If you know anything about me, then you know that I'm a Type-A personality. Believe me, I've learned that this can be my greatest strength -- or my biggest downfall. One of these downfalls is that I really have a hard time being blindly ordered to do something. I've never liked it. Not as a child (and my parents nod their head in assent vigorously) and especially not as an adult. It really chaps my hide, goes against my grain, overall just lights my fuse.
I'm certain that it's also partly due to the Bruton Stubborn Streak that runs in the family (you know who you are!). So when someone demands out of the blue, "do this," guess what I want to do? The complete opposite. I want to dig every last toe in the sand and start singing that old song from my younger church days, "I shall, I shall, I shall not be moved..."
Which is why Facebook drives me crazy sometimes. Forget about all of the sociological applications of "friends" (who may or may not be actual friends) and the interaction between them --wall lurking, opinion chiming, and a continuance of high school behavior (who me?). What gets my goat is the incessant posts that go something like this:
"If you truly love your ___________,(fill in with appropriate noun: country, soldier, dad, son, llama), then you should post that you love them in your status. Do it, and do it right now or else you else you will be saying that you actually hate them and are an evil person. Plus you'll get 20 years bad luck and head lice if you don't.
Okay, I slightly exaggerate. Slightly.
This is really just a variation on the email form of this peer-pressure tactic. The truly great ones promise laptops, iPods, and good luck if you forward it on to the content of your address book -- or worse, impending PERIL if you do not.
My personal favorite right now being, The Yellow Shirt email. Someone recently forwarded this to me -- and although I really enjoyed this very moving story of a daughter and mother playfully passing back a tacky yellow t-shirt over the span of many years and milestones in their lives -- what got me was the crazy stuff tacked on to the end of the email. Let me just share a few lines...and btw the snarky comments in paranthesis are mine:
"You have 6 minutes....(why only six?)...There's some mighty fine advice in these words, even if you're not superstitious. This Lotus Totus (huh?) has been sent to you for good luck from the Anthony Robbins organization. It has been sent around the world ten times so Far (and they know this how?) You will receive good luck within four days of relaying this Lotus Totus.
Do not keep this message. The Lotus Totus must leave your hands in 6 MINUTES. (cue scary music...)
Otherwise you will get a very unpleasant surprise. This is true, even if you are not superstitious, agnostic, or otherwise faith impaired (Classy touch how they throw this in there to seal the deal of making me fearful for my life.)
Now, here's the FUN part! (Oh, really...do tell)
1-4 people: Your life will improve slightly.
5-9 people: Your life will improve to your liking.
9-14 people: You will have at least 5 surprises in the next 3 weeks
15 and above: Your life will improve drastically and everything you ever dreamed of will begin to take shape. (Now that's what I'm talking about!)
A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart." (And, let me guess, if I send this to 15 people, I'm being a true friend? Riiiighhhht!)
I literally laughed out loud when I read this -- which by the way is not attached to the original story. I could not believe that someone literally took the time to sit down and type out all that manipulative garbage. What's worse is that I cannot even begin to guess as to why someone would even do it. Are they really believing that this will happen? Are they hoping that they will convince someone to forward it -- thereby creating a greater sense of self-worth that they made something happen? I cannot wrap my head around it. Plus, somehow it went from being a good friend to getting your luck on...and back to being a good friend. (My head hurts).
And maybe that's the real root of some of this Facebook crazyness that's got me going. I don't like being prodded or guilted into doing or saying something. And, I'm not sure my ___________ (country, soldier, dad, son, llama) would really appreciate a generic status post professing my love and allegiance to them as much as they would a coffee chat, phone call, an email, a text, or even a status update that says it in my very own words. Don't get me wrong, something is better than nothing, but then we're back to square one.
Life happens quickly.
Things can change in a blink of a moment.
Let's not let a status update say for us what we need to be saying all along to those whom we love.