I became a subscriber to Facebook when I was in the hospital about three years ago. It was a way to keep my friends abreast of my progress there, and I was pleasantly surprised to reconnect with friends from other parts of the country.
In the early days, beset with insecurity, I "friended" a lot of folks, many of whom I knew only slightly.
I remember one friend request from a woman named Shyla Sexbomb, which perplexed me.
We had no mutual friends on Facebook. And her surname seemed English, and growing up in Adams, most of my friends were Polish, Italian or Irish.
I tried to figure out where she came from, and deduced it was from the tropics, as a peek at her photos revealed a distressing paucity of clothing.
So I ultimately decided not to accept her offer. Sorry Shyla.
I’ve read that many people are depressed by Facebook, as they see on their Facebook wall other people going on trips to various parts of the world and having a great time.
Well, to that I say, get out and have a good time yourself. I have two friends who, most of the time, don’t go much farther than about 20 miles beyond their house, but they hike, and cross- country ski and go sightseeing in various cities around New England, and have a jolly old time.
I quite often enjoy seeing where other people go, or have been. I have a lot of friends who are sports fans, and it’s kind of cool to see them in Foxborough, or at Fenway Park, or The Garden. (Or, if they are New York fans, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden or wherever. It’s all good.)
About the only drawback I can see with Facebook is if you are friends with a spouse or girlfriend and you break up or get divorced. Then it would get a little sticky. Or weird.
About seven years ago, I was seeing a woman who abruptly ended the relationship and drove across the country with a new beau. Hey, it happens. That’s life. No biggie.
She heard about my hospital stay and sent me a nice email and then a Facebook friend request.
It was nice of her, and I accepted.
Soon after, I was often treated to photos of my ex and the new beau in various parts of the country. I remember thinking the first time I saw one of them in Oregon somewhere, "Jeez, we never did stuff like that!"
A few months ago, she posted a video on my wall. She and the new guy (now the husband) were in some mountainous region of the United States. She was saying something, but my laptop couldn’t pick up the audio.
Fortunately, I’m an accomplished lip-reader. I was easily able to decipher her message, which was:
"Hi Derek! Jeremy and I are having an incredible time here in some mountainous region of the US.! (Which, let’s face it, was something we never did!!) I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Jeremy (A much better name than Derek!) has really wide shoulders, a flat stomach and a very sexy smile! Well, we have to go drink champagne in moonlight! Have a happy holiday!"
I might have been a little off, because a few days later, I ran into one of her friends, who remarked about the video, which she had also gotten on Facebook.
"Yeah, what was she saying?" I asked. "My audio didn’t work."
"Oh," said the friend, "It was just a short little message. Just, ‘Hi Facebook pals! Have a happy holiday!’ "
"Yeah," I said. "That’s about what I thought."
To reach Derek Gentile:
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On Twitter: @DerekGentile