The truth about Facebook

I am suddenly realizing what Facebook really is:

A mire of people you'd forgotten completely about and had hoped to continue doing so for the rest of your life.

A putrid cesspool of bosses who'd fired you, men who wronged you, girls who made your life hell.

A delightful opportunity to reconnect with women who you thought were your friends in high school, only for you to discover that maybe they never were, particularly when they "friend" you with Hey there - I still remember you with frizzy hair and food in your braces. What's up?

And then there's the one guy who turns up. The former best friend who you wondered if you'd ever see again.

The guy who made you laugh all through freshman year, who kept you sane through late night rehearsals of The Pajama Game, who dared to join you on a three week masochistic canoe trip through the wilds of Canada where neither of you had any business being. The guy you missed so terribly when his family moved away after tenth grade.

You tried to keep up in college but as these things often do, you went your separate ways.

And then one sunny morning in LA, nearly 25 years after he hoisted you up on his shoulders to sing Once a Year Day off-tune in the high school auditorium, you sit across from each other over breakfast. You reminisce. You giggle. You briefly consider holding hands and skipping.

He reminds you about the time you dressed up all fancy and hosted a very sophisticated fondue party, just like grownups. Grownups who eat fondue. You suddenly remember that he's color blind, and that he wore purple pants for years mistakenly thinking they were blue. He confesses how jealous he was that you made out with Matt A at a house party. You confess that you were drunk enough that you thought Matt was his brother Steve.

You smile so hard for so long your cheeks hurt.

And then you get to the hard part - condensing nearly two decades apart into the hour before you leave for the airport. Some of the details become blurry but the essence is clear: You love the path he's chosen, the life he's living, the man he became.

And as always, those kind eyes.

Here's to finding you again Ben. And to Facebook, which sometimes doesn't suck at all.


Blogger Summer said...

ohhhh....I have a Ben too! From High School and college years. And now he's gone...not even to be found on Facebook.

And to the mean girls who suddenly want to be friends?

Well they can suck it. At the local small town tavern, at which they are all still hanging out.

Happy happy happy!

2/6/09, 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Melizzard said...

Still hoping my Ben pops up on FB one day. Although I fear his current self won't live up to what I hope for.

Why do we all have Bens?

And what is up with the mean girls who still live there and hang out at the same damn pizza place?

Was the same small town just cookie cutter stamped all over the place and we never knew?

In my head I've been rolling around this idea that there needs to be a self awareness FB ratio. Something along the lines of if you have "friended" more people from high school than you have from your current life and your more than 10 years out of high school you need to get a life.

2/6/09, 10:46 AM  
Blogger Wicked Step Mom said...

That is really cool that you guys were able to reconnect. I personally don't use Facebook or Myspace. But, I prefer to remain hidden.

2/6/09, 11:04 AM  
Blogger Hilary said...

Wow, this is great. Just when you think facebook is really, really just ech, you find your Ben.

2/6/09, 11:06 AM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

Until you got to the good part, I was thinking, man I'll print this out. Then every single time someone says I should join Facebook, I'll send it to them. In fact, I still might, if that's okay?

I don't have a Ben out there and I really don't care to have the mean girls finding me. But I'm glad you have a Ben who found you.

2/6/09, 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Kelli @ BabyStroller-Reviews.com said...

I think we all have a Ben! I try to stay away from FaceBook due to it's addictive nature, but it's so hard.

When I was engaged I used to love to look at other people's wedding pictures, now with the baby coming I stalk people with baby pictures!

2/6/09, 11:31 AM  
Blogger Mom on the Run said...

I think I may be the tiniest bit in LOVE with FB. I'm not a phone person. I'm a lapsed letter writer. I find myself having one sided "so how has the last 5 years of your life been" conversations with newly discovered friends through e-mail. But FB is different. With FB I can read soundbites about old work friends. Do those silly memes. I skip the so "what have you been doing?" and get right to the "what are you doing right now part of the conversation?" FB + Me = True Love

2/6/09, 11:58 AM  
Anonymous The Yummy Mummy Cooks Gourmet said...

I was just about to write something almost witty or pithy about Facebook and old flames and then Lucy came bounding in and saw that I was on your blog (and she knows it's your blog because apparently, she has memorized your blog design) and she demanded that we scroll down to the "I'm a Little Teapot" video (which we've watched 1,000 times now and it has to be on your site, not on YouTube, because your site is the official "I'm a Little Teapot" site now...have you noticed your traffic going up?) and then, we had to scroll some more and admire your cupcakes.

Those are some nice cupcakes.

