Tonight I had every intention of weighing in on the steady evisceration of my chosen industry, but quite frankly, that's some seriously depressing shit. So instead, I'd like to examine something that's brought me an abundance of joy lately ... Facebook. Now before you roll your eyes and click away hear me out: I'm well aware that when a 40 something father of two raves about a certain social network, then said site has more than jumped the shark. But like Fonzie in a leather jacket and swim trunks, I'm choosing to ignore any sense of fashion.
Why? Because Facebook has brought me back in touch with people I thought I'd never forget. Sure, I've been 'friended' by old co-workers, eager readers and current colleagues. And hey - I'm narcissistic enough to welcome them all. But nothing makes me grab my mouse quicker than a name from my distant past, names that are as familiar to me as my very own - even if I haven't heard them in a decade or so. And it's not just names! Give it a click and you'll find yourself loooking at a picture of a childhood chum holding kids of their own. It's enough to make one sit, stare and pour a stiff drink or three. Lately I've been doing that a lot, as blood brothers appear from the pixelated mist. Embarassingly, many of these long lost souls only live an hour or two away, but the insulation of wives, lives and suburbia has kept the old gang splintered and torn. No more.
Another facet of all this social networking is equal parts thrilling and scary. I'm talking about the mass uploading of old pictures. Ask around, there's nothing more worrisome than a message in your inbox that a person you haven't laid eyes on since the Reagan administration has 'tagged you in a photo'. One doesn't know whether to click on the link or go into hiding. Of course, I've never been afraid to share shots of myself in a dated haircut and - as the above photo proves - neither are my old running buddies. Then again, we were children of the 80's and like teenagers since the beginning of time we embraced the fashion of the day assuming they would be timeless. Turns out they weren't. But that just adds to the fun doesn't it?
Speaking of fun, my old crew excelled at it. Borne of a small town and intimate with excess, we raged at unseen machines, imbibed as if we invented the very idea and pretty much partied like rockstars long before it became a commercial catchphrase. This of course, makes me and mine no different from your old gang. But I have to say, the examination of transgressions past has made me rethink my roots. My small town inside Wayne County felt like a prison much of the time, but I couldn't have chosen better cellmates. The greasy details of which I'll wisely deny, but let's just say it's a miracle many of us ever reached middle age, let alone retained the capacity to use a computer. Yes, children - back in the 1980's you could consider yourself an intellectual and still rock a sleeveless Queensryche t-shirt. Just ask your neighbor's Dad, the one with the the paunch and bald spot. He thought he was cool once, too. In fact, his Facebook friends just posted a whole gallery of photos to prove it.
Hmph. With entertainment like this, is it any wonder local TV is dying?