The Silence of the Ham

The Silver Fox was up last weekend. We went and ran some errands after coffee on…I want to say Saturday? I could be off a day or two, though. Time is a constant, my memory is not.

Anyway, while we ran his errands, he was multi-tasking by also ignoring my input about paint colors for his bathroom.

Sidebar: He’d already decided on Cable Knit Sweater based off the name alone, since there is some inside joke about that between him, his not-estranged-enough ex-wife and (unbeknownst to them) Taylor Swift.

That being the case, I was entertaining myself. Alternately looking at plants and seagulling him with unwanted opinions about paint he was pretending to consider.

This child was more excited than the Silver Fox

Somewhere between me finding an unusual looking plant and a hand painted planter to kill it in, I shared a story with him about Facebook. Since he’s not on any social media and he wasn’t listening to my opinions, we were basically punishing each other for sport.

The Facebook Story:

An old friend of mine – not as old as the Silver Fox, but “old” as in I’ve known him longer than The Fox…which is really saying something! – had sent me a late night text pointing out my conspicuous absence from Facebook.

The reason I had gone quiet was my own fault. I’d forgotten a major life rule: Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Honorable mention…a Mark Twain quote: Never argue with an idiot, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

The idiots and stupid Americans people in question were from a Facebook group I’ve been a part of for a few years called DamnedPortlanders. Usually, they post about neighborhood free libraries or new mandalas that appear around neighborhood intersections or cute hidden gardens.

Not this time, though. This time it was about Local Restaurant Chains vs Minimum Wage – read it, it’s a descent into over-educated liberal insanity.

But knowing I was missed caused me to end my Facebook embargo. Then I went in, quit some groups – starting with DamnedPortlanders – and deleted about 15% of my friends. Most of whom were just folks I’d met once or twice while amusing myself at bars, folks I knew only on social media because they were friends of friends or, in about a half dozen cases, guy candy.

As I said, sharing this story was simply an exercise in pyrrhic entertainment…and he didn’t much care. But I got a little humble brag in in the telling, some people miss me when I’m not around.

Subtle, right?

The best part about all this? He decided he also liked the planter I’d discovered and decided to buy one…right before telling me that I couldn’t buy one because between our respective coffees, the gallon of paint and his hand painted planter, we didn’t have enough hands to carry it all home.

I mentally debated arguing – again, just for sport – but decided that this was his errands mission. I could make a separate trip for mine…but I’m telling him they were on sale after I do!

What makes this phenomenon remarkable is how many others are going through similar situations. Just the other morning, I awoke to an IM from a friend that she had deleted both of her blogs and didn’t want me to worry about her silence. It was just because she was tired of the petty backlash she suffered when mentioning friends in her blog posts.

She, like me, used nom de blog plume type masking when mentioning her friends. Unlike me and the epic brand hawk, Sacha, all of her friends seemed to mind – even though very few (if any) people would bother or care to decipher the monikers she used.

Sacha has his own special code name in my phone book…

I’m fortunate, I guess, that I only have Sacha to worry about when I write. It’s entertaining, in a way…watching him bend over backward to convince me that he’s not reading my blog. It’s always some vague “mutual friend” from Facebook that allegedly tells him about a post.

Fun fact: My WordPress hasn’t been tethered to my Facebook page since last August, so when I wrote about him about a month and a half ago and he jumped into a shrill textapalooza with both feet…well, if it walks like a Sacha and lies like a Sacha – it’s a Sacha.

Aside from those stories about overly precious friends and exes, though, I was glad to hear my friend Benjamina espouse the same instinct to cull. Maybe that’s something that being in lockdown for 15 months has instilled in us. After all, if we spent that long incommunicado when distractions were at an all time low and entertainment was at a premium, then I think the onus is on the “friend” to prove they should remain on that less and less important friends list. For my part, if someone was a legit part of my life – usually meaning they were a schoolmate or a past work colleague – they got a pass, even if we didn’t presently interact much on social media. I made a few exceptions for active friends of friends and blog buddies, otherwise I dropped the unfriend hammer. Most embarrassing for the folks who didn’t make the proverbial cut would be the nearly half-dozen friends on my list who have died over the years. They may not have survived life, but they survived the friends list cull of 2021…I don’t want to let go of the last physical tether I have to them.

