There comes a time in the life of any child when they must deal with a delicate question about their parents: Confirm, or Ignore?
My parents sat in Facebook limbo for years, the two-headed profile “MargieBob” stuck on my page like the bad guys from Superman II trapped in the 2-D prison.
But I recently decided that my real-life friendship with my parents must be worth a virtual friendship. I decided that when people look back on their lives they regret what they didn’t do, not what they’ve done. And I decided that I needed a column topic.
So I accepted their request and Facebook announced to the world that, after 34 years, I am now friends with my parents.
So far, so good. They haven’t done anything embarrassing yet, like posting naked baby pictures of me on my wall, or showing up in Yoville trying to be cool.
I did have to label one video NSFMP (Not Safe For My Parents), but that’s it so far.
In reality, my parents were never what was holding me back. I was embarrassed about my “friends.”
It’s a familiar story for me. When I was in my early teens, my dad once asked if I wanted to play tennis with him. I said yes, but then I saw my “friends” were at the court. Their idea of a good time was getting the best loogie built up by smoking cigarettes and eating Oreos.
I was in the suburbs of a small city. Friendship was geography.
So I told my dad I didn’t want to play because my friends were there and – children don’t forget this stuff – Dad got choked up.
Now, 20 years later, geography is no boundary to friendship. Nor, as any computer user knows, does actual friendship bear any relation to Facebook friendship.
But to hell with it. Family members, friends, fools, and frenemies, they’re all “friends” now. Those Seinfeld episodes where Jerry or George worry about “the two worlds” colliding seem hopelessly out of date. We’re all in the same world now.
I’m happy to have Mom and Dad in that group. Amidst all the self-promotion, self-flagellation, and self-love in the status updates, my parents are the rarest of Facebook users: They’re happy.
“Ain’t life grand!” was a recent update. In future, MargieBob, I’d appreciate an NSFC (Not Safe For Cynics). Thanks.