There’s an adjectival form of a certain four-letter word I’m fond of using at times to describe exactly what I think of Facebook. Like when I opened my page a while back and saw that it had been converted to “timeline” format. I had seen this option for months and had ignored it for a very good reason: I didn’t want it. Clearly, the Facebook Gods had different ideas.
I don’t use Facebook like most people seem to – posting family photos and discussing day-to-day activities. Then again, as Most People have reminded me for most of my life, I’m not like them.
My Facebook page was born out of naked curiosity: Most people I knew had a Facebook page, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Over time, my own page evolved into a means of keeping in touch with friends and family, and for promoting my writing.
And then the mischievous side of me appeared – as it inevitably does – and made me realize that there’s a lot more fun to be had with Facebook than I was giving it credit for. I could poke my stick at Facebook friends on their own pages. Good naturedly, of course, because we all know there’s more than enough meanness in the world.
As an example, I like to post comments on the pages of friends who haven’t shown much activity in a while, just to start some entertaining banter. My friend, Michael, was a recent victim of my Facebook hijinks:
Me: “Hey, Michael! My birthday’s coming up. Whatcha gonna get me? I want some chow-klet!”
Michael: “I’ll get you a bucket of Choco-slop! No real food or anything!”
Me: “You are a mean Bugger Head, Michael.”
Michael: “I was born this way.”
Me: “That’s why they invented SURGERY.”
Michael: “They also invented cheese.”
Me: “That doesn’t make any sense. Have you been stealing my pills?”
Michael: “LOL… with no mouth.” (Because we had this exchange while sitting at the same table at the coffee house, and he was ready to pack up and go.)
My very favorite targets, however, are former students who have been unwise enough to “friend” me on Facebook. They have graduated from high school, some from college, and some have even started their own families. Those with children talk about the challenges of parenting. To one who posted about her fussy teether, I suggested a generous gum rubbing with whiskey and maybe an extra shot in his bottle for good measure. I added a winking face icon just so everyone knew I wasn’t really serious, at least about the extra shot in his bottle. As an historic side note, mothers rubbing whiskey (or rum) on their babies’ gums was a common practice until fairly recently, and some parents still swear by it.
All kidding aside – and I do plenty of that – it’s heartening to have so many former students who, after several years of being out in the Big Bad World, have taken the time to find me on Facebook and send me a friend request. Their gift of allowing me to continue to be a part of their lives is a huge honor. It brings me joy to watch them grow and blossom and to see their beautiful children.
Although many of my posts to their Facebook pages are playful, not all of them are. I have given sincere advice and encouragement, too. After all, I’ve been around the block a few more times than they have, and I’ve learned some things along the way. If I can share anything to help them, I’m more than happy to oblige.
The reality is that although they have reached adulthood, they’re still my kids, and I love each and every one of them.
Now, back to my list of Facebook friends. Who will be my next victim… I mean VOLUNTEER?