Judging a Book By Its Face


Last night Scott got some sort of dinging alarm or cupcake or a ficus tree, or maybe was inappropriately tickled by a drunk uncle, something, on Facebook, and said he’d been asked to name the 15 albums that changed his life.  I don’t know – is that right?  The 15 that made him the peculiar and stoic and thoroughly trustworthy but blank-faced Yankee he is?  I forget the question.  I fear I indulged in a rant about Facebook, because we’d JUST gotten through the 25 Things About Yourself peer pressure, I mean I have THINGS TO THINK ABOUT PEOPLE.  For instance, there’s currently a debate in my neighborhood about whether we should be allowed to own backyard chickens here in the middle of Durham.  Sometimes there is serious chicken tension on the neighborhood listserve.  The divide seems to be between people who know what chickens are, and those who have an egg fantasy.  I don’t have a Facebook page, but my beloved friends Katherine and Joe, and Kat, made their lists, e-mailed them to me, and then John, Scott, and Obadiah made our lists and e-mailed them back.  It was fun, on the whole, except for how Scott just STOPPED on number 16 and decided to lie with his feet up on the fireplace screen.  He explained he was in the Trendelenberg position, and why such a position might be necessary.  It was not.  He then used a phrase like Hover Pants, and how they would be used in the event he suffered severe hypertension and was forced to remain in the Trendelenberg; precisely how the inflatable trousers would solve any of his nonexistent problems escaped me.  I had FLOWN through my 25 Whatevers and he just QUIT.  Obadiah’s was fabulous, and John’s was fabulous, and then of course the next day, when he felt better after letting the air out of his pants, Scott’s was divine.


But then this album thing happened and I was like one of those women you sometimes see on COPS, the kind who have been alcoholics so long they’re completely blacked-out drunk but still shouting and fighting and trying to rip off their clothing (no, I don’t know why) even as they’re being moved by a SWAT team into a rubber room.  I was like ULSIDNOWI FACEBOOK!  And then IS VDJSOI  FACEBOOK NO!  I noticed Scott was looking at me fearfully.  I tried to back out of the crazy by explaining I was just too old for such nonsense – I mean PLEASE, it was designed for COLLEGE STUDENTS – but then Scott told me how he loves keeping up with his friends, and how I’m judging 472 billion people older than I who are happily on the site poking each other and posting photographs of themselves vomiting.  I think my Baby Jane moment occurred because I’d just read an article about the average updates made to individual pages, and they were so tedious and banal I thought I’d been placed in some sort of hanging cage with a group of five-year-olds.  I’d also seen the twenty most common poses men use to advertise themselves, and that had caused me to lose faith in not just the future, but in time and space.


To be honest, while our culture has always been and shall ever be in a state of disintegration (each generation says so), I have never been more afraid of our descent into narcissism and triviality than I am now.  Ah, JIMBO FLOPPER is standing in line at the Piggly Wiggly!  C MY CLEAVAGE wishes she had a cupcake.  L  MORAL BLACKHOLE is currently listening to Taylor Swift REAL IRONICY.  Okay, I know there’s more to it than that – I KNOW, DON’T POINT IT OUT, SCOTT – but I’m trying to write a book that’s so far beyond my means I spend at least 14 hours of every day crying (Jesus is the issue), and there have been dramatic upheavals in my life, and I still long for real conversation with real people.  I have friends and blog babies who need an ear or some thoroughly specious advice.  There remain 47 books on Quaker history I haven’t gotten through; my heart is broken; last night the power went out in my barn and I was in complete blackness surrounded by taxidermy.  Our nation is on the verge of an actual Depression.  Last night I told Obadiah that a family we love and are close to have a one-year contract on employment, so one year to find a job.  I asked him if he would mind if the whole family moved in with us if necessary, all four of them.  He immediately said yes, we’d find a way.  We’d divide the dining room and make a bedroom and . . . that was as far as we got.  THE POINT IS, oh god, Facebook and Twitter and lifecasting and cell-phone self-portraits, how how how can we focus with such intensity on our own detritus and WHY?


But then I thought:  OH!  Maybe my blog babies would like to play the 25 Things Whatever game, or the 15 Albums, and naturally I would find it interesting, because it’s you and not some white college boy throwing pretend gang signs while doing Jaeger shots.  Of course, you are free to drink shots if you wish, but your typing will be impaired and the chances of my mocking your Zeppelin Trousers will increase.  So have at it!

Published in: on February 22, 2009 at 11:22 am  Comments (1,308)