There it was, right on my smarter-than-I-am phone, so it must have been true. A few weeks ago, a Facebook message popped up that said my Facebook friends had posted 555 updates that week. The message wasn’t intended as a declarative, rather as an interrogative, which, when it comes to conveyance of ideas, is far more urgent, since the FB brain trust knew that I had missed every single one of those updates. That made the question a rhetorical one.
As a miscreant child, one of the very first literary concepts I grasped as to its purpose, long before I would ever see the words “rhetorical question” in the back of a literature anthology in any glossary of literary terms, was the purpose of such a device. Surely, when my sainted mother looked at me and asked, “Do you know what that bedroom of yours looks like right now?” I knew she wasn’t expecting any response other than my moving toward the door of the disaster to which she was referring.
I had to laugh when I saw my recent 555-update question because I realize I’m in the minority in not being very Facebook-aware, given the number of regular users, according to statsta.com, some 1.79 billion of you throughout the world.
As far as my history with Facebook, to be honest, I wasn’t even the one who put myself on that universally used website that has made a guy with the pretty ordinary name of Mark Zuckerberg extraordinarily rich, as in, according to last year’s Forbes list of top 10 billionaires, No. 6, with a net worth of $44.6 billion, which is financially a bit further along than I was at Zuckerberg’s 32 years. Checking my old State Teachers Retirement System statement enumerating my annual salaries, when I was 32 years old, I was knocking down $22,598 a year and ending each day with chalk dust on my pants.
Those responsible for my entry into the FB community were my beautiful daughters, Shannon and Katie, who decided that dear old dad should at least try to keep up with the rest of the world as well as have a means to see any posted photos of my “grands,” Caroline and Abigail.
Initially, I think I did had every intention of checking in semi-regularly on Facebook, but I just never felt an urge so strong to follow intent with action. When some Facebook prompt would come on my email, a combination of a rather slow computer connection to the site and a lifestyle still helter-skelter enough to significantly limit time on the computer save a few early-morning stolen moments checking my Yankee news or working on my newspaper pieces.
A third hindrance to hopping aboard the old Facebook Express is my penchant for not keeping track of and remembering passwords. I know I should write them all down in one place, but invariably I won’t write them down at all because I think I’ll remember them or write them on little slips of paper, ones which are stolen by the gremlins that move freely about the house during my nocturnal slumbers, so, of course, that makes it more difficult connecting to any site.
As for those 555 posts I somehow missed, you may wonder how a Facebook-averse guy like me got so many friends. Well, my rule is pretty basic. If you want to be my FBF, as in Facebook friend, if I know you and don’t find you too objectionable, I’ll add you to the fold. However, understand that, while I will certainly talk your ear off if I see you in person, I’ll basically ignore you in the Facebook world.
Occasionally, I’ll get a friend request from someone I know but won’t act on it. I got a request from one of my sis’s former high school boyfriends not long ago. While I did like almost all of my sister’s choices through the years, including, of course, her absolute pick of the litter, my bro-in-law, John, this particular former fling three years older now and, of course, back when that really mattered in terms of size and strength as well, used to relish practicing new and surely uninvited wrestling moves on me when he came to the house to see her.
While you might think I’d have gotten over any resentment from 1963 by now, somehow, I still haven’t been able to push that blue “confirm” button.
So, to all my Facebook friends, I’m sorry I missed all those updates a few weeks ago. However, the way I figure it, I’m pretty sure that if something was really important, you’d have found a way to alert me in a non-technological fashion.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News and Our Generation’s Magazine, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.