Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. Today, she takes a look at the creepy Facebook behaviors she's seen in the past week.
If the Internet is the seventh circle of hell as I believe it to be, then Facebook is without question its reigning five-star general. There's no doubt that the social network swamp is the first in the goosestep, leading its troops into a swirling bottomless pit of cringes, things that cannot be unseen, and peeks at humanity that result in a creep factor worthy of Hieronymus Bosch.
We've all had our share reading of gasp-eliciting status updates from People You Thought Knew Better, but when it comes to setting the lowest common denominator, leave it to Facebook to repeatedly drop the bar. Again. And again. And again. It's rapidly becoming my "go-to" spot when my hope for mankind (seeing people wash their hands after going to the bathroom, that Wal-Mart hasn't run Target out of business yet, or when a stranger lets me pet their puppy) does anything but flat line and I haven't felt raw despair for roughly 30 seconds.
Without a hitch, Facebook plants me firmly back in my place and reminds me that for every six-week old Australian Shepherd with a wagging tail, there's someone who can't wait to tell me that 12 people got killed in a movie theater because there's no prayer time in public schools. Which brings us to the six creepiest things I've seen on Facebook this week:
I haven't seen this much stupidity since the era of Freedom Fries and the boycott on Brie cheese and French wine, which really wasn't a boycott at all since the President brand (the kind you get at Walgreen's in a triangle-shaped plastic coffin for $3.99) is made is Wisconsin and Republican wine pretty much is, too. Not that I don't love Wisconsin, because I do--they have fried chicken breaded in Cap'n Crunch and I am not lying--but I want my cheese to be more well traveled than I am.
Back off the fried food, please. Pick something that deserves it, like fig leaves or unleavened bread. Pick a Bible food as long as we're playing that field, but fried chicken never did anything to anybody except clog a couple of arteries and maybe cause some self-injecting around meal time. All I'm saying is that you CAN'T CO-OPT A COMFORT FOOD BECAUSE YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S RIGHTS. That's all I'm saying.
5) Any relationship status identified as "open" Yeah. I don't need to know that. That is private information that you shouldn't be sharing, especially when you've been to my house for dinner. Thank God Facebook doesn't have an option to list your STD status, because I'm sure if you admit in public that your husband/boyfriend/sire of your illegitimate children is still very much swimming in the dating pool, I have no doubt that I would be wrestling with the nugget that you have genital herpes and you probably sat on my toilet.
No, no, no. I'm not old-fashioned, you are. It's not the 70's anymore so move on and get with the program. Swingers are gross and it's not the same as sharing a soda with a friend on a hot day. It is not. Gross. I am grossed out. Now I have to look at you like a dirty person. DIRTY. Do you know what my mother would do if she knew I let you in my house? I'd never hear the end of it. "Oh, you want national health care for everybody? Sure, you and your swinger friends...." Keep your keys in your pocket, your diddling situation off of Facebook and do the right thing and alert me when the toilet seat needs a shot of bleach. That is something I need to know, not that you can't close your eyes and use your imagination like everybody else.
4. People who take photos of themselves and expose what a hovel their house is in the background Hey! Nice cleavage! Is that your kid in the background? Awesome. Now uncross your arms, pull your shirt up and wipe the macaroni and cheese off your wall that your offspring is licking.
Maybe I'm the only one who knows how to work a cropping and blurring tool, but if you're going to show every single person you know plus some what a truck stop your bathroom is, maybe you should walk through a tutorial or two. Or maybe do a quick sweep to make sure your panties and enormous Costco Kotex box aren't shining like pink beacons in the night.
Now true, if you look at my profile picture, you are going to see a bottle of liquid fuel, a bunch of yarn, several open shoe boxes, a couple of Target bags hanging in mid-air, a red shoe laying alone on its side, a box of fabric that I still haven't unpacked, wait, make that two boxes of fabric that I haven't unpacked, and a bunch of torn pages from a magazine I tacked to a bulletin board that is partially obscured by the Target bags, but I consider all of that as set design. And as I told the person who commented on it and begged me to let her come over and organize it, to clean up my office would be to destroy my world. I know where everything is. No one is allowed in here and I don't want anybody touching my stuff. I have my own system. IT WORKS FOR ME. And at least my world doesn't let my co-workers and in-laws know I'm ovulating or that I buy maxi pads in a box so big I have no where to put it but in my sink.
