Facebook’s Pandora’s Box

This topic warrants a lengthy treatment, but I’m whipping it up at 1:30AM on my keyboard-impaired Lenovo-warehouse-purchased Lenovo SL410, obtained about three weeks ago.

I would like to discuss an evil of Facebook. Facebook suggests you friend a person from your distant past. You have lots of mutual friends since you both attended the same high school, middle school, and elementary school together. You go way back. You remember that he was one of your best friends back in the third grade. He skyrocketing to the head of the cool kids between fourth and twelfth, my high school’s very own Zack Morris–popular, smart, handsome, charismatic. Despite that, I don’t think he ever really became a standard dick. I had some contact with him as the ill-defined geek always on the periphery of various cliques. There was no ill will. We were probably still friends, just not great friends.

I never saw him again after high school graduation. Facebook can tell me that, while he moved far away from his best guy friends, he stayed in touch enough that they’ve at least reunited in the recent past. The summer after my freshman year at college, I severed the long, constant, but weathered chain that had bonded me to an entire group of guys, most of whom I had known for a dozen years. I hung up a phone, and I never looked back.

I cannot imagine I’d have ever fit into that group, heading into our twenties. I questioned whether I ought to have been on the periphery of that group in my teens.

But there are so many what-ifs Those make me numb. I know I shouldn’t care, but most of them would surely look down on this life that I lead in 2010. No, it’s not what they think.

I was class salutatory. For three minutes in late June 1993, I loved everyone in my graduating class, and they loved me. I had all the potential in the world.

And then I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed…and I failed… (Each of those corresponds to a time; I’ll spare the annoyed readers from the details.)

Now…my high school’s Zack Morris…while he was cool, mischievous, smart, and good-looking, I think he was a fairly decent guy. My little bit of research concludes that, over last 17 years, he’s grown into a brilliant, savvy, business genius who helps a small business that brings joy to the masses thrive while saving the planet at the same time. He appears to be enjoying life, and he better friggin be for the point of my post.

My point…I can’t imagine that I’d ever be like Zack Morris. That’s just not who I am. (No, I am neither Screech nor Slater in this analogy.) I happened to have all of this potential all those years ago, and I am almost completely certainty that it’s all gone. And I will never do anything worthwhile with my life that my 17-year-old self, a guy who had never even heard of Toastie, would’ve been proud to know was in the cards.


Bonus pet pic

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3 thoughts on “Facebook’s Pandora’s Box

  1. FWIW, none of us play our cards right and live up to the potential we had as recent graduates. The formula for success, I think, is a combination of intelligence, beauty, and kindness. Those would be the factors that predict success within 95% confidence, at least. The outliers would have everything going against them and a giant dose of old-fashioned luck, or everything right going for them and life just threw them a curveball. Not to be all sour-grapes, but I simply don’t believe anyone makes it through life without a lot of help or without being influenced by circumstances beyond their control. We keep fighting the good fight in the hopes that our choices and actions have the desired outcome, is all.

  2. i know i’ve already said this, but nearly every really good thing in my life has been borne of a failing. i’m probably the only cs major to ever graduate duke having failed intro to computer science, ha ha, but my late graduation led to my rooming with a girl who introduced me to the man i’d later marry.

    i look at the pictures of my graduation, smiling into the camera with special designations hanging around my neck, and i wonder if i’ve disappointed her sometimes. but you know what, some of the zack morris figures of my high school days are polluting my facebook news feed as well with their entrepreneurial endeavors and self-satisfaction, and they sort of weird me out, running their narcissistic campaigns for most likely to succeed while the rest of us live actual life, hopefully on our own terms. Who cares what 17 year old Mary or Toastie would think, or anyone else for that matter.

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