Thursday, February 12, 2009

I used to worry about my front lawn, now it's Facebook

I used to fret at night on weekends worried that my neighbor would violate the one thing a true homeowner covets: his lawn. In the masculine. Because at the heart of every man's world, is the well manicured lawn.

Lawns have distinct borders, even if you can't always see them. But they are there. And I was consumed with the fear that my neighbor's lawn mower would cross over onto my space on my lawn. Shovel or snowplow my driveway and sidwalk fine, but don't mow my lawn.

I had nightmares about it. These days, the only "my space" I worry about is my faceBook Account.

Yesterday, I had 1097 "friends." Today, I have 1096.

Do you think I am thinking about the 1097 people who love me? No. I'm a man. We don't take directions from our wives on how to drive. We don't let our neighbors run their lawnmowers on our lawns without a written authorization. And we don't think about friends.

We wonder, who did I lose? Who was that person that "dropped" me like a bad penny? Who was it that was so offended by me they couldn't be my "friend" any more on Facebook?

Now, Facebook calls all these strangers who come knocking on my Cyber door and ask to be let in "friends." But most are not friends at all. Many love to read my columns. Others are FBI agents who discovered its easier to track me (an Arab American in the post Sept. 11th World) far easier than through airports. And some are colleagues in journalism, who, like me, use Facebook not to meet naked women, but to instead self-promote our columns, scoops, exclusives and headlines.

Was "Friend 1097" an employee of the IRS? Could "Friend 1097" be someone who didn't like my writing? Was "Friend 1097" an English teacher who has had it with my sloppy grammar?

Fretting over "Friend 1097" doesn't just happen on the summer weekends when lawns were normally mowed. It's constant. Never ending. I'm a journalist. I don't like to "not know." Especially when it is about me. It's okay to "not know" when it is about someone else, like Gov. Rod Blagojevich or talk show screamer Sean Hannity. "Knowing" in journalism terms is the center of the ink well. But "knowing" on Facebook is the abyss itself.

My editor told me once writing a column might win some awards (and has), but it won't win me many friends. If I wanted friends, go get a dog. I did get a dog. And every time I open the front door, the dog tries to run away. That's friendship? And the Maltese doesn't even have an email account. How are we going to communicate? I don't know.

So this is to "Friend 1097."

You left me. Like a "Dear John" in freshman year. Not a word. Not a warning. Not a care.

Oops. Oh my gosh. I now have 1098 friends. Up two. Yeah baby. I'm rocking.

-- Ray Hanania

No comments: