Here at the Odd Parity social media and wasting time department, we're aware that belonging to Facebook is essential to survival these days, especially if your idea of survival is having an intimate relationship with flypaper. Because that's what Facebook is — a whining, nagging piece of software stickiness that's always on your case. "Why haven't you called?" it moans, "You have friends waiting to hear the latest neuron firings regarding your choice of socks." So you relent and log on.
Big mistake. By logging on, you alert people that you want to chat. It's like driving past mom's house and not dropping in. "Oh, now you're a big shot writer who can't stop by for a cup of coffee. I was in labor for the better part of a month to give you life and you waltz by without so much as a wave." The guilt trip is set and you can't hide, so you chat.
Chatting's great when you feel like it, but often you just want to check out a few things and get the hell out of Facebook. But ersatz friends lurk. They're the people that you avoided in high school, where you'd lunge into a locker filled with rotting bananas and gym socks rather than chat. Now, through the wonders of social media, they know all about you and take that as a cue to become your chum. If you make the mistake of electronically befriending them (even if they live several time zones away), they're encouraged further until you cave and meet them for coffee. After five minutes of looking at an endless stream of photos of their kids playing with Phyllis the family gerbil, you'll be desperately looking for a locker, a closet, or even a pizza oven to escape.
Even if you manage to make it through the slew of friends (real and phony) waiting in ambush, the giant Facebook maw isn't satisfied. It wants more. It wants your Timeline!
This is a new Facebook feature that puts all of your photos, comments, life-changing events and daily fiber intake into a neat bundle that will follow you around like an ever-hungry yearbook. So you thought jumping up on the bar at Aunt Sadie's wedding and performing a soulful rendition of the "Chicken Dance" with an air guitar swizzle stick was funny? See how it goes over when you're applying for a job or running for president.
Scratch the part about running for president. "The Chicken Dance" picture would be downright sedate compared to the antics of the gonzo parade we've all been watching for the last eight months. But we digress.
The great and powerful Facebook is nothing if not benevolent. It will let you edit all of your Timeline events before Zuckerberg releases them to the public. Riiight! If you're like us at the Odd Parity procrastination bureau, you'll never get around to editing your Facebook junk. We consider ourselves virtuous if we've gotten the Christmas cards out by Groundhog Day, so don't go telling us that you're going to look over reams of random thoughts, comments, likes, don't likes, agrees or any of the other myriad ways that we catalog our minutiae.
Don't kid yourself, it'll all be out there and you'll be scrambling to delete the hell out of things before they go viral. But maybe there's hope. We here at the Odd Parity department of figuring out how to make a buck proudly announce "Save Face Book," where for a small fee, we will edit your Timeline and replace potentially embarrassing moments with snippets from biographies of philanthropists, historical figures, saints and other luminaries. You'll come out looking like someone to be admired and emulated instead of what most of us are: overgrown kids waiting in the principal's office with a sweaty note in our grubby hands explaining why we thought it would be funny to put Saran Wrap on the toilets in the teachers' lounge. Or even worse, we're adults peeking through the curtains and waiting for the local news vans to leave our driveways. No matter what your embarrassing scenario is, we'll fix it.
Just send cash, or better yet, your social security number to: Odd Parity Save Face, PO Box 666, Abuja, Nigeria. We'll get right on your project and send you a certificate of authenticity card and a few gadgets from the folks who make Shake Weight (as seen on TV). And don't worry, this is all on the up and up.
After all, would this face lie to you?
By Mike Donlin.
Mike does technical, marketing and creative writing for The Write Solution, his freelance business. He can help your company wend its way through the vagaries of the English language, and prides himself on his intimate knowledge of gerunds, semicolons and dipthongs. If you'd like Mike to pen a tome on a timely technical topic, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-889-4955.