Monday, October 24, 2011


It's Monday afternoon and I'm in bed with my boys, Paolo and Raoul. Paolo because he was sick and couldn't go to school and Raoul, because he's a cat and just likes being in my bed. Paolo has been reading his "Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" book for the past 10 minutes, a good sign that he is on the mend. Raoul just repositioned himself.

Spending the day at home wasn't that big of a surprise to me -- Paolo got sick last evening, right before dinnertime -- so I went to bed without any intention of having a productive day. It's 1:50 pm and I'm still in my robe. Paolo has stopped throwing up and has managed to keep some toast and Cheerio's in his system: he's rallying. We 'On Demanded' The Flintstones movie and we're about to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Maggie should be home from school within the next hour.

I spent a little time online today, but not much. Enough to help a client finalize a newsletter that needs to go out in a blast in the next day or so. And at some point, I got a little bored, and I checked Facebook.

I recently decided to spend a lot less time on Facebook and with the exception of posting a bunch of photos from the NU v PSU game on Saturday night, and some time spent on Sunday tracking friends of mine as they swam, biked and ran 70.3 miles across Austin, I’ve been pretty good. I've made fewer posts. I've used my phone to check ... everything ... a lot less. I've stopped the maniacal scrolling to see what I might have missed 2 hours prior.  I'm becoming blissfully less knowledgeable about the minutiae of others lives.

But as I said, I got a little bored, so I thought I'd do a quick Facebook 'drive by' and see what was going on. Instead of the drive by though, I found an unmetered space, parked the car and started to scroll. And now I'm grossed out. What amused me so much a little more than three years ago when I joined the social networking community has left me angry. Angry and lacking compassion for a surprising amount of the 352 friends I currently have on my Facebook page.

The chronic bitching and whining about stuff can be annoying. But, I'll admit we all have days where indulging in a written meltdown of 435 characters or less just feels good. And if it is written creatively, sometimes it's fun to see how life levels the playing field for all of us at some point. The jerk at the grocery store smashed the box of raspberries you paid $5.99 for? That stinks, you should bitch a bit. Your bestie unknowingly stepped in a giant pile of dog poop before climbing into the car you just had detailed? Yeah -- that really stinks. You should bitch. Kid presented you with a bagel covered in Crisco, not cream cheese, and you didn't realize it until you had a wad of bagel and Crisco in your mouth? Yeah, that actually happened to me, and I deserved to bitch. I still do.

That said, I could do without the amazing details regarding the severity of the recent bout of diarrhea or how much weight you've seemed to puke away with the bug you caught from your kid. I could do without the party-oriented political postings -- even when they're my party.  The VagueBookers bother me too  -- so vocal about their pain and sadness, without giving anyone the benefit of saying what that pain and sadness stems from, even after people inquire. Again, the neediness of that kind of post makes me gag a little. The "Dear Macaroni and Cheese That I ate for Lunch" posts are SO 2010. Please stop.

But most of all, I'm exhausted with the passive aggressive posts.  The thinly veiled and often outright blatant attacks against other people who may or may not be on the Facebook Poster’s friend list.  I know you know what I mean. 
  • Cliché McStupid thinks that some people should think about what they say before they say it. 
  • Ima Whiner wants to thank her sister for ruining her wedding and her life. 
  • I hope that the people that have caused me insufferable pain get kicked in the ass by my God who is surely focusing on my pain and coming up with a good way to get back at all those who wronged me. Because that's what God does. He's looking out for me, not you.
  • Despite doing everything right, I know Grammy can never love me as I am. I'm happier without her love, even though I'm spending my time ... and your time ... venting about it in a public forum instead of confronting her and/or spending some valuable time and money in therapy, which could most likely benefit me in a myriad of ways.
But even more than the passive aggressive posts, I'm growing ... enraged... at the morons who elect to respond to those passive aggressive posts. Are they completely unaware of the term, "enabler?"  It's the Enablers (E) that allow the Passive Aggressives (PA) to thrive. Typical E responses go something like this:
  • Yes, people should think before they speak. I'm sure whatever it was that they said was wrong and you didn't deserve it.
  • Your sister has always been a skank-ass bitch. You will always be better than her. Her kids are fat, two. (Note: I deliberately used the wrong form of 'too'. I'm making a statement about the quality of intelligence of the E-types)
  • [Insert any random -- and likely inaccurate -- Biblical quote/reference here](Note: The conveniently religious love to quote their interpretation of the Bible when someone starts speaking about a vengeful God.)
  • You are awesome the way you are! If your Grammy can't see it, her loss! Everything about you is awesome! 
The Call and Response of the PA's and the E's used to be ... entertaining. For the voyeurs, those who could take it in without participating, it was a secret, dirty glimpse into a mental volley of a select group of people with little- to-no functioning gray matter.  Part of the connection, beyond the limited intelligence, is that the E's rarely ask the PA's any kind of questions that might give them information with which to form a thoughtful response. That's why the PA's love the E's: their dog-like devotion is unconditional. The PA's can revise and edit their side of the story and the E's will never question who said what first. 

Occasionally, a non-E will get involved in a thread connected to a PA post. The non-E might do something stupid like ... disagree with one of the E's brainless comments or even worse, might say something like, "I know your Grammy loves you a lot and she's hurting now, too. Please talk to her...". Hell hath no fury like a group of torch-wielding E's that have been presented with potentially factual, or realistic or even just...lucid... information when they're enjoying a few laps in the hot pool of manipulation.

Lately, my eyes roll around in my head so violently when I come across these threads that I'm concerned I'm going to give myself some kind of brain damage. 

I'm putting myself on a Facebook detox program. I'm tired of knowing shit I shouldn't have to know. I'm tired of having the PA and E's rubbing their selfish, skewed view of their 'situations' in my face. I'm tired. Yeah, that's it. I'm tired. 

I hope that my new 'free' time will allow me to find that reserve of compassion. I know I had some once. I must have packed it away somewhere ... maybe it's in one of the big Rubbermaid bins in the basement, near the Christmas ornaments.  I'm damn sure it isn't in my news feed.

The three most important people in the world to me don't have Facebook accounts. It's time to focus. It's time to write (vs. making random observations or witty one-liners). It's time to give time to those that deserve it.

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