22 July 2015

When a human quits The Facebook

I will get all emotional about my recent, last, successful escape from The Facebook, after I share this picture of me trying to do a push-up.


I once watched a film about jail: a group of cellmates attempted to escape, but the guards caught them and threw them back inside. This happened time and again: the cellmates began to think that escape was impossible. But one heroic, dignified cellmate delivered an impassioned speech to the others: “Let us never give up! Let us die trying!” …Then, at the end of the movie, they finally got out.

That movie is like my experience on The Facebook. From time immemorial, I’ve tried to break out of that network; but I always get caught by the guards—they use their rifles to force me back to my profile page.

I wish I could claim that a heroic impulse arose within my soul, which delivered the equivalent of an impassioned speech that moved me, at long last, to succeed in escaping; but the truth is that I simply executed an informed decision:

The stats on my blog posts revealed that 99% of their visitors come from places other than The Facebook. So the stockpiles of time that I was wasting on the (Anti-) Social Network afforded me the benefit of one single reader per hundred among the cheering multitudes that pack this weblog’s stadium. Obviously, this was unacceptable to the panel of lawyers who protect my bottom line. So I killed my account.

Now, everything that I’ve written here, up to this point, dear diary, is just the introduction. What I really wanted to report to you is what happens after a human breaks out of Facebook. Because inquiring minds want to know. (Plus I am the first arctic air balloon racer in history who has ever weaseled his way out of a speeding ticket.)

Not less than a great many times, during the 26¾ hours since I have been Facebook-free, a waiter has presented me with the cafe’s rotary telephone on a platter while announcing: “Here is a collect call for ‘The One Who Got Away’ from ‘A Former Facebook Friend’—I have accepted the charges on your behalf, and the caller is presently on hold and being kept company by the Wrong Cops soundtrack, as per your instructions.”

The questions that I field from those who remain on that network are usually the same: they ask me, in a million different ways, exactly what life is like after quitting The Facebook; and they beg me not to omit any gritty details. So, instead of accepting a bunch more collect calls and then probably losing my voice from pontificating, I’ll just transcribe my experience here below.

What happens when a human quits The Facebook:

Immediately after terminating my account, all of the blood in my veins stood still. Then the room’s ceiling started rippling like the surface of a pond, and these ripples grew into vast waves like the ocean makes when it’s angry. Soon I began gasping—I flailed my arms and kept swinging and clawing at the air like a dying vampire.

Next, my sneakers’ velcro straps lost their stickiness, causing one of my shoes to fall off of my foot. This exposed my sock, which looked less attractive than it would have appeared if it had been posted as a photo on Facebook.

But the worst of the physical symptoms of my social-network withdrawal was that a team of landscapers began cutting the grass that surrounds our communal sandlot—for about 30 minutes, all I could hear was the roaring of lawnmowers. This almost made me want to shut my windows.

Luckily, at that very moment, my sweetheart arrived home from her yoga tournament. I ran toward her and fell into her arms and sobbed while telling her all that had happened to me—I explained that, after leaving Facebook, the consequences were unbearable.

While soothing and calming me down, my sweetheart said: “To show solidarity for your situation, I will delete my own account, as well.” So she did. And then all this same stuff happened to her.


Qualo Infinity said...

First of all, kudos! Second of all, I've always wanted to be in a cafe, sitting quietly at a table, with my back to the wall as usual, and have a waiter walk up to me with a platter on which rested a rotary telephone, and say, "Excuse me sir, but someone has dialed a wrong number, would you care to have some fun with it before we disconnect the line?" Thirdly, enjoying your blogginess as always! Fourthly, the first installment in the new serial is completed.. I just need to proof it and make a few edits and then I sposin' it'll be a-headin' to Tumblrland a-very soon.. It is entitled 'The Fry Cook, the Minotaur, and the Broken-Hearted Detective'.. Congrats, once again! And glad you liked O25..thanks for mentioning that!

Bryan Ray said...

HA!!! Thanks, Q—I’m naively optimistic when I muse about the future of social networking: I dream that everyone will eventually leave The Facebook yet remain in touch (and establish even better connections) here in the outer darkness of cyberspace.

For a while, I’ve been planning to return to Tumblr (I can’t remember why I ever left), if only to experiment with copying stuff from this blog, to see if I can gain any new attention. (I know, it probably won’t do a thing, but I want to collect my Blogger contents into a book anyway; and this’ll kill two birds with one stone.) If you do use Tumblr, I’ll follow you with this account, which has been sitting there unused for a long time already:


Lastly, I think that we should steal a cafe (by steal, I simply mean we’d commandeer it via nonviolent coup) and pay our customers to wait on us with misdialed telephones. For obvious reasons, this would help us to improve our fake-crying skills; and then we’d have a much higher chance of getting hired to act in those commercials for our favorite cereal: Hefty Onion Flakes.

Rye Baldy said...

farewell, good thing i know about this place, still tucked away and cozy....

Bryan Ray said...

Rye Baldy! I'm so glad to hear from you! Thanks for remembering how to stumble upon this secret hidden chamber of the internet! Also, in case you hate Twitter enough to accompany me in my misery there, I named my new account @BryanRay444. Now here is the ending of Whitman's "Good-Bye my Fancy!" which I copy to remind us that as soon as you say "farewell" you also say "hail!" and thus you welcome your Fancy again:

If we go anywhere we'll go together to meet what happens,
May-be we'll be better off and blither, and learn something,
May-be it is yourself now really ushering me to the true songs, (who knows?)
May-be it is you the mortal knob really undoing, turning—so now finally,
Good-bye—and hail! my Fancy.


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