Friday, January 23, 2009

A Facebook Only a Mother Could Love

I've got a head full of purple hair and no one to blame but myself.

When the economy tanked (not that that was a specific date, like "when the Titanic sank" or "when Michael Jackson finally owned up to being from Neptune") I joined the ranks of the hair self-colorers to save a little money. And when I'm doing my own hair, my stated color of preference has always been "whatever is on sale this month".

So when I ran across this groovy color called "Black Amethyst" or something equally exotic, and it was a mere $8.49 instead of the usual $9.99, well, I was in love.

Never mind that the beauty on the box was of Asian descent, and the sweet spirit in the bathroom mirror came from a long line of Danish pale-faces. The color was "Ebony Violet" or whatever, and I was pretty sure it would make my hazel eyes (according to Clinton, Stacey, and Carmindy) pop.

Having audited my family's cell phone bill the night before, you would think my eyes had had enough popping for a while. (Did you know they charge your kid a monthly fee to have "Tetris" on their phone? Yeah, neither did my kid...)

But, no, I continued my quest for even more eye poppage by applying a healthy dose of "Plum du Noir" to my head, and wouldn't you just know it, now my hair's purple.

I should have seen it coming, though. I've had a week of feeling like an alien on my own planet. (And no, Amber, this isn't another pitch for the "Hitchhiker" books, so you can stop complaining that my posts aren't in English.)

See, my bossy kids finally coerced me into signing up for Facebook.


Were you aware that every single human being on the earth has a Facebook page? Every single one. I counted. And if you think Blog World is a wacky subculture, spend an hour or two in Facebook Land.

I've never seen communication handled like this. It's what I imagine "chatter" - like in spy movies? - would look like. A billion little micro-messages, coming at me from all directions, with no apparent connection to any other message, real or imagined. And heaven only knows why they're all on my screen, along with the pictures of my new 'friends' and the things these friends have said to other friends and things those friends said right back at 'em and so on and so on and so on...

Goodness, just blogging about it gives me the bends.

Now, bear in mind, you young sprats - yes, I called you sprats - I'm older than you. By a good decade at least, judging from the types of posts you write and the fact that your faces are so devoid of lines I'd swear your profile pix were taken in zero gravity. So I'm thinking I'm pretty darn hip and with-it just by having my own blog.

And most of my peers have been 'off the grid' for so long that, in order to use Facebook as a means of re-connecting with old pals, we have to use our maiden and married names. Some of us also have to provide dental records. One or two require the counting of growth rings...

...but I digress.

So, here I am, with this brand spankin' new Facebook page, and all these wonderful old / new friends wanting to catch up by, I believe the term is "writing on my wall", and I haven't the faintest notion how to make sense of any of it.

For starters, most of these messages are obviously the continuations of ongoing 'conversations'. So there will be this alert on my page telling me that 'Taffy Polaski Suarez wrote on Mandi Manheim Mahoney's wall: "No kidding? Donny Osmond? And Velcro? Doesn't it leave an aftertaste?" '

Now tell me, what the heck am I supposed to do with that information? Clearly, it was meant just for me , otherwise why would Taffy and Mandi have felt the need to include me in their cryptic exchange?

One huge hurdle that people of my - er, demographic - have to overcome is the combination of busy lives and short memories. We don't automatically sign onto our Facebook page when we go online, and when we finally do get around to it, we've forgotten all the conversations we were having with our friends.

So we end up with a message on our walls like, "Thanks for the offer! My flight gets in at three; check-in at the clinic isn't til five, so we can catch up. You've had all your shots, right?"

Someone could do this to me, and I'd have no idea if they were pulling my leg. Simply not remembering any of the conversation that led to this rather alarming message would hardly be an excuse for not trudging out to the airport with a surgical mask and a can of Lysol to pick up my, you know, friend.

And what's the deal with these fans? On the right side of my page, there's this information telling me that Molly DeBrainless McMormon is a fan of Thomas S. Monson, and invites me to become a fan, too. A fan? Of the prophet? Doesn't that seem a little, well, odd?

