Am I Really Sitting Alone at the Social Media Lunch Table?

Please check LIKE, er, I mean yes!

Please check LIKE, er, I mean yes!

Remember when you passed notes to your friends during home room? It was usually about the boy who sat in front of you in computer class (Braden is a) hot, b) super hot, or c) surface of the sun hot). Or if you forgot to study for the geometry test. Or if you had run out of clean underpants, forcing you to wear your bathing suit as a bra/panty combo. Those were the good old days. I sure wish we had a way to communicate all of our goofy stuff like that –

-Oh wait. We do. It’s called Facebook.

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. have become the adult’s (and not-so adult) version of high school gossip. With way better photos.

Oh now don’t sweat it, this is not a post bagging on Social Media. The benefits can far outweigh the negatives. I stay up to date with family who live far away. It has given me a vehicle to reconnect with long lost friends. New connections have formed because of the social media circle. I can post this crappy blog on it. Sadly, I have learned about current events on social media. On more than one occasion, it has saved my ass to remember a birthday. And when my daughter broke her arm, it was a way to ask for help. Facebook and other SMs are my friend.

But (you knew the but was coming) if you take a closer look, Facebook/Social Media can sometimes be just a big popularity contest. It can be a race to see who can get the most “friends” or “likes” for their comment or photo. Great for businesses. A little weird if it is your sixty-five year old neighbor Lou.

Utilizing my research background and keen eye (cruising FB while wearing my glasses and drinking red wine), I culled through some of the most interesting/ridiculous/notice me posts. For simplicity’s sake, I have categorized the posts:

            FAMILY UPDATE: When the hell is Spring Break/Christmas Break/Fall Break/Columbus Day Break Over? My kids are driving me crazy!!! Followed one week later with… Movie night with my favorite people. I have nothing to criticize here. Most of my posts are about my child. I too have struggling thoughts of “maybe we should have just gotten another dog” vs. “I can’t live without you!” The favorite people comment usually does make me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Probably because at this moment I am having thoughts of “school should be year round.”

            FUNNY/CUTE ANIMAL POST: Kitty must be sleepy [photo attached of a black cat with white paws under the covers]. I am a dog person, so I have a hard time “liking” cat anything. Unless an animal is in pain and looking sad. Those ASPCA commercials get me every time. If you post about your sweet Mr. Pickles who died of cancer, I will send you a floral arrangement.

            FOOD & DRINK PHOTO UPDATE: Trust me on this, your food does not look as good via photo as it does live. Once I saw a post of someone’s homemade stew. It looked nothing like stew, but it did look like something else. Just don’t do it.

            WORK/VACATION BRAG UPDATE: Working [insert photo of person on a sailboat on a sunny day]. True story. My husband loves to posts these whenever he is on a client outing on a sunny golf course. I think people want to punch him in the face for this. By people, I mean me. Especially when it is cold and flu season and I am reading this in line at Target with a mouth breather behind me.

            CHILD UPDATE: I guess Susie/Brad/Carlos/Jamila/Insert any child’s name here doesn’t like Santa! [photo attached of screaming child on a degenerate Santa’s lap]. These photos are always a crowd pleaser and will get a thumbs up from me every time. Kids are cute. Screaming kids are cuter.

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            DRUNK POST:  Totally sober! [insert photo of women with duck kissy-face double fisted with stocked bar behind them]. I think this one speaks for itself. I have been both the kissy faced girl in front of the bar, and the one passed out behind the bar [not mentioned in photo]. Maybe don’t post if your boss is one of your FB “friends.”

NEWS: Woman Pulls Gun From Vagina After Dispute Over Space Aliens. I know. This was an actual article. This post only created more questions for me, like, what kind of gun was it? How big can this woman’s vajay-jay be? Where were the aliens? Were they from Planet 52?

I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A COMEDIAN/SOMEONE GIVE ME MY OWN SITCOM POST: Political Comment. Political Comment. Religious Comment. Comment about ingrown toenail. Photo posts of marquees with extra letters, therefore spelling FART CLASSES instead of ART CLASSES. Okay, the FART CLASSES is pretty funny. The rest, can it. I think we can all agree that we were up to our eyeballs in not-so-witty political quips from the last two elections. I am glad we have the freedom of speech, but some people should not be allowed to give there opin- oh wait, I write this blog…nevermind.

No matter how silly, informative, sad, or uplifting social media can be, there is one thing it is not: life in real time. You can’t hold someone’s newborn baby online, you can’t hug someone online if they are having a bad day, and you surely can’t take a bite of the photo of the State Fair’s fried Nutella pie.

No, you can’t do any of those things, but you can learn about the baby, the friend, and the pie online. What you choose to do in your offline life is up to you.

So yes, go and connect. Make new friends and see what is happening out in the world. Then put down your phone, shut your laptop, and go live it. Hiking that mountain will be far more exhilarating than looking at the photos that chick from yoga class posted.

Plus, it will give you something to talk about with your friends between World History and A.P. Bio.

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Am I Really This Excited About Sunburns and Mosquito Bites?

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It’s already happening. All I want to do is sit around and well….sit. I want to drink a cold margarita on a hot day and get a tan. When three o’clock hits, I have to slap myself so I don’t ditch everything and go read a book on the couch. Or better yet, take a nap. And dear God, the new movie releases? Somebody hold me. They look so fantastic I might move into our local AMC Theater. That and they have a full bar.

Oh yeah, it’s summertime.

Doing nothing is not in my nature. The thought of sitting and relaxing seems like some type of CIA torture tactic.  I have recently come off a number of months of non-stop movement. They have included three moves (one out of state), a few personal tragedies, re-entering the workforce, changing schools, taking a class, volunteering, and well, just living.

