“I wish Facebook had never been invented!” fumed Cliff Murray the other morning as he sat down for a session at Mabel’s Grill.
“What, are you afraid they’ve been collecting and selling your personal information?” asked Molly Whiteside as she filled his coffee cup.
“Nah, if they can find any information on me anyone wants to buy they’re welcome to the 23 cents it must be worth,” Cliff said. “The problem is my wife put some pictures of our cute little lambs on Facebook to show some of our relatives and now we’re being hounded by all these animal rights people calling us murderers for selling lamb.”
“I don’t know why they call it social media when it’s the most unsocial thing around these days,” said Dave Winston.
“I’m glad my kids are small enough they’re not into it yet,” said Mabel. “Some of the things kids say to each other is pure poison.”
“Never bothers me,” shrugged George McKenzie.
“Yeah, I know you don’t even have a cell phone, but don’t you ever wonder what people might be saying on social media behind your back?” asked Cliff.
“As long as they’re not saying it to my face it doesn’t matter,” said George.
“Were people always this vicious or are they worse with social media?” wondered Molly.
“Yeah, how about it George? Were people so nasty back in your day?” asked Cliff.
Dave laughed. “They might have been but by the time they had to chisel their mess-ages in stone they forgot what they were going to say.”
“We had our own social media when I was a kid,” said George. “It was called the party line. You just picked up the phone and you could find out everything that was going on in the neighbourhood.”
“And did people say mean things on the phone?” Molly wondered.
“Not if they wanted to get along with their neighbours,” said George. “I mean you could recognize the voices so you couldn’t get away with much.”
“That’s the problem these days,” said Cliff. “I’ve never met one of these people who’s attacking me and wouldn’t know them if I did, so they can be as mean as they want with no consequences.”
“Well probably Mark Zucker-berg’s getting some of his own medicine on Facebook over this whole data leak thing,” said Dave. “Bet there’s plenty of trolls on his case.”
“Yeah, and sitting on the hot seat in front of all those politicians in Washington wouldn’t be much fun either,” said Molly. “Maybe he’s beginning to wonder, himself if he wishes he’d never invented Facebook.”
“Oh I could take the heat for a few of his billions,” said Dave.
“Well, suppose I’d better get going,” sighed Cliff, getting up from the table. “I’ve got to go for a hair cut before I go home.”
“Oh?” laughed Molly, “which one, the one on the left of your bald spot or the one on the right?”
“Ha, ha” said Cliff a hollow laugh. “I’ve never heard that before.”
“Yeah, how come you’re not allowed to mock anybody these days but it’s still fine to make jokes about bald people?” said George who’s getting a little thin on top himself.
“Because only men get bald and all men are fair game,” said Dave.
“Poor guys!” said Molly with a smirk.
“What’s really maddening is the unfairness of it,” said Cliff. “The last time I got behind this guy with a full head of bushy hair – kind of rubbing it in for a guy like me. To make it worse, I had to wait while it took the barber 15 extra minutes to cut it. Then he pays the same as I do.”
“Poor, Cliff,” said Molly in mock sympathy. “Maybe you can post a rant on Facebook against guys with full heads of hair.”◊