3) Any email from a guy I don't know that begins with the salutation, "Hey, Pretty Lady" Now, I'm not sure what it is I'm posting that is an open call for every lonely man from Pakistan to come knocking on my mailbox in search of transatlantic Facebook love, but I hardly think that a status update about finding little brown round things in my hair and believing them to be lice is a siren call. Then again, I don't know what is sexy in the your section of Asia. I have no idea. Maybe vermin scalp eggs are an attribute, I don't know, but I have to admit that it felt a little invasive, and my immediate thought was to shoot back an email that said, "I just farted, Aqib. How pretty is that?!", but then a smaller, quieter voice said, "Do you think he really means it?"
The thing of it is, Aqib, that I can tell you are very proud of your status as richest man of your village, and I'm sure you worked hard to acquire your empire of three goats. However, I'm already the first wife here and you may be shocked to hear this, but I am running the show. I have no desire to become the Tuesday night appointment in your harem, and if I may speak frankly, I know you think you're rich, but I saw Bin Laden's mansion on the news. It looked like Section 8 housing to me; in fact, it has a somewhat eerie resemblance to a block apartment building next to the freeway exit where crystal meth is openly traded in the parking lot like, say, kebabs. It was just as filthy on the inside, too, and he had a couple of wives.
I know there was a tussle/blood bath before those pictures were taken, but in all honestly that doesn't explain the filthy sheets on the beds. That rubbed patch of grime developed long before any Navy Seals landed in that compound. So I can imagine that any new girl on the block is going to be pulling the majority on that load, and I bet you don't have a stackable Whirlpool Duet, either. That is, I'm afraid, a deal-breaker. I hate bending down. So, while I thank you, Aqib, for noticing my inner beauty, and there is much of it, I am going to have to pass on your offer, but may I suggest that you may have better luck finding a concubine if anyone is left over at MySpace.
PS: I know a couple of swingers, so I can pass on your email to them, too.
PSS: They weren't larvae eggs, but foxglove seeds after I knocked myself on the head with a spent stem which I luckily realized before completing the plan of setting my hair on fire.
2. Receiving messages from the dead. I understand that Facebook is a little challenged in this department since you cannot entirely ever expunge your account (that may be something you want to fix, Mark), but I have to say that getting a friend suggestion from Uncle Dan, who died last summer, was a little more than unsettling.
Sure, I respected his opinion, and clearly, we have several mutual friends already, but communicating with the beyond is a little out of my safety zone. I didn't set up a Ouija board, didn't hire a psychic, and I have no interest in setting up a portal to another dimension, so to hear from Uncle Dan unsolicited was, in a word, friggin creepy.
If ever given the opportunity to communicate with Uncle Dan in the unknown an ask some questions, they would be along the lines of "What did you do with my grandmother's wedding ring?" or, "Due to something weird I just found, did you ever get the feeling that grandpa maybe wasn't your real father?" and probably not "Should I friend Shelley, the receptionist at your company who I have never met or spoken to?"
So yes, Facebook, please invent an "I'm Dead, Thanks," button so loved ones can truly rest in peace and not spend eternity haunting the right sidebar, still giving advice I don't want.
1. When someone else's profile picture is not of them, but you. Initially, I thought it was curious that someone's profile picture looked so similar to my own; the style of hair, the position of the head, the expression on my face, until I looked close enough to see that the photo wasn't similar at all; it was exact. It was me. And where did I see this but on my own timeline, when the person who stole my face was leaving a comment on something I posted.
Now, this is altogether different from seeing someone who looks like you--this is a person who obviously went out of their way to swipe the photo, upload it onto their Facebook account and select it as their profile pic, then flaunt it on my page. Who would steal someone else's head and claim it as their own? And why? The creep factor is mile high on this one, as I'd rather have Aqib and his open relationship harem talk to my dead Uncle Dan in my office eating Chick-Fil-H8 than see my picture popping up with someone else's name underneath. Again.
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I kind of felt like I had been skinned, and that It had done a good job of spreading lotion on It's body. I don't know what to do, I didn't want to engage a stalker because any acknowledgement is pretty much an invitation to break into your house and wait around with some piano wire in their hands until you get home. If you have any ideas on how to handle this aside from buying a pet lion, tell me. The only other thing I can think of is to steal her profile picture and put it on my head, but that can't even work, because IT'S ALREADY MY HEAD. And there, I've said it, so if my real face goes missing anytime soon, the authorities will know where to look being that I'll probably be perched on someone else like a hat.
Stay tuned for new adventures with Laurie Notaro, and catch up on a few classics in any of her books including The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life,It Looked Different on the Model, I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies), There's a Slight Chance I Might Be Going to Hell, and An Idiot Girl's Christmas at Changing Hands, on Amazon, or through her website.