I absolutely loves me some Facebook. And I know what you’re thinking: What the hell is Todd Smith, the Spazz Dad, doing on Facebook? Isn’t he the guy with the Vagina Eye (Chop It Off) and the overactive colon? You are totally right. I have about as much right of being on the hip social networking website as I do in joining the Harlem Globetrotters. But so be it. I’m logged on and Facebookin’ the hell out of things.
I was invited to join the website by an 18 year old coworker, a hyper college student named Joshlynn. She excitedly told me that “Oh, My, God, Everyone’s Doing It” and that it would be a super awesome way to keep in touch with my friends, since I’m like…old and stuff. Joshlynn said that me and my buddies could send each other pictures and notes back and forth… on our computers! We could even trade virtual gifts.
I was extremely hesitant at first. Joshlynn didn’t fully understand that my friends are different then her friends. While her friends have raging indie-alternative college lives that are filled with gallery shows and Arcade Fire concerts, my friends are all middle aged and sweaty and have shitty jobs and even shittier kids and live on Cultasacks in Eden Prairie. I really didn’t need to see the progression of my friend Peter’s rapidly receding hairline every time I turned on my computer.
Plus, it was a little awkward explaining the whole deal to my wife. She already puts up with enough of my shenanigans. And now I was about to take all my blarney and put it online for the whole world to see. Not a good idea. The conversation went something like this:
“Hey, honey. Yeah, so …I’m going to join this social networking website, where I will be emailing and sending pictures to college age girls and boys.”
Sarah cupped her hands around her mouth and mockingly booed me.
“That’s really funny,” Sarah said, nearly out of breath with wheezing laughter. “You are trying soooo hard to stay cool.”
She had a good point. The kids at my work do actually think I’m cool. What they don’t realize, of course, is that besides my seemingly limitless knowledge of Dave Chappell skits and pop culture in general, I’m really just an uncool 35 year old dad who before work douses his crotch with Gold Bond Medicated Powder and takes Metamucil on a daily basis.
Undeterred, I joined up. Soon I had to choose a profile picture that the whole world would see every time I was using the website. Selecting my profile picture had all the drama of my senior year high school portrait. What do I wear? Do I look fat in this picture? Can they see my goiter in this one? As I deliberated the choices, my sneaky wife went ahead and downloaded an awful looking fake portrait I had done a few years back (which was titled “The Dirty Sanchez”) where I had a bad comb over, opened shirt to showcase chest hair, a greasy mustache, and looked exactly like the type of guy that would actually apply a Dirty Sanchez. Needless to say, it wasn’t my first choice.
Shortly after my icky porno portrait hit the World Wide Web, I was immediately befriended online in my Facebook by the gaggle of twenty something hipsters at my work. It was like Junior High in a box! They posted comments on my wall (a message board like thingy on my main profile page), sent me growing gifts such as donut trees and cherry blossoms, and cute little pictures of cans of whoop ass and shamrocks. We played online games where I was attacked by werewolves and zombies and fought street gangs. They sent me bumper stickers that said catchy things like “My Balls Aren’t Gonna Lick Themselves” and “Stop Snitching”. My college age friends formed groups such as “I Got through Puberty Listening to Loveline” and “I Have a Suspicion that my Teacher Smokes Pot…and that makes me Happy”. One of my coworkers asked me to join her group that was titled “Enough with the Unicycling Already!” I joined immediately because who doesn’t hate fuckers who show off on their fancy one wheeled bikes?
Over time, my network blossomed. And Joshlynn was totally right: everyone is doing Facebook. My friend list now includes a gun toting Marine, smooching hippies, NYC fashionistas, various Minneapolis Public high school rats, a M.I.T. Grad School nerd, and one dental hygienist. It is a daily occurrence that I will get a Friendship request from someone I went to grade school, high school, or college with. It’s so weird to see the names and faces of my past pop up on my computer. As I add them to my network, the memories come roaring back: I went to High School with that guy and he had testicles the size of tennis ball; Oh, my, that girl used to look like Jennifer Aniston but now she looks like Carol Channing; When I was in college, I think I took a shit in that guy’s mail box.
The greatest feature of Facebook is one that no one talks about: Cyber Stalking. As a member of the website, you have access to millions of people, and can stalk all of your friends and family with great ease. You get to know who is in their network and what they are up to. We can peek through a virtual peep hole into their lives without causing suspicion. And before you know it, all the networks are intertwined, and internet snooping comes with your morning coffee.
But the down side of all the cyber stalking is that you can get found by people you have tried to forget. A few weeks ago, the most wickedly popular girl from my childhood found me on Facebook. Megan was not only the cutest girl in the school but also the type of girl who would purposely break your crayons, throw them at you, and shriek with laughter. She had huge boobies in fifth grade, had grown into a full blown woman by seventh grade, and was dating buff high school dudes by eighth grade. She single handedly crushed my soul and then pissed on it. I had heard rumors that Megan had grown up and was now actually quite nice and started a family. Apparently, she was no longer smoking cigarettes behind the junior high, lurking in the shadows, ready to kick me in the gonads for smiling at her. But now there she was, in front of me on my computer, an entire lifetime later, requesting (I like to think she was begging) to be my friend.
In 2004, when Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, his goal was simple: to form an online community solely for Harvard and other Ivy League students to communicate. He had no idea four short years later, his networking website that was to be used strictly for Ivy Leaguers would become a giant popularity contest for bored housebound adults all over the world. As I sat there pondering whether to accept Megan’s request, I moved my cursor back and forth over the yes /no options. Facebook had finally leveled the playing field. For the first time in my life, I felt golden.
I checked yes.