My wife mentioned something the other day in passing that made a whole lot of sense. We were talking/arguing about how in the world are we going to pay all of our bills, and how do all the other perfect people manage to do the things they do. I had said that I heard that so and so had gone to the Casino, and were getting a massage (a couple’s massage nonetheless, and I would be interested to see how that whole thing works out ~ hey, I’m a GUY).
Anyhow, the entire mess can be traced to one thing in particular – Social Media.
Facebook is probably the worst, but a close runner up would be Twitter, Instagram, you name it. Of course, we can also pile in the daily news shows as culprits to adding fuel to the rise in jealousy between the “have’s” and the “have not’s”. Again, in my mind, and because I think that everyone except me is perfect, I tend to BELIEVE that just because someone goes to the Casino, that they probably have an ass-load of cash to spare. Accordingly, if they are getting the couple’s massage, which I KNOW because I looked 3 years ago costs about $199, then at that point, I am quite certain that these folks are rolling in the dough along with their satin bedspreads…
Kim said that more than likely, they aren’t much better off than we are, except that they found a few spare dollars, and took a fucking picture. And, since a picture speaks a thousand words, and tends to invite a million suppositions, that new posting on Facebook at 10:00 am on Sunday morning of two barely middle class people getting a more than likely discounted massage is reason enough for me to fly off of whatever handle I’m attached to at the moment, and become terribly unhappy with my situation… all because someone has some extra money, and also that I forgot to get a loaf of wheat bread the night before, and now must suffer through brunch on my couch with frozen waffles that deserve so much more than the toaster and syrup that’s been stored in the goddam refrigerator.
When you store syrup in the refrigerator, it is no longer in its NATURAL state, as it was when harvested from Maple trees during February in Vermont. Whether or not Vermont is cold in February make LITTLE difference in this case. This shit is now artificially like sorghum molasses, and leaves no doubt that big fat Mrs. Butterworth is shaking her BIG BLACK FINGER at you when you place her back in the shelf on the door of the fridge… and close it to 36 degree darkness.
My friends, this is not natural; it’s not a natural environment for syrup; and it’s sure as hell not the massage parlor at the Casino where they have ambient room temperature grapes and finger sized toast and syrups to get you through that massage.
At any rate, I digress.
Facebook, not the family down the street who has MORE THAN WE DO, is the culprit here.
Case in Point: 15-20 years ago, we didn’t have the internet, and although we all still had many of the same problems as today, envy over someone else’s situation that we only barely know was not one of them. The closest thing to social envy that could be had would have been at the checkout, in one of the Enquirer type magazines. Oh sure, we still have those today– but at this point, who the fuck cares about Brad Pitt’s expensive divorce in Sunny #California when I can worry about my perceived problems of wealth distribution among people that I went to High School with here in the Mid-West… Why do I care about Hollywood anymore? The answer is… I don’t!
No. I care about people that I might or might not see IN PERSON once a year, and choose to blame them for my problems, all because they had the gumption to post a picture and a paragraph about a mini vacation that showed up on my Facebook feed. … Oh, and they’re the bad guys. This is the reason why I’m not ahead yet. Yeah, right!
The fact of every matter is, that even though this Social Media is just incredibly addicting, their business, even though they’ve chosen to make it “public” is no more MY business than would be a “public” wedding announcement! Just because it’s public does not and should not provide a reason for me to compare myself and situation against theirs.
For all I know (although I doubt it because I just KNOW that they have more money than me), they could be coming home from the Casino to a cardboard box without running water…
What is my point? My point is that these are termed “Social Media Platforms” and that’s really all that they are. Plus, they are the most subjectively formed platforms ever known in the history of mankind. This posting, at MY website, is a perfect example. Oh sure, I have Google ads on the sidebar, and a lot of people think I make money from my dumb website.
My last royalty from Google was easily forgettable- I make a pittance at writing, and do it entirely out of my #love of the craft.
My Dad told me something a long time ago, and it has always stuck with me. He said that “no matter how bad off you think that you have it, remember; there is always someone looking at YOU thinking that your situation is so much better than theirs is”… I guess that the moral of that story would be to try and learn to play it cool, and to remember that we’re all human beings. We all have ups and downs, and nothing is ever perfect, even though it might look like it is in color photographs and flowery black and white print below them.
Look, as a person, I’m terribly flawed, and most likely am in need of ongoing counseling… I’ve made no secrets about this, and if I had the money to spare, would probably post it on a billboard somewhere, just to prove a point. A friend of mine accused me today of “liking” my own comments on other people’s Facebook posts. I replied that I have done this for a long time. She said that was “narcissism”.
I disagree. I like my own comments because I usually think that they are good comments, and I am self-confident in that manner. However, if I were truly narcissistic, then I would like ONLY my own comments. Instead, I tend to like a lot of people’s comments, sometimes to the point of just liking EVERYONE’S comments, so as to not hurt anyone’s feelings. This proves that I have some form of empathy, which is nearly non-existent in most diagnosed narcissistic personalities.
Will this change anything? I mean… really? Will the fabric of Social Media ever change?
Probably not, at least not in the sense that in the morning, and even now, there are still truly narcissistic people posting about their exploits, with the hope that someone like me notices them. I suppose that they might or might not hope that their good fortune ruins my day. The trick is, not to let their shit for brains attitude ruin my day.
I’ve got a great job, but am still behind on many of my monthly payments. We are in debt up to our eyeballs, but are working a plan that will slowly but surely lift us out and into the clear. My wife and I love each other all of the time, whether we know it or not, and have a family that loves us, at least they SAY they do most of the time. I’m not terminally ill, Kim isn’t gonna die tomorrow (at least I don’t think so), and we have a grand-baby asleep peacefully on our couch as I #write in the wee hours. Our clan of Chihuahua’s have milk bones and dog food, and we live in the best Country on the face of the Earth.
That last paragraph, my friends, is REAL-LIFE media. Compare that to any Facebook profile, and I’ll wager that most people would consider the preceding profile to be similar to theirs, and would say that it is a worthwhile one. Maybe we need to learn to be satisfied with what is really ours, with the real world… that’s a wild notion!
We’re not all millionaires; not very many of us are famous; and not one of us will live forever in this life on Earth. I think it’s time to get grounded in what used to be important; in what we can reach out and feel; in what we can actually go and see with our own two eyes; in who actually KNOWS us as real people and not just some picture on a screen…
It is time to get back to basics. Time to get back to the normal life known to most of us born before 1980. Time to remember life before it got all twisted and made-up and filled with the pretend lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Sure, Facebook and Twitter, Instagram… they can all be fun and entertaining. But let’s not forget that behind those beautifully filtered photographs with edited and then re-edited write ups; are represented people that once relied entirely on Polaroid’s and handwritten letters… via a stamped envelope. No do-overs! Stand and Deliver…
End of the story: Be Who You Are; Love Who You Are; and What You Get is What You’ve Got!