How did anyone concoct the real idea for Facebook? It is a brand-sponsored version of the US Census that politely knocks on everyone’s door and says “Hello! In order for people from high school to stalk you, could you please tell us the following information: Are you fat? Single? Employed? A deadbeat parent? Capable of travel? Sexy? We ask these questions because you have one hundred to two hundred former classmates who would like to not pay to have the privilege of sometimes stalking you when your name comes up in conversation. Oh! In exchange for your information, they are willing to let you stalk them too.”
When I have writer’s block, one surefire way to make it worse is to log onto Facebook and see how some of my favorite personalities are doing. Facebook knows I search for their names and never comment on their photos, praying to leave no trace of my time on their page by means of accidentally hitting the “like” button. (Facebook: you should have an official setting for this, sort of like Clippy the Paperclip from the old Microsoft Word days. Hello! lt looks like you’re stalking someone. Want us to make sure you don’t accidentally “like” their life?)
In no particular order, I present my most important people I stalk on Facebook in order to not get anything done and then hate myself so much that eventually I do get something done that day, even if it’s only paying my American Express bill.
My friend Joe admires a specific bracket of attractive people that he classifies as being “the level of pretty where everything in life just happens for you.” Not a model, but a gorgeous person with a normal job; the type of person who will innocently chalk their success up to hard work—not their hypnotic facial symmetry—and truly believe him or herself to be one of the normals. I met one of these people at a party once, and now I stalk him on Facebook.
Thanks to Facebook, I’ve learned that my Perfect-Life Person has become half of a Perfect-Life Couple: his girlfriend is thin but quirky looking (which makes him more perfect, as he is capable of loving someone not as perfect as he). She’s a yoga teacher, of course, and on weekends they make their own soup. In their earlier years as a couple, back when I first started stalking them, they regularly dreamed aloud of someday getting married and moving to Hawaii. Because they are the Perfect-Life Couple, I can report that they have achieved those particular aspirations and more. I seriously cannot take my eyes away from this couple. And thanks to Facebook, I don’t have to. They have no idea who I am.
Weren’t You a…
Remember those girls you and everybody ignored in high school? Of course you don’t. I didn’t remember them either until one of mine moved to New York City and became an incredibly high-end stripper. Or something like that. It’s really not polite to ask. And thanks to Facebook, I don’t have to. I can just scroll idly and wonder why she’s been in the Hamptons for four straight weeks even though she doesn’t have a job. Not to mention the fact that she just spent half of last month on a yacht off the coast of Amalfi. Like anyone who maintains a Paleo-lifestyle-themed Instagram account, this young woman is in enviously good shape. She wears a bikini to wash her car, and while the rest of us toil away at our day jobs, she enjoys buying seasonally themed outfits for her Corgi and then posting pictures of him wearing them online. Her Corgi’s name is Honey Molasses, and he has thirteen thousand followers on Instagram. As a deeply nervous person, I worship my former classmate for not giving a single solitary shit about anything I care about—maintaining a steady job and income, the probably nonexistent expectations of friends and family, taxes. Her infrequently updated fitness-lifestyle-travel blog includes a permanent disclaimer on the bottom that reads, “If your going to email me on grammar, just don’t. Your a loser and people don’t like hanging out with you, seriously.”
Honestly? I do email people about their grammatical choices, and I am a loser. She makes a completely valid point
People Who Dropped Out of Society and Are Hiding Something
I have a few of these people in my Facebook feed. They’re hard to spot at first, but once you’re in, you’re good and in. One of mine is a former high school popular girl who achieved her biggest lifelong dream of becoming an assistant makeup artist on a local CBS news affiliate, and then she totally ghosted. What happened? Why was she last seen on a mountaintop, prepping a weatherman to update America on the wind conditions at the Special Olympics? What happened next? Why won’t she post something? She looked perfectly normal in that last picture, which I know because I’ve searched it sixteen times.
The most mortifying person I ever dated also fits into this category.
The Deeply Religious
Jesus and Facebook go together like chicken and waffles. I truly love to see His big ideas memorialized as social media status updates, especially when hastily applied to a relatively mundane situation in modern life. One example:
“For he who has walked aside me hath not seen their own foot-prints, for in I was carrying him in my arms.” —John 41:41 Wish me luck on my midterms guys!!!!! #feelingblessed #HeIsEverywhere
I am comforted by the presence of the Deeply Religious on Facebook. First and foremost, I enjoy their inherent hypocrisy in that they feel superior to those of us in the nonreligious world but simultaneously crave the warm heat of our attention, via Facebook, just like a regular old glutton.
