wife Marlene just sent me an e-mail saying that she was just at the West Edmonton Mall and saw a smiling guy with Down Syndrome who looked just like me and that she regrets that politeness had precluded using her cameraphone to take a picture of him.) Further, I suspect that joining such a site introduces a whole new set of social complications and stresses. For instance, after I joined, I went to bed and dreamed that my initial set of friendship requests had all come back rejected, each accompanied by a stanza of well-written poetry detailing my various misdeeds that had earned the long-simmering grudges held by each of the recipients. This was considerably more unnerving than my previous acquaintanceship-based dream, which had come the night before and was simply that the sitcom alien ALF was a real person and a friend of a friend, whom I knew, though not well.

But those reservations aside, I suppose I can’t afford not to waste at least a little time on a web-based service that allows me to pick from a diverse population that, while probably not including ALF, nevertheless offers such luminaries as Tyler and his co-workers, 15-year-old street fighters, viral marketers pretending to be regular consumers, cute bisexual girls, Scott Powers, and Civilization‘s Sid Meier to add as my close personal friends.

5 Responses to “I joined Facebook”

  1. 1 Marlene

    I should clarify that you don’t look like you have Down Syndrome, but this guy looked like he had Peter Lynn Syndrome.

  2. I’m at work right now (where facebook is blocked), so I can’t add you, but you should add me (in case I forget, hate to miss be-friending my favorite blogger).

    Another of the joys of Facebook is that which I detailed over on Jay’s boards (in the Confed.) regarding my April Fools’ Day joke.

    Speaking of, I was wondering about your professional opinion on the placement of the apostrophe in the previous holiday. Each year, I see it just about anywhere in the word, if anywhere at all. Wikipedia suggested I place it there and so I have. Is there one mythical creature, simply known as the April Fool, whose day it is we celebrate? Are there many April Fools, so much so that we have to dedicate 1/365.25 of our year to them? These questions plague me and only your grammarian skills can cure it!

  3. Marlene: Peter Lynn Syndrome? You didn’t mention that the retarded kid was hung like a Triple Crown winner.

    Ken: We’re officially BFFs. As for your question, I think I’d go with April Fools’ Day, as there are plenty of fools around. That said, I’d consult a dictionary and/or style book just in case, although I currently don’t have any reference material handy as I’m out of town at the moment enjoying a nice, relaxing family visit.

  4. 4 hilly

    You relax around family? Weirdo.

  5. As it turned out when my mom started in with the spyware, I would be unable to relax again without drinking a double whiskey on the rocks.

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