Monday, April 8, 2013

The Four People You Meet On Facebook

According to the latest study, the average American spends 7 hours and 45 minutes a month on Facebook.  That is the equivalent of a typical work day, a good night's sleep, or a trip to IKEA.*

*If you've ever made it out of IKEA in under 8 hours and $500, then you're clearly a witch..

Facebook, Twitter, "Hipster-Gram" and their ilk seem innocuous enough, but let's face it; they are just a socially acceptable form of stalking.  And for someone like me who is so goddamned nosy I make Gladys Kravitz look like Boo Radley, well, let's just say that Facebook is my raison d'etre.  But there are limits, y'all.  Scrolling through someone's vacation photos?  Fine.  Commenting on their witty Grumpy Cat meme?  Perfectly OK.  But when you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time trolling the Facebook page and Twitter feed of your significant other's ex, or downloading pictures of other people's children, then your life is probably about as empty as Charlie Sheen's wine cellar and it's time to step away from the keyboard and onto a therapist's couch.*

*It's lonely out there on the grassy knoll, yo.

I know a lot of people (a few of them QUITE well) who use Facebook as a free version of; flipping through the photos of their friends' friends, hoping to stumble across that one profile pic that has their nether regions quivering with joy.  But Facebook can be deceiving, y'all.  I have two words for you:  Manti T'eo.  Be ever vigilant to the fact that the 23 year old Victoria's Secret model with whom you are chatting could well be a 57 year old Best Buy employee with a beard and an overbite.  Unless you want Nev and Max knocking on your door with their camcorder and faux empathy, then I suggest you keep your correspondence PG-13, Catfish.

But for all it's foibles and douchebaggery, for the most part, Facebook is what Zuckerberg intended:  Social Media.

"Demented and sad. . .but social."

And as with any other social gathering, you will find that most people fall into very specific subtypes.  For example. . .


God knows, I love animals, and I am the last one to wish ill will on any living being. . .*

*Except for snakes.  Because. . .fuck snakes.

But when I'm sitting at my desk, about to take a bite of my pork belly sandwich and dirty fries from Lardo, the last thing I need to see is a color photo of Babe getting cornholed with a taser.  Yes, I know there's cruelty and mistreatment of animals, and I understand that every time I take a bite of chicken or order a Denver omelet I am just one more cog in the Orwellian industrial machine, but in my defense animals can be real assholes.  Have you ever seen an episode of 'Animal Face-Off'?  Trust me, after you've watched a gorilla go all Wes Craven on a tiger you won't be so quick to start signing with him over banana daquiris.  Do I think animals should be protected?  Absolutely.  Do I think they should have rights?  Not so much. When we live in a world where women are still not allowed to vote or own property, where people die of curable conditions simply because they lack access to medical care, and where children are abused and neglected because there is no one to advocate for them, then the fact that L'Oreal is testing Frost-n-Tip on bunnies just isn't on my freaking radar.  I choose my battles wisely, y'all.  And if it's a choice between a possible cure for a child's cancer and liberating some lab rodent, then Ratatouille can go pound sand.


I know that these cartoons and sites like "Mommy Needs a Cocktail" and "I'm Going to Flip the Susan Smith Switch If I Don't Start Doing Jager Bombs" are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but when I see you post nine times in a six-hour time frame about your desperation to start binge-drinking at soccer practice then I'm gonna throw down more 12 Steps than a contestant on 'So, You Think You Can Dance'.*

*And, on a side note, enough with the goddamned yoga pants in public.  If you have time to go on Facebook and post about how you don't have time to put on real pants, then YOU HAVE TIME TO PUT ON REAL PANTS!  Don't make me go all Tim Gunn on your Lycra-clad ass.

If the internet is to be believed, all mothers are so consumed by sturm and drang that the only possible relief comes from ingesting enough alcohol to anesthetize a yeti, lest we go upside our children's heads like Bobby Brown on Whitney.*

*R.I.P. Ms. Houston.

Personally, I find this sentiment to be offensive.  Are my short people annoying?  Sometimes.   Are there times where I think I'll lose my shit if I play one more game of 'Go Fish'?  You betcha.  But 90% of the time (well, maybe closer to 80%), I genuinely like hanging out with my kids; they are smart, and funny, and self-sufficient, and usually they smell pretty good.*

*Except when they smell like ass and cheese.

