Better Things to Do


Like cell phones, super bowls and Starbucks’ lattes, Facebook has become an indelible part of our lives. For some reason, it’s now imperative that the world be updated on every thing we do. Not only are we informed of one another’s daily activities, but also there are pictures to back it up. We now know what each other’s day consists of…and it’s mostly screwing around.

The three types of people who use Facebook are the ones who sign up for it and then never look at it again. The ones who go on it every so often to post something that may or may not be interesting, and finally there are the people who live on Facebook. Their lives are incomplete unless they update the world on everything they are doing every five minutes. I’m guessing their thinking is, your life is incomplete if you don’t see their post. The subliminal message might be, See, I have a life, or Please, somebody like me. I’m not pointing the finger at anyone, that’s actually done with every post. I’ve also found that people who are busy in life are seldom on Facebook. Those losers need to get a life. Everyone knows without Facebook, you’re nothing.

People are funny. They get upset when the National Security Agency eavesdrops on their phone conversations or rifles through their email, but they have no qualms whatsoever about throwing out private information about themselves via an array of social media outlets.

Here’s a typical Facebook exchange:
“My boy went to the bathroom in his pants today.” 🙁
“I thought he was 16 yrs old?”
“No, he’s only 15.”

There was a study done that showed people who are on Facebook several times a day tend to be more insecure. What? No. To me that’s like saying people who drink a lot of alcohol tend to be alcoholics. On an up note, there are other studies that show that not everyone who posts frequently on Facebook is insecure, so maybe you’re one of them. Put that comment up on Facebook and see what people think. I don’t go on Facebook too much, but I am insecure. I try to hide it by drinking until I’m falling down, but I’m not an alcoholic because I’m an exception.

There are benefits to Facebook. You know what people are up to, and it’s a lot easier to catch them in a lie. Your boyfriend may tell you that he spent a quiet evening at home, but his Facebook page tells a different story. The dumb bum in a drunken haze doesn’t realize he put a flurry of pictures from the Princess Palace Strip Club, toasting his beer to the camera while in the midst of a lap dance.

You have to have compassion for him, though. He was caught between a Roxie and a hard place, trying to show his friends how cool and exciting his life is, but also hoping to hold on to his wife, whose lap dances are free.

Life isn’t always easy. The number one reason why couples break up used to be communication problems, now it’s Facebook. You can lie but unfortunately pictures don’t. As a matter-of-fact, things you share on Facebook and social media are being used as evidence in court. And when you’re sitting in that courtroom next to your high-priced divorce attorney and ol’ Amber Honeycomb takes the stand, you’re going to be mumbling, “Damn you, Facebook,” as that lap dance ends up costing you a lot more than you originally spent on it.

Facebook also reminds us how old we’ve become. Faces of high school friends scroll by everyday, and we’re like What happened to Joey’s hair or I can’t believe how puffy Julie’s cheeks are. I see a lot of my old girlfriends, and usually have one of two thoughts: Damn, why didn’t I marry her? Or, damn, I’m so glad I didn’t marry her. The young people you once knew have all gotten so old. Am I the only one who hasn’t changed?

Facebook gives you the highlights of people’s lives. The trip to Europe. The Disney cruise. The kid’s acceptance to an Ivy League college. Pictures from the beautiful wedding ceremony in Bora Bora. A new tattoo. The Mariah Carey concert. It seems like everyone on Facebook has a great life. Oh, if only it were true.

There should be an alternate Facebook. One that is perhaps more realistic. How about the DisgraceBook. Pictures of the toilet overflowing. The family sitting around eating pizza watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians with the house in shambles. The cat throwing up on the carpet. A snapshot of the eviction notice on the front door. You never see a post on Facebook that reads, “I hate when rude people repossess your car because you haven’t paid your bill in a year.” With a picture of a flabby, sweaty tow-truck driver giving a thumb’s up next to your car that’s lifted off the ground.

Sometimes people request to friend me and I’m like, do I know her? I must be old because my memories are fading. Anyway, I friend them and the next thing you know, she’s telling me she’s a nurse in Nigeria and she needs plane fare to come over to help her sick father. Oh I’m not as dumb as I act. I only waste money, not squander it. Anyway, she’ll be here next month, so I’d better tidy up, clear out the pizza boxes and cat vomit-if the Marshall hasn’t thrown me out by then.

I have nothing against Facebook, if anything, it’s connected me with old friends I might never have talked to again in life. It’s also put me in touch with people I was hoping never to talk to again in life, but you take the good with the bad. There are people that pop up from the past that I’m so glad I’ve gotten back in touch with, but then after a brief exchange of getting updated on their life, I got nothing. I’m usually left writing a message like, “It’s so good to hear from you, let’s stay in touch,” and then the ball drops and rolls away.

Facebook points out the irony of life. The homely high school girl is now a knockout. The prom queen is as big as the trailer she lives in. The nerd has a multi-million dollar software company. And the star quarterback is in rehab.

One thing about Facebook, it gets the important news out there. Like weather updates. I get an avalanche of them from friends around the country. I know they’re not lying because there’s usually a picture of them next to a snowman. Sure snowstorms are a big part of life, but chill out already.

Facebook is addictive. Some people just can’t live without it. I think there will soon be rehab facilities filled with social media junkies who’ve checked out of reality and can only live vicariously through Facebook. I can see family interventions where they sit the mother down and tell her nothing’s been getting done around the house, and nobody has eaten in days because she’s been glued to her computer screen. But don’t expect her to quit the stuff cold turkey.

“I can’t help it,” she’ll probably explain. “Don’t you understand Becky had a baby; my boss got a new dog; my niece made a batch of chocolate chip cookies; and it’s snowing in Cleveland? How do you expect me to function without this knowledge? Now leave me to my laptop!” Do you know someone like this who just needs a good slap across the Facebook?

Now let’s turn our attention to the “like” button, which simplifies things. It shows that you took the time to at least look at what someone put up on their wall. A lot of times you don’t really want to be having conversations with this person, but you don’t want them to think you hate them, either. That’s where the “like” comes in. Most importantly,

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it saves you from having to think of something clever to write. I’m only programmed to make snide remarks and zany quips, but aren’t always willing to put the effort into them, so I give a pass by hitting “like.” I never know how people will take my comments, so just to be on the safe side I go with the “like” button. It beats lying awake in bed all night wondering if someone might think you meant something else.

All in all, I like Facebook—although I’m up in the air on its detrimental effects on society, if there are any. One side of my brain tells me, it’s fun to share. The other tells me, don’t we have better things to do in this life, like read a book, go hiking with the kids, do the work we were hired to do, or Tweet people? Perhaps we do, but we’ve still got to get credit for doing it, and that’s where Facebook comes in.

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by Jeff Charlebois

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