The Rant 

Sometimes, I scare myself. At the moment, I am blaming it on Facebook. I've always been loath to actually do what most people call "networking," and now I am smack in the middle of a global network of people who tell me what they are doing every day. And as much as I hate to admit it, I am doing the same thing. It has got to stop.

One of the repercussions of being in what I hope is just a Facebook phase is that somehow I am reliving my Parkway Village adolescence, having been reconnected via the cyber world with some others who also called the Village home. You know who you are. Yes, you. The one who just broke a harvest-gold glass from the Esso station. Why did you have to tell me that? Must I relive that? And you, the person who worked at a restaurant that was housed in train cars next door to some swinging singles' apartments — why are you torturing me with memories of this?

Oh, I'm just kidding. I don't mind. It's really kind of fun. But not in a million years would I have guessed that technology would make me feel so old. Part of this involves the posting of the "25 Random Things About Me" note that Facebookers put out there for the entire world to read. I've been working on mine, but it seems a bit egotistical to me. Plus, I can't think of 25 things. But ones I would write down, if I were to write them, would mostly be things that happened in the early 1960s, when I was a kid. Sometimes nostalgia works for me and sometimes I remember the awful smell of the elementary school cafeteria and I get a little queasy. The fact that I can still smell those wet, soapy, brown paper towels frightens me.

The fact that I am writing about this frightens me even more. I'm getting a little tired of being a slave to my home computer every weekend. I need sunshine and fresh air and exercise and personal interaction with other people, but I just stare at this screen and read every news article I can read (dangerous in itself) and send notes to people all over the world and not hear their voices and it is downright disturbing. I've gotten pretty good at skipping over news stories about the economy because it's just too painful, especially when I find out things like my tax money that was used to bail out the big cheeses on Wall Street was used by that guy at Merrill Lynch to buy an $87,000 rug and a $1,450 wastebasket for his office, while I am trying to figure out what to cook from the everything's-a-dollar aisle at the Piggly Wiggly. At least he got fired, but not before handing out billions of dollars in bonuses to people whom I doubt deserved it. I wonder if the guy is on Facebook and if he listed buying that rug as one of the 25 Random Things About Him. How can people do things like that? How, in this economy, with hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs and their homes, could someone spend ONE MILLION DOLLARS to decorate an office? I would really like to be able to understand the pathology there. Well, maybe not.

And speaking of the economy, isn't it awkward that not one single Republican voted to pass President Obama's stimulus plan? I could understand if the majority of them voted against it, but every single one of them? I wonder if they all "poked" each other on Facebook about it before the vote. It's almost as good as them now having their first African-American party chairman. Can you say "squirm"?

But enough of the us-versus-them mentality of which I can be very guilty. It does no good. Yes, I am happy that we now have a president who can grin without his eyes crossing, but the picture is too big for partisan thinking. We have to think about the 25 Random Things About Ourselves and hope that there are some good things in there. I think I am going to post mine soon. It is likely not going to be pretty. Stay tuned for the story about why my father shot our Chihuahua.

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