Trust me, I understand the urge to drink.  I made a solid ten year commitment to bitch-slapping my liver, but my children were not what made me drink, my children were what made me sober.  So, if you're REALLY that driven to beer-bong that bottle of Turning Leaf Chardonney at 3:00pm, you might want to do a little self-actualization. But before I start spouting out random nuggets of lifestyle advice and Big Book adages like some autistic Dr. Phil, let me simply state that it is a slippery slope from posting eCards about vodka and minivans to being the hot mess on the bench in stained yoga pants screaming "Peyton, NO!  That's Mommy's 'special' juice!"


Stop.   Seriously.   Just. . .stop.


Attention.  Approval.  Adulation.  It is a substance so addictive it makes crystal meth look like Splenda,  and whether or not we choose to admit it, the majority of us spend a greater part of our life in pursuit of that one moment when someone beams down and assures us that "we is kiiiiiind, we is gooooooood, we is important".  The quest for attention has led people to such spectadular act of douchebaggery as auditioning for "The Real World", marrying a Menendez brother, or starting a blog.*

*Please like me.

And nowhere is self-aggrandization more fully embraced than on one's Facebook timeline.  We all have that one "friend".  The one who posts Instagrammed iPad close-ups of their face every. Damned. Day.  You scroll through their timeline photos and it becomes like some circa-1950's Disney flipbook as picture after picture of their beaming visage stares back at you, regardless of the accompanying post. 

"Lunch with the girls at Cafe Blase.  Yummers!"

"Jake and Chloe just made junior varsity soccer!  SO proud of my kiddos."

"After nine grueling surgeries, Grandpa finally died after bleeding out on the operating table.  His last words were that he wished he could have made amends with his children.  Today we are all reeling at the fragility of life."

I'm not saying you shouldn't feel free to post the occasional picture showing off your sassy new haircut or proving to the men in your life that those nasty cold sores have cleared up, but when you're more over-exposed than an albino at Club Med then it's time to stop and smell the neuroses, my friend.  Remember, there's no 'I' in 'Facebook', but there are three in 'narcissistic'.

As aforementioned, I love Facebook like Rihanna loves Chris Brown: blindly, passionately, but with a healthy dose of fear and trepidation.  For me, Facebook has been a means of connecting with old college friends, keeping in touch with my grad school homies as we start our careers in many and sundry ends of the earth, and reminding myself (whilst reading late-night posts so incoherent they make Courtney Love sound like Margaret Thatcher) exactly why I no longer drink.  But every now and then I have to step back and reassess exactly what I'm putting out there in the world.*

*Hence the reason people are no longer able to post directly to my wall without approval.  Suffice to say, some "friends" in the past have abused the privilege and I'm just not sure I want my family clicking on my page to see a cartoon of some dude getting his salad tossed by a Japanese schoolgirl.
Urban Dictionary-dot-com: TOSSED SALAD.  My apologies in advance)

So, every now and then, stop to reassess. . .clean house, if you will, and look at your Facebook page as though you were your grandmother, or a potential employer.  And remember the cardinal rule:  If you don't want anyone to know about it, DON'T PUT IT ON FACEBOOK.*

*Or. . .you know. . .just don't freaking do it in the first place, Dipshit.

And every few months or so, stop to look at who your "friends" really are.  If you're like most of us, 30-40% of them genuinely care about your life and your well-being.  The rest are just curious.



Social Assassin said...

Spot on and as hilarious as ever Jen!! ;)
At the Rihanna/Chris Brown comment, I uttered a laugh so explosive, I barked like a dog. Your wit and insight are a constant revelation, and I am glad that some Facebook stalkery brought you and I together for the exchange of ideas and cringeworthy puns. I have nothing but the utmost respect for you, .....but the snakes are staying ;)

Killer Cupcake said...

Is it wrong that the first thing I thought when looking at the duck-faced bimbo was "She totally needs her nails done..." ??

We all have our issues, mama.

Abby said...

Yes to everything, especially the "selfie" people. WTF? They're also the ones who refer to people as "besties" and use "wuz" instead of "was." Guess what? Same amount of letters. "Unfriend."

Anyway, I also don't need to read personal conversations in status updates to your significant other. Send them a freaking private message. You might love them, but we don't.

Killer Cupcake said...

Oh, and also? I totally know all four of those people. I also may or may not be all four of those people. Or at least one of them.

On occasion.

