412. Unfriended Progenously


You have likely been unfriended before in the FB world, right?  It happens. You get busy with your own self absorption and fail to pour into one of your face book friends’ self absorption.  Maybe you don’t even realize that your 608 FB friend count is now 607. However, when it’s your own flesh and blood daughter, well, it’s pretty noticeable, and devastating. Yes, bloglings, my daughter unfriended me, and if you hang around I will tell you how in excruciating and humiliating detail.

By post 412 you must know that I am a joker, gadfly, comic, teaser, bear poker, a smoker, and a midnight toker. Okay, I’m getting carried away with Steve Miller’s song cycling in my hamster wheel of memorized songs. Wherever that hamster wheel stops, there’s a song to be sung. OOh, oooh, Sunshine Daydream by the Dead comes up on my shuffle. I’ll be right back. You don’t buy coffee; you merely rent it.

Anyway about a year ago, yes almost exactly at this time of pre-holidays, my lovely lawyer daughter sent out a FB post about employers being liable for their party goer guests if they served alcohol and their guests got in some smash up later. Liability is a big scary word to legalists. Now it was very well written and professional as a gold plated fountain pen. However, I failed to distinguish her professional FB account from her personal account when I  responded foolishly, thinking “She’ll get a laugh out of this response.”

I replied to her warning. It was a Friday as I recall… the last Friday for my already blemished dignity.

“Dear Ms. MCHammer,

I read your article with much interest. Now, I am self employed and work on the second floor of my building, up a flight of 15 steps. My legal question for you is this:  If I have a holiday party and get myself drunk, and then if I should fall down my stairs and injure myself, can I then sue myself? Can I be both plaintiff and respondent? How would that work? ”

My real name was attached.

Never hit send, bloggidos, unless you have thoroughly checked out your global liability. Of course, I hit send and chuckled about the anticipated funny response. My daughter is a funny girl, by the way. Oh, but it was not a funny reply I got.

Monday morning she was called in to her boss’s office. The company CEO was on the phone. They asked what the FB message was all about…. “And who, pray tell, is this guy?”

Horrified, she read the message for the first time under their glare, imagining the end of her brief career in law. “Uh, he’s my dad.” Gulp. Shamefully she looked down at her cute suede mauve shoes. They were comfortable and would be kind to her feet as security escorted her off the campus, she thought. Later on, these shoes would give her steps bouncy energy as she walked from interview to interview, hopelessly trying to escape this professional disaster.

Stunned, the two bosses waited for the other one to say something. Finally the big boss said, “It must have been hard for you in high school.”

She laughed out all the nervous energy that had been building up in her organs like steam.

“You have nooooo idea!”

It is a little known scientific fact that many people laugh spontaneously prior to their own executions. Apparently it helps them relax and die peacefully. It’s an autonomic reaction just before one voids his or her bowels.

“Jack, what do you want to do with the message?”

“I don’t know, Jim.” Pause. Smirk. ” Just leave it up. Hell, it is pretty funny. It’ll show we have a sense of humor here at Litigation Nation.”

My daughter sighed a deep sigh of relief. “Oh, thank you. I’m sorry. It will not happen again. I promise….”

“We know because you are going to unfriend him. Block him from any attachment to this company. Disenfranchise this clown. Cut him off….”

“Yes, sir. I will. I was adopted, by the way. We are nothing alike. I’ll bring in my birth certificate and take a DNA swab if you like.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

Later that day I got the upset word from my daughter. Man oh man!!  Have you ever felt like your body is melting away? My feet melted, then my legs, as my stomach dropped to a pig farm in China where, coincidentally, pig stomachs were being harvested on that very day.  Shame, like ice cold formaldehyde pumped through my vascular system, embalming me in that moment, naked in my sin, on display for all to mock in the Norwegian wedge of Antarctica. I felt like I’d killed her dog, which is the best dog ever. It hurt in a hollowed out way, not sharp local pain but all consuming galactic pain that burst out into deep space. I hate to hurt others, but hurting my daughter felt like instant lung cancer. Breathing suddenly hurt, as if shards of glass were in every breath.

Image result for arabian desert pictures

I was exiled. Sent into the desert of social media to wander aimlessly till the end of my useless, shame filled life. Only ghosts and specters, slivers of shattered humanity inhabit that wasteland. Unplugged and unfriended, they hide by day and watch distant fires by night, knowing they may never approach. Modern day millennial lepers. I’m the guy on the left in the picture below.

Never lose hope, my one-humped blog camels. Forgiveness may show up one day like rain in that arid wasteland you are wandering through. It did for me. As I painted my daughter’s house this past month, she asked me how she could ever thank me. I saw an opening and took a shot. “Refriend me on Facebook. That’s all I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

“That’s all? You know I’m resigning from Litigation Nation in two days, right?”

“Yes, I know. Please reinstate me. I will not be improper ever again.”

“Deal, Daddio.”

Suddenly my leper chrysalis fell away and a forgiven butterfly slipped out to float away on a breeze of mercy, never to fart in the wind again.



