Yes, it’s true I had a brief fling with Facebook, but it’s over now. All the talk of personal fulfillment and instant communication with a variety of “friends” turned out to be empty promises.
My disenchantment started when I realized I was mindlessly reading paragraph after paragraph about the backyard pluot crop of a Woodland dentist I had never met. It occurred to me, given that I am not interested in Woodland, pluots or dentistry, that I had better things to do with my time.
But, this kindly molar-meister had sent me one of those “friend” requests, and if my mother taught me anything during her long life, it’s that you never say “no” to someone who wants to be your friend.
Later the same day I found myself viewing pictures of another stranger crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on his bicycle. At least I think it was a stranger. But, considering that he was wearing a helmet, sunglasses and as much padding as your average NFL linebacker, there was no telling who it was.
I was, nevertheless, thrilled that he had managed to ride his bike all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge without toppling over the railing or hitting a pedestrian, even as I again realized I had better things to do with my time.
Despite my disillusionment with the activities of my new-found “friends,” I found myself duty-bound to regularly and compulsively check my Facebook page with the same sense of responsibility that I exercise in checking my phone messages.
Suppose a friend was in need. Or at least in need of my opinion. It became a constant habit to check in on the mundane world of these friends I would not have known otherwise.
“Wow, it’s raining!!!!!!!” said one, as if the Second Coming was finally unfolding before her very eyes.
“No rain here yet,” said another, apparently in response.
I looked outside and noted a light sprinkle beginning to fall. Was it my job to provide the other two with a full-scale meteorological observation from my side of the tracks, complete with exclamation points? They were, after all, my friends, and they seemed consumed with the concept of rain on this particular day.
Late last summer I got a complete report on a Pacific Coast League baseball game between the cleverly named Las Vegas 51’s and the Reno Aces, including the price of a hot dog and a beer. No final score, but apparently Steve and Gladys, whoever they are, had a good time at the old ballpark.
Good for them. When my friends are happy, I’m happy. Even if I wouldn’t know these folks if they showed up on my front porch.
Noting that I never had anything to say on Facebook, the Red-Headed Girl of My Dreams suggested I could dip my toes in the water by “posting” my column. That task was a bit above my pay grade, so she did it for me, and boom, there it was for all the world — or at least all my friends — to see.
I got one comment: “I never read that garbage.”
Friends, apparently, don’t let friends read garbage.
The final straw came when a whole group of these friends posted pictures of some sort of party they were all a part of at the home of one of my other friends. No explanation as to why the Above-Pictured Friend was not invited to this party.
I brooded about this slight for a while and then finally decided it was time to say goodbye to all these friends, painful as it might be.
Farewell and God speed to you all. It’s been nice knowing you.
In case we really need to speak, I’m in the book.
— Reach Bob Dunning at email@example.com