So, yeah, I forgot what I was going to say about Facebook, but apparently your site is the bomb for 4 year olds.

Congrats on that.


2/6/09, 12:03 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Hey thanks Kim! Let her know that my own 3 year old also insists on watching I'm a Little Teapot pretty much daily. But she's okay if we watch it on You Tube. I guess she's bored of my banner after all this time.

2/6/09, 12:06 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

Wow! You are so timely - I swear you can read my mind! I just joined FB and it's so hard to not become addicted - - in a "watching a train wreck" kind of way! I have had about 20 daily
invitations to be friends with people from HS that I can't even remember. We weren't friends in HS and now I'm supposed to be "friends" on FB? WTH?!? The good side is that I have found some people that I always wondered what happened to, although I've yet to find my "Ben".
I can also agree that most of the peeps from HS seem to have never moved on. Most still live in our little (though growing) home town and, judging from their new last names, have all intermarried. Rather frightening!

2/6/09, 12:23 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I'm very conflicted about Facebook myself. On the one hand there are those people you find, and it's amazing. On the other hand, it's a daily reminder of why I was so glad to be done with high school. Or why I really need to think more before I make my status updates.

In the end I think it's worth it, though, for the amazing moments.

2/6/09, 12:34 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Oh, I hear you.

2/6/09, 1:00 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

I love reconnecting with people, people who mean something. It's wonderful.

2/6/09, 1:28 PM  
Blogger Don't Lick The Ferrets! said...

The good and the bad, the wanted and the avoided...all in one place! You captured it perfectly...sometimes it doesn't suck!

2/6/09, 1:38 PM  
Anonymous jens said...

wow, so timely for me, as I joined FB not too long ago. My 20th !!!!!!! Class Reunion is coming up and it's crazy to reconnect with people I haven't seen for so long. Not to mention lots of college friends and current friends. It's very addicting, tho, I'm wasting too much time with it. No Ben sightings, yet.

2/6/09, 1:42 PM  
Blogger So n So's Mom said...

Love the Ben story. Lived the rest. FB has that peeping tom quality that is just hard to walk away from no matter how many mean girls you run into. You want to. You know it's the right thing to do... but .... look Tom, the guy who dumped you two days before prom to go with Sally, just posted some family photos. I heard Sally gained like 200 lbs since the shotgun marriage so just one peek then I'll log off.

Love your blog. I'll check back in again to see where your clever mind takes us.

2/6/09, 1:56 PM  
Blogger Allknowingjen said...

I love this post. You always get me when you start out with the snark and wrap up with the sweet. I have a Ben too- and I would love the chance to catch up with him in person.

But I have to tell you that my 3 yr old also thinks of your site as the "funny video one" and we also have to play the teapot video if she sees me here! You clearly have your finger on the pulse of the pre-school set.

2/6/09, 2:38 PM  
OpenID willtherebecake said...

The same thing happened to me a couple of years ago...but on MySpace. Facebook was still to exclusive. Of course, the details are just slightly different (10 years instead of 20 and St. Louis instead of L.A.) but I know exactly what you mean.

2/6/09, 3:39 PM  
Anonymous This Is Worthwhile said...

Ah, yes, FB follies. I, too, haven't found my Ben, yet, like another reader. I search periodically. I have no idea what I'll find.

I do know that at least a dozen people I never spoke to in HS have solicited my "friendship" and I find it very odd. But then again, I'm the one who "friended" some estranged family but never actually emailed them.

That's the beauty of FB. You can peek in on those you wonder about every 10 years or so and not have to do any hard work for it.

2/6/09, 4:29 PM  
Blogger heartatpreschool said...

Awww, just when I was about to quit Facebook...you've given me a reason to give it another chance.

2/6/09, 5:45 PM  
Blogger tds said...

How sad is it that I would give up the "Ben" in order to never ever remotely connect with the "Marni" (though mine were all thru Jr High and High School).

This is why I am not on Facebook. Ever.

2/6/09, 6:04 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Funny, I just posted something about Facebook but it wasn't as sweet a story as yours with Ben. I have enjoyed reconnecting with some people, I just wish they would stop sending me silly gifts and pokes that I ignore.

And, I friend anyone who asks. Even the mean girls. I figure that my life has turned out pretty good so they can go suck it.

2/6/09, 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Carol @SheLives said...

Facebook sucks...TIME! What's with all the little gifts and games and groups and gee-gaws?

It just wears me slick.

Glad you found your friend, though. I don't think my old classmates have computers.

2/6/09, 7:33 PM  
Blogger sweatpantsmom said...