People From My High School Drama Club Who Are Still Pursuing Careers in Show Business Even Though We Are All Thirty-Five F*@#ing Years Old
Imagine getting married and also having to go on a first date every single night for the rest of your life: that is what I imagine it is like to be a thirty-something unfamous actor who is living in Los Angeles or New York.
I have mixed emotions about the people from my high school class who opted to pursue the dramatic arts. There’s the noble side of my emotions (I’m impressed by anyone attempting to stay true to their dream for more than seven minutes, especially when that dream involves staying constantly skinny despite not making enough money to employ a personal trainer). But let’s ignore the nice emo-tions and instead focus on my more horrible emotions. Like about how goddamned tired I am of the drama kids and their plight.
Drama kids who were born into the 1990s were somehow misled into believing that the world wanted to experience their creativity. During our high school years these kids discussed plays with a sense of authority that was totally disproportionate for someone whose sole theater-going experience was seeing a matinee of Rent one time with their parents. At my high school these kids went into Hartford to take private acting classes on weekends.
They “invested” in their “career” during their teen years, which in reality means they “got head shots taken once.” Some drama kids were so self-righteous that even to this day, fifteen years after high school, I slightly delight in reading their complaints about how hard it is for them to pursue acting. Shakespeare may have said that “all the world’s a stage,” but he would not still mean those words, oh no, not if he could have lived to see the selfie stick. Shakespeare and his contemporaries endured surgery without anesthesia. He would not allow perfectly capable people using Facebook to complain about the fact that it’s really hard to land a TV pilot if you don’t know anyone on the inside. Oh no. He would not have time for that.
Hateful Former Coworkers
It’s always nice to watch people you don’t like as they age. This is when Father Time really is on your side. He is creating comedy! It’s sarcastic! Grab a glass of wine and log onto Facebook for a front-row seat.
Remember the IT guy who used the server room to roll his own cigars? He’s on there, and if you’ve got an hour or two, why not check out what his last six vacations were like?
How about the special lady with the pixie cut who considered herself to be the office’s unofficial grammarian because she’d once self-published a book of erotic poetry? She’s on there too. Or the boss who was so impressively disengaged from the process of raising her kids that, she made the nanny take them to Disney World? There’s always time for that.
Fantasy Football Fatsos
Does your hometown have its own Friday Night Lights? In other words: Does your hometown have weathered and beaten adults who walk around talking about how great life was for the five minutes when they were young, in shape, and athletic? Back in Connecticut we’ve got these guys in spades. Shoot me an email, and I’m happy to provide you with some delightful accounts of folks who, when they were athletic-jacket-wearing youngsters in the nineties, heaped insults upon our town’s biggest nerd, who is now a pediatric oncologist. But who’s keeping score?! These men have now taken their rightful place in society, which is peddling affordably priced cubic zirconia engagement rings, assessing the damage incurred during minor car accidents, and managing the night shift of Subway sandwiches. And they are on Facebook. And they seriously don’t seem to understand what happened.
I Had a Baby and Now I’m Born-Agains
Also known as all the girls from high school who now wholly define themselves by being a mom. It’s really weird to watch the people you remember as being uninteresting classmates now obsessing over being moms.
These were the girls who just didn’t care. They smoked at preco-cious ages, they sat in the back of the classroom, and they habitually avoided any sort of learning. And now they’re MOMS. Sometimes it’s all too much to comprehend.
People Who Are Constantly Traveling Around the World But Also Not Explaining Some Crucial Component of the System of Their Life to Everyone
Above we discussed the fascinating Former Invisible Classmate Who Is Now A High-End Stripper component of this delegation, but there are many more members. Oh yes. I have no fewer than four friends on Facebook who’ve made it their life’s nonwork to constantly travel around the world and post photos about it. However, as seemingly transparent as these friends are about their physical locations, other massive components of their life go entirely undiscussed. Who paid for you to fly from Sanibel Island to Croatia in the last forty-eight hours, enabling you to take your top off in front of that waterfall and post a picture of your naked backside, embracing life? Is that person your boss or your boyfriend? Are you really the champagne-drenched guest of Carnival Cruise VIP royalty that you make yourself out to be in those photos, or do you actually work on that boat? Is that really your cute beach house that you bought while not having a job, or is that where your mom lives and also she sends you money? Facebook, can’t you find some way to get us these answers, please?