Dear Facebook Friends and Not-Friends (Facebook is a Goldfish Bowl)

2 May

Do single people use Facebook more than married people, or coupled people? Is it really just an elablorate dating site for those interested in (re)connecting with those they (used to) know? Do happy people or sad people use Facebook more often? Those who live in the cities with their families or without?

How many friends is too many? What’s the point of “defriending” versus “hiding” on your newsfeed? Is that person really of so little value to you that it’s not worth it to keep them, even on a virtual back burner? What if you need to contact them to ask who their dentist is?

Why am I not friends with hardly anyone I went to elementary school with? What’s the deadline on friending people who you should’ve friended in the first two years of being on FB but did not, and now it has been six or eight, and you all have survived without each other this long, but why? I would totally read your status updates. I would totally click on your wedding pictures.

I am often bored with my newsfeed; what is my resistence to expanding it? Why do people call it “cleaning house” when they go through and defriend people? How many phone numbers are in your phone that you don’t use and is it the same thing? (I say no.)

But I won’t friend people who I don’t know. If you don’t know me but you like this blog, then like the DMP Facebook page or follow me on Twitter. FB is for people whose faces I have seen, hands I have touched, people who I played duck duck goose with or more likely who tripped me on the asphalt. I check my security settings regularly. I don’t have friend groups; I don’t post anything that I’m not willing to let everyone I am friends with see. I’ve defriended someone once, when I wasn’t interested in giving that person information that could remotely clue them in to my whereabouts or even my pyschological state. You’re allowed to cut people off who are toxic. But those who are merely unnecessary at this moment? Things change. You can’t re-friend. It’s awkward. They know. Believe me. You would know, wouldn’t you.

When will we start handing out our FB contact info to strangers we meet in bars (but do we do that, anymore? or do we just FB message people we once thought we could’ve had something with?) rather than phone numbers or even emails? I’d like that. Feels safe, if clunky.

I had goldfish when I was younger. My parents tried many things to keep me from begging for a dog: goldfish, cats, newts. All of these were terrible animals. The cats were lazy, dumb, and skittish. The newts ate their own feet and released some sort of toxic smell from those little white nubs that never went away. The goldfish wouldn’t stay alive.

We cleaned their tank regularly. By we I obviously mean my father, who is also famous for continually wiping down the kitchen counters. That tank was pristine. Guess what. The fish died. The replacement fish died. Turns out fish like a certain level of nastiness. The girl who lived up the street from me, whose parents did not clean her fish tank for her, never cleaned that bowl. Her fish lived for months. Years. I’m pretty sure at some point the bacteria made them superfish and they lived beyond the normal expected maximum lifespan for a fish. They might still be alive.

They were happy in their murky, dark, festering tank, surrounded by the growing amount of green. Not only happy. Healthy.

Of course, she couldn’t see them. What’s the point of fish if you can’t see them? What do you do with newts who have turned self-cannibalizing? We returned ours to the pet store. I tried to convince my mom to buy me a lizard while we were there, and then a rabbit.

Not sure what the exact metaphor is here, but.

Frank says he wants a pair of goldfish now. He wants to pretend they’re a metaphor for us. Pretty sure if we get them they’ll die real quick. Milan Kundera says, “…metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with.” Like the love ferns. Or the cat who got his tail ran over by a car and had to have it amputated and the fact that he was “my” cat, not my sister’s, because I had named him, and I had named him Bobo, which means idiot.



One Response to “Dear Facebook Friends and Not-Friends (Facebook is a Goldfish Bowl)”


  1. Dear Thanksgiving Traditions and My Weird Pet Stories « Dear Mr. Postman - 19 November 2012

    […] made to satisfy me with any animal other than a dog. (I’ve referenced this before, here, in a very mixed metaphor about Facebook.) So at this point I’d had several fish, and we had two cats, Bobo and Daisy. […]

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