By Rick Reynolds
Look. We all know that, regardless of your age, your mother always knew more about you than was good for her health. But when my mother friended me six years after her death, I’m thinking, “Thanks a lot, Facebook!”
Upon awaking from that nightmare, I decided to stay off the social networking site. It appears that Osama bin Laden, Bernie Madoff, and Rick Reynolds are the only holdouts left–in this world or beyond–who prefer their privacy.
If only there were a “mother” button on Facebook, we would place her there. If you’re like most people, your shameful life dictates that you, instead, place Mom in a special alternate, clandestine area where one neither accepts nor declines; a kind of Facebook purgatory where she can believe you or her prying eyes. Of course, you can always decline the request –in polite company we call it, “ignore.” It’s not that your mom isn’t your friend. Indeed, she’s so special a friend, she comes with her own special name: “MOTHER.”
But if your mother made it to the 21st century a decade after you did, you’ll need a protocol. After all, it’s not just mothers. Many fathers, uncles and grandfathers are married to moms, aunts and grandmothers–if not yours. And virtually all have received that gift that keeps on giving–social networking.
The main thing to remember, when Mom decides to friend you, is not to panic. Take a deep breath. Draw the air deep into your powerhouse. As I said, your mother already knows how weird you are—if not the details—even without Facebook. Now, all she wants to know about are your secret experiences. (BTW, your father hasn’t got a clue, unless your mother told him.)
While composing your Facebook status, decide if your profile is appropriate. Look into a mirror and ask yourself if you have more than six pictures of yourself that would prevent you from landing a future job at FedEx. If you’re holding a glass in the picture, Photoshop milk into it. If you’re standing next to undesirable characters holding up birds without feathers, consider deleting them or rethink accepting your mother as a friend. However, you must always remember who’s footing the bill for your lavish lifestyle. And where your inheritance is coming from.
I’ve thought of starting a Facebook page, but with my paranoia, there wouldn’t be anything on it. I’d use an alias, post a picture taken 30 years ago, and retouch my beard. I’d have plenty of friends, but they’d soon get bored staring at a vacant page, much like they do when they read my magazine columns. I read recently about a software developer, Dana Hanna, who walked down the matrimonial aisle with cell phone in hand. After vows were exchanged, but before kissing the bride, Hanna took his cell
phone and updated his relationship status. Just when I was feeling terrible for the bride, I read she grabbed the phone from him so she could update hers.
It was then I knew a new mother was born; one who will eventually know more than is optimal for her health. The minister waited patiently for each to confirm the other’s new status, before declaring them husband and wife.
Mark Twain once wrote, “I was dead for millions of years before I was born, and it didn’t inconvenience me in the slightest.” Well, Twain did ease my unease with mortality, but it will take more than Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (Time magazine’s “Person of the Year’) to share my millions of sorry moments—despite knowing it would not inconvenience (or surprise) my mother in the slightest.
Chappaqua alumnus and 35-year resident of Chappaqua, humorist Rick Reynolds resides in southern New Hampshire with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.