What if I don't want to be a fan of Thomas S. Monson? What if I just want to love him and sustain him and do all the things we've always done to support our leaders, without joining the fan club? Does the word go out that DeNae is NOT a fan of Thomas S. Monson? Do they confiscate my CTR decoder ring? Do I have to sit on the hard chairs in the cultural hall with all the evil shrieking babies every Sunday until I've repented? 'Cause, nothing personal, but that kinda weirds me out.

(The latest one was "Want to be a fan of Temple Marriage?" Really? A fan of an institution? Where do you send the fan mail, exactly?)

Then there's the so-called 'help' I get from my kids, who feel that my Facebook ineptitude reflects poorly on their own personal hipness.

Recently, my good friend Lisa wrote just one word on my wall:


As has been observed, I didn't let the fact that my initial response to this message was "Huh?" cast any doubt on Lisa's sanity. I was pretty sure I was missing something.

The next day, another message came in, this one from Cindy (Or Melissa. Paula? See, I've forgotten already.) She said, "Well, it's about time."

Again, "Huh?"

When a third message offered similar sentiments of well-wishing, I finally asked my kids if they had been monkeying around with my Facebook page. My daughter said, "Yeah, I changed your status to 'married'."


(And may I add, my friends are as smart alecky now as they were in High School. They all know I've been married for exactly forever.)

But in a million years I wouldn't have thought to check my marital status, let alone notice that the wedding announcement had shown up on every Facebook page from here to Pago Pago.

Who knows what kind of mayhem a bored 16 year-old could unleash on my reputation without my having the first clue it was happening?

"DeNae has grown a prehensile tail and is using it to swing past security cameras and knock over area liquor stores!"

(Lisa: "Congratulations!")

Needless to say, I fear my sojourn in Facebook Land is going to be brief and baffling. I just don't seem to have the multi-tasking capabilities to navigate those complicated waters.

Not to mention I need to use my Facebook time to figure out what to do with this purple hair. Apparently, Donny Osmond is coming by later for Velcro cocktails, and I want to look just right.

19 comments: said...

I think you are living my life. We could be twins, except my hair turned out more red than purple, but I didn't color it myself. And I don't have a prehensile tail (yet), either. So, we're totally twins.

And I have a Facebook account (that my 17 year old set up) and I don't get it, either. Someone once sent me a fish. What does that mean? And kids throw snowballs at me, too. That I understand.

Brooke said...

You have the funniest, most authentic blog that I've read in a long time. I'm so glad my dear friend, Jessica (I think she may be related to you), told me about it.

And, by the way, I just may be the one-and-only sentient being on the planet who DOES NOT have a Facebook account.

Lisa Loo said...

Where have you been all my loggy life??!! Its been awhile since I truly laughed out loud. I am SO with you about Facebook---I am in a constant state of huh?! when I log in. I have one daughter who is a fan of pretty much anything that passes by---have you noticed though--no fan of homework or housework buttons. hmmmmmmmm And the whole--telling you what everyone else has written on complete strangers "walls"--I don't know about you but I was taught never to write on the walls---
You should be published!!!!!!!!!

Brooke said...

It's sort of tough to have a "conversation" via blog comments. But in answer to your question (the one that you left on my blog), my BFF is the Jessica who is married to the Air Force lawyer. We met while living in Turkey - and my life will forever be improved for knowing her.

Glad you liked Bainbridge. We love it here!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

This is the funniest analysis of Facebook I have ever seen. Seriously fantastic, DeNae! And this line made me laugh out loud, too: "the sweet spirit in the bathroom mirror." You have a gift for humor, my dear.

alotalot said...

You know how Donny loves purple! I wouldn't worry about him catching you with purple hair.

I have to agree with you on the whole "fan of the prophet" or "fan of the Book of Mormon" thing. It's wierd. But I feel like I need to repent for not joining the groups! PS: I am a fan of temple marriage too...

Lara said...