I was a little more liberal or sparing on Instagram, by comparison. After all, that’s really more of a “follow your interests” environment by design.

Of course, that immediately bit me straight in the ass.

There’s a kid from Glasgow that I know from his blog here on WordPress. He’s self-published several pamphlets books, so we have a couple of similar interests…three, if sexual orientation counts as an interest. Although, at this point in my life, I’d call sexual orientation a disinterest of mine.

I’ve even bought one of his books. $10 for less than 75 pages…that tracks for what too many millennials expect as an ROI for their efforts: minimal effort, maximum return. Conversely, my books are all well over that page count – by magnitudes – and my target price range is $9.99-12.99. I want to deliver bang for my reader’s dollar. And that apostrophe was intentionally placed in the singular possessive, thank you.

He’s actually a late-20s guy, not a kid. Despite his childish behavior in what turned out to be our second to last interaction on social media.

Like I said, it was Instagram. He’s posted a pic to his story with the caption “Time to shave”. In looking at the pic – which was an extreme close up of his chin – I saw some white stubble. I thought it was cute, a soon to be expired twink calling himself out for having white whiskers and playfully responded with “Do I see some white on that stubble?” Then I went to bed, because the PNW and Glasgow are in very different time zones, right?!?

I awoke to see him having made two efforts at responding “Rude” and following them up with “And now it’s deleted”. Then I saw that he’d blocked me.

Ok…wow.

He’s been very vocal about his bouts of anxiety and depression, both on his Instagram and in his blog. As a matter of fact, weeks after the Instagram incident, he posted about exactly that and how COVID exacerbated those conditions for him. And oddly how he’d noticed people coming out of their COVID hibernations with slightly wonky social behaviors – like they’d forgotten how to people during lockdown.

Of course, I completely agreed with him. Which led to our last social media interaction here on WordPress. I just couldn’t help but use the story of how someone had blocked me on social media for incorrectly guessing why they’d post a pic captioned “Time to shave”.

Not only did that story go over his head…

…but he liked it. As in, he completely forgot the entire episode and even reading my comment didn’t trigger his memory that I was describing his own broken behavioral shittiness.

What the literal fuck? I was embarrassed for him. Being so incensed that he not only blocked me, but deleted a post from his own social media. If that wasn’t a memory that stuck in his mind hard enough to recall after being directly reminded of the situation, I’m left to wonder if he wasn’t that offended or if he’s that offended by so many people that he cannot recall who got the block hammer and for what manufactured reason.

He should take a page out of Rainman’s book and keep a list…

Yeah, I went there.

And, for the record, I unfollowed his blog. That was something that actually made me feel bad. For my part, I think if I’m living in a society that it’s incumbent upon me – and each of us – to do our part to lift others up…to help them be better people or have an easier time navigating this life we’re living.

Imagine if that was our collective goal. What a world that would be.

My hope in making this comment to this guy was that he’d read my account of what he’d done and what my intention had been in making my comment on his Instagram story and he’d have an a-ha moment and we could bury the proverbial hatchet.

I thought that the worst case scenario would be that he just blocked me from commenting on future post to his blog. Nowhere in my expected response was that he would be so oblivious as to not even get that my comment was directed at him…and that he’d actually like my comment.

I really didn’t know what to do with that level of cluelessness. Like I said, I unfollowed his blog. I know what they say about the irreparable nature of stupid, but I don’t think he’s stupid.

Naive.

Maybe a little lazy brained…but not stupid.

I had led that horse right up to the water’s edge – not much more I can do, if it dies of dehydration I’m not sticking around to beat its corpse.

In a barely interesting corollary, I’ve noticed a lot more bogus follower activities. Y’know…obviously fake accounts following me.

Mostly on Instagram, but there’s been a few on Facebook, too. And you’ve got to admit, some of their tactics are hits – like the new Instagram follower named progressivevote or the blog followers whose blog descriptions are “alcohol” or “beer”…they know the target audience. That Jane_Vera0116, though. Swing and a really big miss.

But maybe they are relying on the incipient loneliness the past year-plus of lockdowns has created. Or the desperation what I’m imagining to be the obvious unfriending and unfollowing on social media is creating in people who don’t know their value without the “likes” to back it up.

