Friday, April 17, 2009

Fear of Facebook

It all started, interestingly enough, with Morry Roach. Morry Roach was a kid from Pleasant Hill Junior High in California. We were both in seventh and eighth grade together and if memory serves we both took the same Spanish class with a teacher who looked something like a combination of Pee Wee Herman and Tiny Tim. I don’t know if we were friends, and I don’t even remember what he looked like so I dusted off my Jr. High yearbook. According to his picture Morry was an average size kid with that long shaggy hair style so popular with teenage boys in the seventies. I can’t explain why his name has stuck with me all these years, but it has.

So, anyway I was playing around on the internet a few weeks ago, doing random google searches on people’s names. I searched myself, my kids, a few people I remember from high school, and I noticed that the chances of pulling up information on the right person increased dramatically if the name was a bit more unusual. There are hundreds of John Smith’s and Bill Browns, so locating my high school buddy and first kiss Mike McMahon in this manner is next to impossible.

After running through all my families’ names, I searched through my memory for a name that was more unique and low and behold, Morry Roach came to mind. Sure enough, Morry showed up in google as a member of the online community, Facebook. Clicking on the link I was shown a microscopic photo of a man in his mid forties who may or may not have been my long haired classmate of yesteryear. However when I tried to gather more info, I was informed in no uncertain terms that Mr. Roach and his information were part of an elitest community that could only be approached by signing up with Facebook and then requesting the honor of being on his list of legitimate friends.

Yeah, like I was going to do that. I’m sure Morry not only doesn’t remember me but would find it strange if not a little stalker-ish to know that some kid from his awkward adolescent years was trying to look him up. In fact, the whole point of the internet is to gather information from the safe position of an anonymous outsider not actually make contact. So I left the computer for a more wise use of my time, and turned on the TV.

Then, yesterday a really amazing thing happened. Out of the blue, I got an email from a good friend I’d known in college. She said that her son was recently married and that there were pictures of the event on Facebook.


But what choice did I have. I was willing to live my life without knowing for sure if the Facebook Morry was my Morry, but I really really wanted to see those pictures. I would have to bite the bullet and get on Facebook.

It was strange and surreal experience. I entered my personal information and then suddenly I was bombarded with toenail sized pictures of people I knew and people I didn’t. Relatives and neighbors popped onto the screen as if somehow the program had crept into my brain and accessed all my memories. The boy who takes care of our dog when we go out of town, was right there next to my sister-in-law in California and my daughter who lives upstate. And intermixed were people I never even heard of from places I’ve never been.

Then Facebook asked me if I wanted to look up any people from my past. I thought again of Morry Roach. Sure I was curious as to where life had taken him in the thirty plus years since Jr. High but I didn’t want to actually make contact. No, all I really wanted to do was see my friend’s son’s wedding pictures.

At last I was an official Facebook member, and happily, I entered my friends email and waited with anticipation. Sure enough, up popped a tinsy tiny photo of four itty bitty people, and a note that if I wanted a better look, I’d have to apply to be my friend’s friend. Ahhhhh

As of this writing, I still haven’t seen the pictures, but the kid down the street just asked me to be on his friend list. So I guess that’s something.

PS I've decided I'm just not a facebook kinda girl and have taken myself off. Oh well


Anonymous said...

Okay, Deanne, do you really think I would reject your friend request on facebook? I mean after all, I was the one who suggested it! Come on, bite the bullet again. You don't have to be "friends" with anyone else!!

hlw said...

Deanne, just found you here and your anecdote about facebook cracked me up. Love ya!

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