Friday, December 14, 2012

Learning One's (Hometown) Station In Life

I'm not sure whether I should feel miffed or simply laugh.

The other day I was perusing a certain "social utility network". (Think apps like "Mafia Wars" and "Farmville".) Anyway, I sought the "friendship" of someone whom I found interesting, but have never met. The person is a news anchor who became famous for a rather humorous blooper in the not-so-distant past. Interesting people are rife with unconventional experiences-certainly a relief from the usual "Harvey and I were vacationing in Cancun while you were watching Barney Miller reruns".

Thinking that I might come across something interesting to read on the newshound's wall, I decided to send a friendship request. I received a disappointing response from the social network's home office. Stated simply, it read, "Please refrain from asking friendship from people whom you don't know". Ordinarily I wouldn't have given it another thought. However, something caught my eye which has me shaking my head even as I clack this out on the ol' Dell.

The news person has 4,000 friends on her wall.

Now, I'm the first to admit that my social anxiety disorder precludes me from having a lot of friends. But I'm pretty sure that no one has over four thousand of them unless their career includes attending parties up and down both coastlines. Apparently I'm not invited to join the biggest adulation of a local news anchor that this town has seen since that same news channel's studios were rocked by a well-known fitness guru, nay local celebrity, back in the seventies.

You'll have to excuse me as I wallow in the self-pity of a guy who knows too well how rejection feels. I've imagined myself taking a walk through one of the many scenic local parks, clad in a shabby linen suit and a five o'clock shadow, and trying my dandiest to look the part of an out-of-work national news writer. "Oh, the pain I've been through", I'd tell myself. "To be spurned as though I were merely a blogger instead of a once-proud highly paid writer. Reduced to this, merely for an attempt to glean insight from someone else's worldview.

And so I'd continue to trod, shabby linen suit, a day's worth of beard growth, and worn-out Rockports (high-quality shoes for the uninitiated, and so casual-professional).

And the pitying looks I'd get! That once-proud blog writer, reduced to turning laps around the local parks while ruminating about how different life would have been if only he had been able to "friend" someone he had never met, and whom he had never had plans to. Mind you, that number of four thousand would constantly roll around in my head, taunting me. "You're the only one who wasn't invited into the friendship circle here, buddy", the neural networks in my left prefrontal cortex would remind me every time I trod past the water fountain. And so it would go, ruminating, soul-searching, and wearing down the soft soles of my Rockports over eons of gravel duly displaced in parks so that soul-searching bloggers can walk all over them, ruminating about how different life would have been if

-Let me interrupt myself. The whole thing is oppressively maudlin. I'm blessed with one-hundred forty-seven excellent friends. What right do I have to whine? I do, of course, and for that I deserve a kick in the aforementioned suit. Feeling slighted over some undeserved scolding issued by the social network is ridiculous on its face. Whoever is behind it has clearly missed the bigger picture.

I don't have four thousand "friends", nor would I want to. I'll take my numerically humble, but honest, ones.

Not a bad station in one's life.

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