Except the yoga pants mom. I loved spending time with my kids more than I can even begin to explain. I miss them more than I'd miss oxygen if it suddenly disappeared from my life. And I never... NEVER leave the house without wearing real pants.

I promise.

Except for a little bit ago, when I went to get the mail in my yoga pants.

But I'm sick, so it totally didn't count.


Jen said...

ASSASSIN- I love you and Emily mad hard, but your snakes can eat a bag of dicks. xoxo

DANI- Pfft! You're totally Facebook PC, Girl. And I actually wore yoga pants for three days straight when I had pneumonia. Sick rules do not apply.

ABBY- Oh Christ on a Criuton the "love poster"; AARRRRRGGGGH!!! Remind me yet again on social media that I'm not getting laid. Thanks for that.

Erica B said...

can I add one? How about the friend that changes their profile picture more often than a porn star changes positions. I mean seriously. make up your f-ing mind.

there is also, the woe-is-me passive aggressive drama queen. The one that spews all sorts of bad shit happening to them, complains about it, and yet does nothing to work to solve the problem.

Frances Gronlier said...

Or that friend who's life choices and the way they rear their children makes you scratch your head or facepalm and then she sends like 30 posts of advise on life and kids which makes sense but doesn't she follow them? Seriously this chick makes teen moms look good.

Tiffany said...

Preach on, sister. Amen to all of it.

I especially hate when people comment that they don't understand how people homeschool because they'd kill their kids if they had to be around them all the time. (My mom says that a lot. Thanks, Mom.)

I always want to respond that if your kids are that awful to be around, then maybe they need to be pulled out of the environment you have put them in, and spend more time with them. Time and love does a world of good for a kid's psyche & attitude. They're still turds sometimes, but that's better than the giant man logs that they are now. Your kids will know if you don't like them, and they'll act out even more to force you to pay attention to them. There are private schools with shorter hours and less homework, just so the kids aren't over-scheduled and get to have plenty of family time. Its important.

So many kids don't get family time, don't truly feel loved, and our culture is going down the porta-john because of it.

Mrs Social Assassin said...

Jen! I love you, but no snake bashing!! we love our scaley babies like you love Jeremy/Nathan.....and as for eating a bag of dicks, it won't be long before Mel is big enough to eat the human attached to the dick!! So be careful..... ;o)

Anonymous said...

I had to post as anonymous bc my phone wouldn't let me fill in the name option. LAME.
My favorite is the cryptic poster-the ones who post their drama so vague they're just yearning for someone to ask "what's wrong, hon?" "Everything okay?" "We love you!!!"
Give me a break. I don't have time for your loneliness or your drama. Unfriended.

Pat said...

Dead on. I'm sharing this on my FB page. Maybe some people will get the hint.

Also, duck-faced bimbo needs to stay the hell out of the tanning bed.

Jeri said...

100% agree to this "And if it's a choice between a possible cure for a child's cancer and liberating some lab rodent, then Ratatouille can go pound sand." DAMN RIGHT. And what about those people that "like" their own status? I'm mean, seriously?

Jeri said...

and how bout the ones that "like" their own posts?

Jen said...

ERICA - I have unfriended so many of those negative Nancies you have no idea. "OHMIGOD! I'm sooooo stressed out about the HELL I have to deal with today!" And then it turns out they're going to the DMV...not having a kidney transplant...not watching a child die...going to the DMV. Shut. The fuck. Up.

FRANCES - That's why I don't post parenting advice. Those who can't do, shouldn't preach. ;)

TIFFANY - I was at the park with the shorties last summer and a woman started asking how long I'd been with the family. I said, "Ummm...since they were born...I'm their mother." She laughed and said, "Oh! I just assumed you were the nanny because you're having so much FUN with them!" Wait...what?

EMILY - When Christian and I come to visit, I promise that I will hold one of them...briefly...but only the little one.

ANONYMOUS - ARGGGHHH!!!! That bugs the ever-lovin' shit out of me too! If something's wrong then SAY SO; don't waste my time with this 20 Questions skullfuckery.

PAT - That chica has multiple issues. I'd venture a guess that melanoma is the least of her concerns.

JERI - It astounds me that Facebook even ALLOWS you to like your own posts/comments. Of COURSE you like your own posts, if you didn't, you wouldn't have posted them in the first place.

Johi Kokjohn-Wagner said...

My children were rabid today. I poured a glass of wine while making dinner at 4:30. I hope you still love me.
I know you still love me. You can't help it. Most people can't.

