Monday, November 17, 2014

Facing Facebook

"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you."
      - Carl Sandburg

So, somehow or other, I got myself on Facebook again.  I left it several years ago, swearing I'd never go back (well maybe not swearing).  But here I am again, and why?  Well, it turns out that there are a number of groups, individuals, help sites and so on, which I really needed to see, and that ONLY have Facebook pages.  I guess I understand.  After all, it is HIGHLY visible, almost everyone is on it, and it's free! 

The problem is, it Facebook has a tendency to swoop in and grab you.  First, you never really delete yourself from Facebook.  They won't allow it.  No, you can just close your account.  But it's still there, hiding, in the dark, like that little piece of something in the edges of your teeth, where you can't really see it, but it's there....waiting.....patiently. 

So, innocently enough, you approach. I think Facebook even remembered my password, so I didn't need to. All I had to do was hit "Enter".  And there I was, in that swirling world of gossip and games, Selfies and "Suggestions".  And my friends....they were all still there, talking about this and that, like I'd just re-entered a party that nobody had noticed I'd left.

And THEN they noticed!  "You're back!"  "Why are you back?"  "What are you  doing here?"  And I endeavor to explain myself, feeling somewhat sheepish, although I don't know if that shows up without emoticons.

And of course, there's the "Pokes" whatever the hell they are. Suddenly I'm getting poked left and right, and I feel like I'm back home as a child with my older brother, who took every opportunity to poke me (or worse) when mom wasn't looking.  There's also some kind of sexual suggestion with  being "Poked", but I'll stay away from that.  I understand it's just a friendly hello, but why don't they then call it "A Friendly Hello"?  Seems a little violent going around "Poking" people!

Next, I get invited into a private group, consisting of fellow disciples of my spiritual master. Of this, I'm actually happy, as there are photos and discussions of some of my most blissful times back 40 years ago.  I look up other members, old friends or acquaintences from bygone days, and then check out their friends, their photos, their 'likes' and on and on.

As a friend said many years ago, "It pulls you  in like the hug of a responsive dame!"  The little Devil on one shoulder apparently cold-cocks the little angel on the other, and begins his subtle allurement.  "Oh, check out THAT link.  You better search for so-and-so. What's happening in that group? Look you have messages and notifications - don't you want to know what they are?" 

Before I know it, I've got 4 or 5 tabs open, desperately trying to remember which page I was at, where I wanted to go, where I am, and completely forgetting why I went there in the first place, and what it was I really wanted to be doing BEFORE opening the stupid Facebook page. 

Eventually, the cold-cocked angel wakes up, punches the devil in the throat, hard, and whispers, "Is this REALLY what you want to be spending your precious time doing?  Remember, even a moment wasted can not be bought back for millions of dollars. You've already had one heart attack and your health is for crap.  How much time do you think you have left?  Wouldn't you rather be spending your time peacefully enjoying the serenity of your Barnashram, meditating on God, chanting the Holy Name, and reading sacred texts?  What will it benefit you or anyone else to snoop around in others lives or follow links to God knows where?"

Anyway, it sounded something like that. Of course, it doesn't mean that I can easily unstick myself from the tar-baby of Facebook.  But perhaps, I can at least keep one hand unstuck so I can go on fingering my prayer beads.    :-)

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