I'm surprised at how much I like Facebook. I've re-connected with some wonderful old friends, and it helps me keep up with new and current ones.

Then again, if someone sends me another Lil' Green Patch I'll have to go postal on their ass.

(Glad you re-connected with your Ben. That was a great story.)

2/6/09, 7:50 PM  
Blogger MadWoman said...

Awww I'm still hoping my Ben will show up somewhere on there. I have the mean girls, the ex boyfriends, the seemingly cool kids who now are sooooo not...but no Ben.

I'm happy you found him...and that you realised sometimes Facebook CAN be good :)

2/6/09, 7:54 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

I reconnected with my Ben, too, through Myspace. So fun. :)

2/6/09, 8:04 PM  
Anonymous sincerelysquid said...

it is so great that you mentioned facebook and the people finding you that you never wanted to see again. a girl that made my life pretty miserable in high school requested my friendship on facebook which i found very odd, and then begin speaking to me like we had always been friends. playing the grown up game i suppose, that same game that all the the college freshman play when they come back to their old high school of a year ago and they are so "changed."

anyways, she did this "note" thing that said something about writing a memory about her. so i did...except i was honest.

needless to say, it did not go over well. she wrote me a comment on my page about how she had totally forgotten about all that because it was SO SO long ago, but i must not have and then she deleted me from her friends list.

ah those true colors. i have to admit, even though i some how came out looking like the crazy person, i am still glad i said it.

2/6/09, 8:43 PM  
Blogger Ben said...


This post is the sweetest and most amazing gift!

As the person who hoisted you up in The Pajama Game (and smoked Parliaments and popped cubes of Bubblicious with you on breaks), I can vouch that the mean girls had nothing on you back in the day.

Your brown hair was beautiful and curly and exuberant (like you), your smile was infectious and lit up the room (and still does), and you made this color-blind, closeted kid feel special and loved.

I will always be thankful to the FB for reconnecting us!

2/6/09, 8:47 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Aw man, I was already to start a "Down with Facebook" chant, and then I read Ben's comment. What a great guy!

I won't be reactivating my Facebook account, but I am glad that I've got friends who are on it and can filter out the mean girls and send the cool ones my way. There's something to be said for reconnecting.

2/7/09, 12:24 AM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

Yeah, I have three facebook stories that prove to me it doesn't suck after all.


It might take 22 more of them to balance out the real suckitudinage that has erupted all over Facebook like pus filled volcanoes of adolescence.

2/7/09, 12:29 AM  
Blogger erin said...

Oh, Liz...I finally broke down and signed up a month ago. Now, I'm waiting for my Ben to pop up on Facebook...I love him...I'm not in love with him...he's just a dear, dear friend who faded away when I wasn't looking. Happy for you that you found yours :)

2/7/09, 12:55 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

I was just about to sign up for Facebook when the first breastfeeding brouhaha erupted, and then never quite got the momentum to do it. Maybe this weekend. I did just have a great reconnection with an old friend from a dozen years ago - he was the one person at work that I went for advice when I quit my job. Now his then baby daughter has her first boyfriend. Time . . .

2/7/09, 3:43 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

I thought I would loathe FB for most of the reasons that you have mentioned above...but it has turned out to be a fantastic way to reconnect with some folks that I thought I would never hear from again.

2/7/09, 11:53 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Yeah isn't it a joke when someone you never even talked to in high school messages you to be your friend, how bout no?

2/7/09, 11:02 PM  
Blogger J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I love facebook, for exactly these reasons.

2/7/09, 11:57 PM  
Blogger Black Hockey Jesus said...

Ben what? Who can't use more awesome Facebook friends?

2/9/09, 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Jerri Ann said...

Holy Cow and how is it that I can't find any of the nice people, it's all those hell-dishers on facebook...wait, what does that say about me? YIKES!

2/10/09, 10:53 PM  
Blogger Gray Matter said...

Ah yes, the quarter of a decade in a nutshell--mine goes a little something like this:
Well, after world domination didn't pan out I went into advertising where I went from meteoric rise to mediocre plateau. Club Med. Husband. Baby. Blogging. How 'bout you?

2/11/09, 8:05 PM  
Blogger jessica @pianomomsicle said...

i'm addicted to FB. Seriously.
However, i was in college when FB started, so i've been there since the beginning. It's a fantastic way to reconnect with people, to quickly figure out play dates without having to talk on the phone (avoiding awkward "how are you"s and "Sorry my kid is screaming, aren't you glad we're coming over?"s) and to keep up with my Ben (Adam) who has no idea he was/is my Ben, my never-meant-to-be Ben.

2/24/09, 10:07 PM  

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