Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Virtual Fish Stories

     I’ll come right out and say it: I love Facebook.  It has given me the opportunity to reclaim old friendships, the pleasure of sharing pictures with friends living a thousand miles away, and the ability to catch up with relatives who would otherwise not care if I lived or died.  I enjoy hearing what my friends are doing and seeing their children grow up.  That is, until I start running across what I call “virtual fish stories”. 

      Every person knows someone who isn’t satisfied with saying something like, “Busy day, but accomplished a lot.  Time to relax with a beer!”  No, that wouldn’t do it for Ol’ Fish Tale.  Nope.  This person has to put a dramatic spin on everything: “Got up early. Went to the track and ran 2 miles. Came home, mowed the lawn, cleaned the gutters, planted flowers, repotted Christmas cactus, painted the kitchen, replaced the wax ring under the guest toilet, cooked a week’s worth of dinners so we can eat reheated leftovers for the next 5 days, patched the driveway, brought homemade bread to the old lady next door, helped her sand her feet and worm her cat, cut and stacked 3 cords of firewood, and now I’m going to enjoy a nice glass of wine … but only a tiny one!  No overindulging in this house!” 


      Am I the only one who finds these posts more annoying than creeping underwear?  It’s not enough that the job list they have decided to share with you involves enough work to kill the average high-school jock, it just reeks of exaggeration.  Did you really paint the kitchen?  Or did you just run a dab of paint over an old nail hole?  Did you really plant flowers?  Or did you just fling an envelope of poppy seeds over a section of dirt and hope a few come up?  And if you want to relax with wine, I don’t care if you drink the whole box, so stop trying to justify what you're doing.

      I’ve sat and pondered this phenomenon on many occasion, mainly because I’m smart about how I use my time.  What drives someone to put on such a display?  Are they afraid of their lives being so boring that they have to make a big deal out of chores?  Are they so desperate for approval of a job well done that they have to chronicle their entire lives on the Internet for a few precious, “Wow, you’re amazing!” comments?  The possibilities are endless, but the comments are endlessly irritating. 

      And the same goes for the overly-sappy posts as well.  I’ve had some on my newsfeed that read more like a love letter, and are enough to embarrass a hard wit like me: “Oh, Baby.  You were so wonderful.  I can’t believe you would fall for someone like me.  I swear I must be the luckiest person on earth to have your love.  It makes my heart pound to think of how you look at me …” HOLD IT RIGHT THERE.  If you want to get all mushy-gushy, send a private message.  Still others sound like an entry in a prayer journal from 1644: “O Lord, I thank Thee for the sun that riseth outsideth my windoweth, for its light shineth on my sin and showeth me how truly despicableth I am-eth.”  Really?  A simple, “The sunrise is particularly pretty this morning.  Thanks, God, for sharing it with me” will suffice.  

      I know what some of you are thinking: don’t read it.  Block Ol’ Fish Tale.  Skip over Romantic Rendezvous and Pilgrim Prudence.  Stop being a glutton for punishment.  I get what you are saying and you have a valid point, my friend.  But like the curdled milk we can’t stop ourselves from sniffing before it slithers down the drain, these particular posts are a powerful magnet.  I can’t stop myself.  I can’t help skimming over it, and at the rate I read, I’ve already absorbed the boring details of your bombastic fish story before I can finish scrolling down the page.

      I understand people have different ways of expressing themselves.  Some need reassurance, some are overcome by the depth of their love, some are still trying to talk like King James.  I happen to be a grouch, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who skim over my posts.  “Oh, goody.  Bertha saw another moron at the grocery store.  There goes my Saturday.”    

      At least I warned you first.

 © Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

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