Here I was, all ready with a witty comment about Donny loving purple, and someone beat me to it. And I am all out of witty comments, but I am sorry that your hair is purple.

My mom is on Facebook (older than you by more than a decade. She also has a blog, which means you are NOT the oldest living blogger) and she has more friends than I do. And writes on more walls.

The worst thing about Facebook is people are poking me all the time and telling me they threw turkeys and shamrocks at me or they took a walk in the rain with me or other such strange things. I don't want to be poked!

Thanks for the great laugh!

brudcrew said...

Okay, I don't think I will be looking into Facebook anytime soon. I have always been a bit befuddled by it. Not that it isn't my normal state of mind but I don't need one more thing. I guess I'll never be as hip as you and technologically older. Fish?!!? What?
I DO thin you need to share a photo of the hair. I love it! If only I were so brave and trendy! Hee, Hee.

wendy said...

No kidding ---it is just toooo much sometimes. If I start with Facebook as well as blogging, I'm a gonner. I have a facebook, but parts of it still baffle me. There's alot going on out there. Cell phones, texing (I am not even sure how to spell that) facebook, blogging, HELP----------And then, what if NO one invites you to be their friend. Then what????

wendy said...

Oh, p.s. sorry about the purple hair ----but I bet it really enhances your eyes.

Dennis and Kim said...

Hi Sister! I'm checking to see if this works! I love your blog and I am a HUGE fan of Facebook. Two weeks ago I met up with friends from elementary school and went to dinner. All because of Facebook! Most of my friends are my family!! :)

Christy said...

So my teenage nephew gave my 68 year old parents a "Life Time Subscription to Facebook" for Christmas. How generous of him!

I joined this week as well. I feel EXACTLY the same way as you do. I have all my new/old friends from highschool that I haven't seen for 20 years. What am I suppose to say to them? "You've aged well." DeNae, give me some ideas.

InkMom said...

Oh, I'm so glad you commented on my blog because now I've found yours. And yes, you're older than me, but I have had EXACTLY the same thoughts about Facebook. Hilarious! And . . . I'll be back.

Lara said...

So DeNae, who is your sister? Is she as involved in music as you are? Because if she is I can guarantee I know her. :)

Thanks for the ideas. I've thought many times about doing group voice things, but people don't seem to be too interested. Silly people. Do you do a children's choir? I'd love some pointers on that.

I wish I could email you...perhaps I'll try to find you on Facebook. How about that?

SCP said...

hi sister i like kim am checking to see if this works. however unlike kim i'm just huge. and a fan but mostly huge. no really i'm fat. like fat enough to be the start of the whale watching tour. ya and you don't even have to get on the boat.

Amber said...

OH! OH! Lara!! Me! I'm DeNae's sister! Wait. So is Kim of "Dennis and Kim" so maybe you weren't talking about me. I'm not as into music as DeNae is and I don't live in Las Vegas.

Anyway, I vote for showing us pix of your purple hair! And what's with the friends that you spoke to maybe TWICE in high school inviting you to be friends? GO AWAY, DING DONGS!!! However, I really like facebook.

DeNae said...

I'm now facing the dilemna of having my students want to be my Facebook friends. How, exactly, am I going to instill the combination of fear and awe in them that teachers depend on if I've declared to the world that we really are friends?

Maybe I'll just start carrying a gun to rehearsal. That'll show 'em!

(Amber, Miz Lara lives in Kim's neck of the woods. And guess what? She found me on Facebook! So now we're friends! So much for fear and awe...)

Della Hill said...

I have accepted that facebook and blogging are just part of my life like sleeping and listening to kids complain about homework.
I remember the good old days when my day was complete after I checked my e-mail. Now I have all kinds of online chores.
Luckily for me, I can facebook on my iphone, and it actually cuts out a whole lot of the unnecesary crud, but makes it accessible 24/7!

btw, you may be interested in a really great blog post about facebook by my blog friend Victoria. Her blog address is You should check out the post "The one where Batman changed his status" From Jan. 14th.
Anyway, thanks for the laugh. -Della

Terresa said...

You're a riot!