I am not sharing this so someone will send me a Cookie Bouquet for my efforts (but I do love a large cookie). Every one of us has a lot on our plates nowadays. I only mention the above near-coke induced type of stress to illustrate why my body is naturally craving a sit-on-the-front-porch-and-drink-sweet-tea-all-afternoon relaxation.

Most people feel some form of the summer lazies around this time of year. The weather is warm and the sun strong, naturally sapping our energy. Cookouts become abundant, aiding to the sitting and eating way of life. Longer daylight hours allow us to enjoy the outdoors and lounge around.

I say bring it on.

We spend so much of our lives running around. Sometimes I go so fast that a week goes by and I can’t even recall what happened. I want to put that crazy b*tch in a box and enjoy the season.

Since summer is naturally a sensory time, below are some of the things I look forward to experiencing. Good and bad:

  • Licking the melting Popsicle juice running down my arm.
  • Smelling like bug spray and citronella everywhere I go.
  • Hair always in ponytail formation, or frizz so intense resembling the “before” in a Garnier commercial.
  • At the beach – every PB&J sandwich and food item tasting like sand.
  • Burning my rear end when sitting down in my car.
  • Taking my burnt bum to the movies every week.
  • Sand everywhere. Even in my wallet come late October.
  • Running away from bees looking like a cartoon character.
  • Listening to my daughter complain about the heat. Then watching her walk achingly slow to the car while my flesh starts to spontaneously combust.
  • My feet sliding around in my flip flops due to overactive sweating.
  • Reading all the Facebook posts about how hot it is, accompanied by pictures of the dashboard temperature gauge.
  • Watching the fireflies and fireworks.
  • Screaming like all those no-name actors from Nightmare on Elm Street when I find a gecko in the house. Then trying to catch it. Then giving up. Then finding it in the washer (why do they go in there???).
  • COLD BEER.

So start your slow down now. Sit on your porch, grab a cold one, and just look at the happenings outside.

Then go spray yourself with OFF, Silkwood style, because the bugs are insane this year.

Am I Really Implementing a No B.S. Code for America?

You bet your sweet Green Beret I am! Today is Veterans Day (well actually yesterday), a day when we salute these great men and women for serving this country and keeping our freedom…well…free. One veteran in particular has a very special place in my life – my father.

Growing up in a military family, I observed a very prominent characteristic in my father. This trait is also exhibited by many seasoned veterans as well:

No Bull Sh*t.

I can’t speak for all veterans, but my father has no time for it. Say what you mean, get your job done, watch your ass, and quit bitching. Not a bad code to live by.

Recently, a local newspaper interviewed my father about his experiences in the military, the Vietnam War, the National Guard, and later, his time at the Pentagon. I had the honor of pleasantly eavesdropping in on the conversation. When asked about his return from his tour of duty in Vietnam, my father said he could not understand why people got so upset about little things. He saw people die in front of him. How could he have the patience to listen to people complain about the small annoyances of life? It’s not that he doesn’t care about people, he does. But why all the bullcrap?

It got me thinking – if more people lived their lives to the beat of this no BS code, what would our world look like today? Let’s take a peak:

1)      The Kardashians would not have their own show. I think we can all agree the world would immediately be a better place.

2)      Unemployment would disappear. Everyone would have a job. They might not like it, but TS, sometimes you have to swab the decks and clean a toilette with a toothbrush because you are the low man on the totem pole.

3)      No more bad hair days. You wouldn’t have any hair to worry about.

4)      Sh*t would get done. Everyone would be up at 0600 hours. Period.

5)      We wouldn’t have to participate in ridiculous Richard Simmons work out videos. The military is always running in platoons. You’d be fit as a fiddle.

6)      Lindsey Lohan would be in jail. Only civilians would put up with her BS.

7)      Football quarterbacks would never get sacked. You don’t leave your man unprotected.

8)      The abolition of hoarding. Military personnel have a toothbrush and a blanket. That’s it. No need to collect all the People magazines from 1984 – present.

9)      No more As Seen on TV ads for those “Stompees” slippers. That footwear is ridiculous.

10)  Random Facebook of, “Buying Cantelopes!” would come to an end. No time for that type of BS. We’d be too busy building homes for Habitat for Humanity.

11)  We’d do away with cat posters and calendars. Why? What purpose do they serve?

While the above are ridiculous thoughts, we do need to cut the sh*t America – myself included. Do we really need to complain that much? It seems like a slap in the face to those working day and night for this country.  Coming off an election that was strife with social media insults and the massive “You’re wrong, I’m right!” attacks we could use a little solidarity.  It felt just like a foreign war, but it was a domestic social media war, and did we really feel all that much better in the end?

I can’t imagine what it is like to come under fire. I hope I never do. I have no idea what it is like to drag some men from your unit to safety, while others do not make it.  I hope I never have to make that choice. What does it feel like to lock the horrific details of combat into the corner of your psyche just so you can survive the banality of everyday life of paying bills, taking out the trash, and watching bad TV?  I never want to know. To leave loved ones behind for extremely long periods of time, missing birthdays, anniversaries, births?  That seems like a hell all unto itself.

Yet men and women of this great nation do it every day so bozos like me can wait in lines at Starbucks and Target, complain about gas prices, and eat too much at Del Taco. They do it so we can practice our respective religions without persecution, we can freely go to school and learn, we can have an opinion and write goofy blogs like this one. They do it so we can keep our freedom and protect us from threats, both foreign and domestic. That’s the big stuff. The rest is just small stuff.

So for today, just stop the BS. Don’t complain. Go to the parade. Wear a yellow ribbon. Hug a veteran (but be careful, some are really old). Say thank you to those who have served for this country, for us. That’s what I’ll be doing.

Thanks Dad.