188. Social Media Medusa– Don’t Look Now

Image result for facebook icon picturesI did it finally; joined up with the evil empire of Facebook. Why? One reason:  I wanted to open up traffic on my blog. That’s it. I have no interest in where you went drinking last night or how cozy you are now in your new Christmas pajamas. It’s so trifling, I think. Life lived via mosquito bites. I’m not going there. No comment from me.  Nosirreee. The other connection icons simply confuse me. What is Tumblr, Twitter and the other signs? I don’t want to learn the language of cyber graffiti… how to do it or interpret it. No thanks. I had a hard enough time with Spanish and Latin. They were required classes back in the day.

I fear that Facebook is the modern equivalent of the mythical Medusa, the snake-haired monster whose gaze turned onlookers to stone.  Medusa was so arrogant and irreverent that she compared her own beauty to that of the goddess Athena, who did not handle the mortal comparison well at all. She cursed the beautiful woman and created a situation where Medusa’s face caused instant, horrible petrified death for any mortal who beheld her disfigured appearance. Well, can Facebook turn you to stone? Perhaps. It’s not making you any more beautiful, folks, as you hang your new, used and soiled laundry out there on cyber clothes lines. See, it all starts with narcissism, staring in the mirror longer than is necessary for hygienic reasons. You start to glom on to your own sense of glamour, “Oh my, how ravishing am I?” And then the tumblrs begin to click, and there you are, posting self indulgent selfies that really aren’t that glamorous. A rumbling begins like a bad sinus infection in your face; your hair turns serpentine; your eyes become red dot laser beams. Then truly, looks can kill.Image result for medusa pictures

Don’t look now. I mean it.  Staring relentlessly at your timeline and cute attached videos helps your blood coagulate as adipose deposits link up in your butt. Each peek is like another shot of Botox in your brow, stiffening your range of facial expression. People, stuff is happening out there in real time as you sit helplessly chained to your imaginary friends. Listen: I once knew a guy who bragged that he had 600 Facebook friends. I asked how many had helped him move furniture at least once. “None,” was his answer. “Real friends help you move your stuff,” was mine. Oh well, I’m not going to change the world with another cranky rant against the fashion of the day. Nor am I offering to move your couch. Let’s keep it superficial. Don’t ask; don’t tell.

“Everyone is doing it,” said the naked and intoxicated folks in the pool. “Don’t be a prude. It’s fun and freeing and feels good.” I grabbed my wallet and tightened my belt the last time I heard similar lines. I don’t want to be a nude pirate or a swinging sugar daddy. If prude is the front end of prudent, I’m down with that. In fact, better a dry prude than a water ravaged prune with a hangover.

Here’s my problem, Blogwaddlers. ( I know, you’re thinking, ‘ Just one?’ ) I start posts with only a wisp of an idea and I go forth– no gas, no map, no where. Nothing but my cell phone and a roll of duct tape. And I write myself out to the end of a figurative diving board above a pool filled with hungry alligators. I bounce and ponder my options. 1.) I could tuck my tail, which I do not literally possess, and walk back my previous paragraphs, toning them down and making a viable way out of the mess I have created. 2.) I could continue to aimlessly bounce. 3.) Or I could dive headlong into the reptilian reservoir. 4.) Or I could reserve the right to another choice that I have not thought of yet. Well, being the intrepid courageous blogger that I am in front of my monitor, safely seated in a leather swivel chair, I choose to face the unthinking carnivores below my poetic board. Mind you, I am not for one second getting off my diving board. No Nellie. I have to solve this riddle like Perseus did when he faced his Medusa.  Let me reiterate: I am not getting in that pool.

So the clever Perseus was blessed by various gods with gifts– a sword, a helmet that made him invisible, winged sandals,  and a shiny shield. With all these weapons he could sneak up on the Medusa and shine her stony gaze back onto her via his shield. Being invisible he could get next to the ugly monster and whack her head off with that super sword. And that’s what he did. But I lack these weapons as I face a pool of toothy predators snapping at my precarious perch. Oh my, what will I do?

Well, if you watch enough animal rescue and cop shows, you know that alligators have great muscle strength when they chomp down those mighty jaws but little strength in the reverse. Also you know that they are not too clever or adaptive. So I have the upper hand. As I bounced on my dreamlike diving board, I devised a plan worthy of Perseus. I would lean over the pool and snap pictures of the gregarious gators to attract the monsters to me. As they posed and primped for their glam shot, I would loop a clever noose of duct tape around their snouts, and quickly wrap it tight as they recovered from the temporary blindness of the photo flash. Yeah! Who’s snapping now?  One by one I’d lure these left over dinosaurs into the fame zone and zap! Depotentiate each despotic dental-fanged thrasher. Only then would I walk unharmed across their bumpy backs into myth and history.

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And now the moral:  well, um, the whole thing is preposterous, I know. The longer the post, the less coherent and serious it has  become. And let this be a lesson about staring too long into the face of Medusa or Facebook or alligators. Someone could get hurt.Image result for googly eyed human faces