Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

I have a friend who likes gadgets.  Any kind of gadget.  Doesn’t really matter what it does.  He’ll buy it.

He bought a breadmaker.  Doesn’t cook.  His wife said, “Why did you get that.  You don’t cook?”  He said, “It’s a cool machine, and I thought you needed to do something in the kitchen.”  He should get out of his body cast in a few weeks.  He even bought the new Magic Jack, which provides “virtually free” long-distance telephone calls, and he doesn’t have a land line – only cell phones.  Go figure.

With this mindset, it stands to reason he’s attracted to new technology.  His grandkids are into Facebook. Now, he is, too.  That’s where you fill your own personal little segment with pictures, video and all matter of personal information – for the world to see.  You can even take tests to see what kind of fruit you’d be (as if, indeed, you wanted to be a fruit.)  It allows even the most mundane and boring people to have autobiographies.

Curiosity drove me to check out what this wonderful “social tool” is all about.  People, whom I suspect would be fairly tasteful in public, post pictures of themselves doing just about anything, in just about any form of dress.

As I said, it’s there for all the world to see.  At my age, “for all the world to see” is a mega issue.  When I’m exercising, I feel much younger and frequently even visualize the 10Ks I ran on many weekends.  I don’t have a belly in those memories, and I’m quick and strong.  But, when I walk past a mirror, VOILA.  My mirror shouts “NOT YOU!”  (Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the youngest man of all?)

My Buddy, let’s call him Steve, because that’s his name, must not look at his mirror.  Or perhaps his eyes are worse than I imagined.  He created a Face space and thereon posted digital shots of himself with his grandchildren at the beach – closeups of him kissing a baby – pictures of his hands building a fort for them.  What a nice man he is.  But, at age 64, I would not think he would want to “go public.”  In addition to closeups of his beautiful grandchildren are not-so-beautiful closeups of his expansive backside and flabby arms and so much more I don’t have the tackiness to share.  One photo is of him in a Speedo.  I think this should qualify for him to be arrested for assault.  The old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” is a bit understated in this incident.  This picture is worth nausea, vomiting, temporary blindness, and thousands of other such descriptors.

Seeing such a picture in his house is manageable.  You pass by it and move on, and it’s not there for posterity.  But, on the website, all the world can see it and say “yuck.”  Or worse.

As a Baby Boomer I have many good qualities – my belly, the wrinkles on my face, my flabby lower body, and the lines on my hands aren’t the ones I would showcase.  My ankles aren’t all that bad, but they don’t make for captive pictures.

Steve harassed me to set up my own Facebook site.  He said, “You do a lot of interesting things.  You need a Facebook.”  “Nope,” I said.  “Bob, you need to get with the times!” he exclaimed.

I don’t think he understands that “the times” is precisely the reason I didn’t want to do it.

Date of Blog Story: 
June 25, 2009

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