If COVID only made us worse to endure, I’m wondering if we shouldn’t just let the GOP have its way on labeling Climate Change as a hoax…because maybe we aren’t worth saving. Because just as unfixable as stupid is, saving someone or some species that can’t decide it wants to be saved is a fool’s errand for any Samaritans amongst us.

Maybe it’s time this victim of his own self-described savior complex just shuts up and watches the world burn.

Nah…I’m more optimistic than that! I’ll go buy that plant and see if it will stay alive and keep me company.

The Silence of the Ham

12 thoughts on “The Silence of the Ham

  1. lanie belluz says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with you that people have forgotten to “people” during the pandemic. So, you remember my other blog where I only gave the address to virtual blogger friends? One of my (ex) friends actually went hunting for it and when we asked why we hadn’t seen her she went off saying she discovered a secret blog about her and she just cannot be friends with anyone who writes about her online. First of all, “discovered a secret blog” Ok, she went looking for it. Second, the only things it said was stuff that was true that she knew anyway. I feel like folks get what they deserve.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! One of my favorite Chrisisms is “people make their own pain”…the surprising thing is how the reaction to that little nugget has changed over the last 25 years. When I first started saying it, people were usually embarrassed or contrite to hear it, now…it’s usually low grade hostility at best. When did our culture forget what mortification was?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, oh! I know this one…pick me, pick me!
        My thought on this is that “retard” was weaponized against people with developmental disabilities so in an effort to flip the script it was declared un-PC. Because bullying someone by muttering “challenged” under ones breath doesn’t really have much punch.
        It was likely accidental, but it’s the first time in my life – overt racial bullying having already been pushed back under its rock before I was aware of how prevalent it was – that I can think of Americans making an effort to shift accountability from victims to bullies. But, like I said, I think it was a byproduct of protecting these kids versus making their bullies accountable. I remember how those conversations with the mean kids went. It was mollycoddling, pure and simple. “Now, Billy, you know that’s not nice and that Barbie can’t help it that she’s challenged.” Right in front of the victim, probably exacerbating their injury for being publicly defended by someone who looked at it as a job task instead of an issue of equality and inclusion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. But I also agree that humor has become more of a national bandage for liberals versus a source of joy. I see more and more people using it defensively to get out of an escalating conversation with someone they don’t agree with and can’t converse with politely about issues they disagree on. It’s like when I was a kid getting picked on and I was desperate to prevent that escalating from picked on to beat up.

        Like

      3. There again the mighty lizard brain rears its ugly head, though. The “system” brings the retard to baseball practice to make them feel included when what’s on everyone’s mind who is present is “Can we use her for third base?” Legislated inclusion, equitable access and new vocabulary changes no minds. Retards don;t play baseball and it’s stupid of the system to embarass the challenged further by inserting them in the midst of what they are not. Not to say “keep to your own kind, retard” but to stop as you call the uber liberal absurdity from legislating sameness when alt care and opportunities are the wiser path. The grocery giant Kroger hires the challenged in large numbers as front end and some stock help. I find that more helpful in making anyone feel useful than putting them in a situation where it is impossible for them to perform. In a society where the “challenged” are allowed to grow instead of being eaten by their mothers or left in ditch, I call that equitable. I mean shit, “Yo, retard,” and “Yo challenged” both delivered with the same demeanor have the same emotional weight equity.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Good points, all – and I see what you’re saying. There’s no right answer for inclusion, because even to your “keep to your own kind” comment, we *do* have Special Olympics – yet I don’t know of any intramural leagues for athletes of similar standing.
        Luckily, it’s not up to us to decide! 🥸

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoy drama that is amusing for all – almost situational or manufactured drama. The crap I see on social media – where one side clearly doesn’t get how funny they’d be if they weren’t in fact tragic – is just soul crushing. I think you (and the Silver Fox) have made brilliant decisions to steer clear!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. He’s been very vocal about his bouts of anxiety and depression – fuck those crazy bitches.
    An old friend and co-conspirator in the avant-garde AV world was telling me all the things I needed to delete from my blog that didn’t meet with his sudden artificial high mindedness about bad words, offensive content and several blogs about real (now deceased) people whose families might be upset with me for mentioning their loved ones by name.
    So I deleted a lot of shit. no big deal. I’ll go into the trash sometime and punt them over to Word. As regards the mind sucking waste of time SM is – I only get email notices of blog posts I “follow” from 3 people and you’re one of them. So there.

    Liked by 1 person

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