J-Ro Vs Brain, Pt 11

We’re all in this together… *sniff*

Brain: STOP WRITING.

Me: Why? What now?

Brain: Check your Facebook.

Me: I just did, five minutes ago. Leave me alone. I’ve things to do.

Brain: Five minutes? FIVE MINUTES? That’s seven years in facebook time. You could have missed so much! Any longer and you’ll be like Rip Van Winkle, wandering around your page, asking what a meme is, not knowing what Guardian articles are trending…not having a notion what music video to put up on your page to seem cool and down with the kids any more… think of all the ‘likes’ you could have gotten in that time…

Me: You know YOU’RE the reason I’m not published right now, right??

Brain: ALL THE ‘LIKES’…..

At the heart of it all, we just want to matter.

It’s the little things that keep us warm.

Normally I can be found sitting behind the laptop drumming up one-liners or little anecdotes to put up on my Facebook page for anyone who reads them, and I love that people get a laugh out of them on an otherwise dreary day. Sure, it’s a good ego boost, who doesn’t love that? Yet, what drives me mostly is the desire to be that one thing in someone’s news feed that might give them a chuckle or a laugh-out-loud moment that gets them strange looks on the bus first thing in the morning as they scroll down on their phone.

In among the countless bad weather updates or declarations of how hungover their friends are, I’m happy to share the fact that, depending on what shoes I’m wearing on any given day, there’s a fifty per cent chance I won’t be able to reach up and close down the boot of my car. Hell, it makes even ME laugh sometimes. After the fact, obviously. Laughing in the pouring rain at your own misfortune may look charming in ads and indie movies, but it only gets you odd looks and no help whatsoever.

In essence, I don’t see my personal Facebook profile page as any way personal, I think I look on it sometimes as an extension of my public persona, and I’m  guessing a lot of people do the same. There are others who wear their heart and soul on their Facebook sleeve, using their status updates like a kind of mini-journal, not giving a flying fuck who takes notice and who doesn’t. In among those people, though, are people who care way too much about who takes notice. Some give thinly-veiled observations obviously directed at a particular person without mentioning names, some just put up an emoticon and hope that someone will ask what’s wrong. Inevitably, someone will always ask what’s wrong, out of sheer morbid curiosity if nothing else. However, if people are honest, it’s never the person they WANT who asks the all-important question.

I bring this up because at times, all I want to do is just that. I want to use my Facebook profile to rage and scream against the world, and tell people every day how miserable I am, that life sucks and at times I can’t even stomach getting out of bed because the list of ordinary mundane things that every basic adult in the world knows how to do just seems like a mountain of Herculean tasks to my messy, hectic, addled brain. (sometimes I do it anyway, mostly through the medium of appropriate YouTube song titles.)

Sometimes, life is fucking fantastic. Good things happen, I feel on top of the world, life is cruising along in the right gear, and I love all my friends, and they love me, and the birds in the trees are lining up alongside the squirrels and the mice like a Disney movie to sing about the lovely world we live in. That’s also stuff worth sharing for a few ‘likes’.  People are generally very good-natured on Facebook, mostly because hitting ‘like’ on some bit of good news or other takes about as much effort as exhaling.

I wonder though, how many people would send a message to someone they saw on their news feed who seemed genuinely depressed or down? I include myself in this too. It may not even be welcome on the part of the person receiving it, but it would let them know that they have been seen and heard, and maybe, that’s all they wanted in the first place.

In a sea of mass activity such as that of Facebook, it’s easy for people to be lost and feel like they’re screaming into the wind, so sometimes they test the waters by throwing out a little emotional bait to see who bites. No harm in that. The beauty of social networking means we’re no more than a ‘like’ away from making someone feel good, the downside for people like me is that I’m on-line so much, nobody needs to text me to see how I am, they just log on and see what manner of shite is grinding my gears right at that very moment. Which is fair enough. It’s cheaper than a text…

In essence, I have no real purpose or agenda in writing this, it’s just something I’ve noticed as I look through my news feed. There’s a lot of unhappy people out there, some more vocal about it than others, some who just post a sad song or quotation, some will ask their entire friends list out to see if anyone wants to meet for coffee. For all our closeness with people we spend hours talking to day in and day out on our phones and laptops, there’s no substitute for a bit of face-to-face attention from someone who genuinely wants to meet up and see how you’re getting on in the real world. It’s a lonely, tough world – and everyone has a story. We should mind each other more.

At the heart of it all, we just want to matter.

Booby Traps…

Ugh. here we go again. Another round of “Ssh don’t tell the boys, tee-hee” emails going around Facebook with ridiculous ideas about what to put on your status update under the premise of raising awareness of breast cancer. There’s so much wrong with this I actually get paralysed with rage when I think about it too much. So this blog post is getting the brunt of it. Read it at your peril.

In the first instance, how can something that’s done in secret raise awareness of anything? If all I see on my news feed is a bunch of women simply posting single words like ‘blue’ or ‘red’ or ‘orange’, I will automatically assume they have been attacked by a rainbow-fetish spambot who is wreaking havoc on innocent Facebook profiles with their evil colour-loving perversions. More often than not, it’s a stupid, humourless, hen-night mentality comment thread, with lots of girls proclaiming “I like it on the bedroom floor” or “I like it on the kitchen table next to the salt & pepper shakers lol” – which apparently refers to where they leave their handbags. Oh, the genius of it all. So much innuendo, so much schoolyard note-passing and clique-forming…. And yet, we have no cure for cancer. Colour me surprised.

It’s cancer. Be public about it. If you’re that concerned, use your Facebook to tell people to get themselves checked. Make a donation. Don’t just submit to a useless chain mail that seeks to alienate half the population just because they have different genitals..which, by the way, are also prone to cancer. Just putting it out there. Those messages and status updates are nothing more than a private in-joke, much like the secret coded conversations you witnessed or took part in as a youngster back in the days of Fancy Paper, plastic neon bracelets and New Kids on the Block T-Shirts. Or maybe I’m just showing my age. But I’m sure you get the point.

I’m not a fun-sucking Little Miss Preachy Pants (not full-time, anyway), all I’m saying is if you’re going to participate in these little charades, don’t kid yourself it’s for a noble cause. None of these escapades are sanctioned by The Irish Cancer Society, as mentioned by Antonia Hart in her previous blog post about the subject here. A woman after my own heart, Antonia is also of the opinion that these mails don’t do anything for cancer. Along with, I’m sure, many healthcare professionals and cancer specialists who have failed in their attempts to turn all these chain mails into a miraculous anti-cancer serum which can be injected straight into the affected area. If and when they do, I’ll be first in line to clog up all my friends’ home pages with handbag positioning cleverly disguised as sexual innuendo, so that everybody knows just how supportive I am. Until then, I’ll just carry on checking my own boobs for weird goings-on by following the instructions on the Breast Cancer Ireland website, buying pink ribbons and donating when I can. And, unlike the rest of my life, Facebook will be kept out of it.

How to use a handbag for breast cancer awareness...