For the record, I'm making beef stroganof, hence the wine. I'll post a pic on the facebook and tag you in it. I'll even put my own exhausted face in there too, just for extra impact. Even though I look like hell today, at least you know this bitch isn't wearing yoga pants while making the duck lips face.

Now I have to go cry for every time I accidentally looked at the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Assassin's pet snake. In retaliation, I'm totally going to take a picture of a hideously enormous pony dong and tag Mr. Assassin so he can experience a similar SURPRISE! I'll be posting that on the facebook too, of course.

What else did I miss? Oh yeah, I'll do all of this right after I "save" a bunch of lab rats so that I no longer have to buy that super fucking expensive cat food for Smelly Cat.

P.S.Is is safe to assume that the whole Vegan thing didn't "take" with you?

P.P.S. I'm really feeling like an asshole today. I'm sure no one noticed.

P.P.S. What was I saying?

CLR said...

Still on facebook, and still check it (why???) but you are so right - same crap, different day.

What's worse to me, about the ones that are CONSTANTLY posting pictures of themselves are the ones that are over 30...WHAT.IS.UP.WITH.THAT????

I can 'sorta' understand teenyboppers' needs for 'look at me', 'I'm so cute', 'Affirm me, like me, etc.' but a gal that went to school with me doing the whole 'armpod self photos'??? GET OVER YOURSELF!!!

Dawn Marie said...

What cracks me up is I have a Facebook "friend" who keeps postings pics of herself. She's over 45 and she's as ugly as bigfoots hairy asshole. That and whiny post... Oh woe is me and fml. The number one thing that really irritates is like someone said already, "wus", "gud" "wat" that shit gets on my nerves. I just wants to scream at them how ignorant they sound. Is it so fucking hard to spell out was, good or what? WTF???

Valerie said...

I'm friends with every single one of these fuckers... And their mostly family so I can't de friend them. Jerks.



Social Assassin said...

If anyone who has been affected by snake-based trauma during the making of this blog, and wishes to work at removing their fear by seeing a picture of my snakes, (including Elvis, who Jen has now publicly stated she will hold), I have posted a picture of them on my Facebook page. Search for 'SocialAssassinBlog' when you accidentally stalk me and tell me about your yoga pants addiction.

Cheryl Soler said...

Gah! I know those people. And Vaguebookers make me want to hurt people!

Also, I have to say that this quote: " And for someone like me who is so goddamned nosy I make Gladys Kravitz look like Boo Radley. . ."


Jana said...

For a second I had to make sure that I wasn't one of "those" people. But then I realized that I like meat, I post funny pictures of my kids (and actually enjoy hanging with them), and I stand by my college alma mater rules (Chico State Rules)...if there are not pictures of you, you were NEVER there. I also want to seriously gut punch those friends of mine who post all the "inspirational" crap and THOUSANDS of instagram pictures of their duck faces...ARRGHH Seriously, shut it.

Anonymous said...

I just love how a post about how much you hate snakes (what? That's totally what this entire post was about, right?), has ended with a promise from you to hold one of Kevin & Em's snakes. Well played, Elvis. Well played, indeed. ;)

Mrs Social Assassin said...

That's because Elvis is King! Everyone loves Elvis ;o)

Laura said...

Dawn Marie...

slow clap...

She's over 45 and she's as ugly as bigfoots hairy asshole


I mean


Anonymous said...

You have too many excellently-used asterisks for me to mistake you for an autistic Dr. Phil.

I loved this post.

Brett Minor said...

The Facebook person I hate is the one who puts out a vague post designed to make someone say, "What's wrong?"

I want to drive over to their house and give them something to actually be upset about. If you really want to air your "whatever" on Facebook, then just do it. Don't fish for someone to drag it out of you.

Linda Roy said...

I read this last week on my phone and didn't get to comment til now, but I've gotta tell you Jen, spot freaking on and really really funny.

Here are my favorites:

The Humble Brag
The Play For Sympathy/Attention
The Gray Food Picture
The Obligatory and All Too Regular "Date Night" Fancy Dinner Photos (From people without children. Isn't every night date night?)

And the thing Brett is talking about. Drives me crazy.

TheOtherLisa said...

I was gonna say something here, very profound, very poignant. Actually relevant. But I spent all day working a trade show and my eldest girl child made me a margarita with teeth.

So, hi Jen!!