Archives for posts with tag: Facebook

Three years ago my step father, Frank, passed away from complications of ALS. The disease robbed him of his speech, his ability to eat, and the use of his arms before it eventually took his life. I’m still not very comfortable talking about how cruel ALS proved to be when it struck my family.

As the #alsicebucketchallenge grows exponentially it seems necessary pin down how I feel about this social media madness. I feel annoyed that my newsfeed is overrun with these posts. I feel embarrassed for all the people that drop the bucket on their heads. I feel a pull at my chest each time I hear or read those letters “ALS”.

That’s where I get stuck. That pull at my chest. ALS feels like a swear word. I don’t like saying. I don’t like hearing. It doesn’t sound like any other disease to me. It sounds hopeless. People forget when they post these laughing and shrieking and even stoic declarations of support that real people have ALS. Friends and family members of ALS victims see these posts.

This man doesn’t know ALS will take him before he turns 60: Frank

On the other side, as I’m sure Frank would argue, this has generated a tremendous amount of money and support for the cause. For all the pulls at my chest and all the annoyances, that’s certainly worth something.

If you’ve been challenged or you’d just like to donate to a good cause let me suggest donating to the Robert J. Packard Center at John’s Hopkins University. Their focus is research over awareness and that research is damn impressive. 

Who says silliness can’t benefit a good cause?

 

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A few years ago I lost touch with a friend (pictured below) under unclear circumstances.

mfa2

She was mad at me? I was mad at her? Someone’s boyfriend didn’t like someone’s girlfriend? The weather here is too volatile? I honestly don’t know. Whatever the cause, we no longer speak. Ever. Not even the idle online chat we once frequented. When we briefly ended up in the same city last year, we made eye contact across a crowded convention center and she fled in the opposite direction.

Yes, it’s that bad and I can’t say why.

Then, this year, I gave into the Candy Crush lure. (Stay with me.) Not long after I connected the game to facebook, I got a notification. “Your friend has sent you a life. Accept?” After the reaction at the convention center I’d expected this friend to cut that last tie, to unfriend me on facebook, but she never did. Instead she sent me a life. A digital olive branch?

Now I’m trying not to read too much into this. It’s just a game. She didn’t actually reach out to me. She didn’t say hello to me at that convention center. She didn’t explain her disappearance from my life. She did, however, see my name with a bit of kindness. Enough kindness (or lack of repulsion) to agree to send me the life.

Maybe that’s a start.

We just returned from our delayed honeymoon in Cancun. We ate. We drank. We got a little sunburned (as one would expect of fair skinned Midwesterners in winter). We devoured our books and sat on the beach.

I couldn’t have asked for a more ideal honeymoon. Obviously we wanted to share it.

But we didn’t want to over share.

Instead of posting a picture of the view from our room… And our first frozen drinks. And our feet in the sand. And the lizard on the walk. And the beautiful plating of our first meal. And the look of love in my wife’s eyes. And the way she looked like she could take over the world, striding into the waves. And the way the light caught the clouds as the sun set over the bay.

Instead of posting all that glory we simply this out to the world:

cancun

This picture got nearly as many likes and comments as our engagement. People seem to like our love. Maybe they like our simplicity and restraint, too. I can’t say I disagree. It’s easy to get carried away – particularly when you’re in love. The world should know your joy. Our joy, however, seems to be a little more palatable in small doses.

Yesterday, the girlfriend and I officially announced our engagement. Family, friends, facebook (in that order).

Then we waited for the likes to roll in, the facebook love, the affirmation of our relationship, the approval we don’t want to admit we need in these modern times.

Then, well, things got a little tense.

All of our mutual friends (even those friends of mine who had only met the girlfriend long enough to deem a friend request appropriate) liked her status. Only her status. As her likes reach closer and closer to 100, mine have stabilized around 30. Obviously her likes are my likes. People like the relationship thus they like us both. Oy, I’m tired of saying like. But this division is like a gnat buzzing in my ear. It seems to work like this: I requested the relationship change and she accepted. Thus, with her action being final, she ends up in the newsfeed. Why would facebook integrate this kind of divisive coding into its rulebook and not combine the likes as it did with this adorable picture of us?

Let me be clear, facebook is not really ruining my engagement. I’m head over heels in love. I’m stoked. I’m already dreaming of the Target registry and planning the reception. Though I’m not sure how I’ll wear my hair…

This simply isn’t a problem I expected to encounter. History says the good ‘ol days never were. Life has always been hard. Yet here, in this particularly modern conundrum, I can’t help but wish for a simpler time.

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