Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Wednesday, January 09, 2013  
The problem isn't Facebook. The problem isn't Google or Wikipedia.

The problem is humans and the things that make them human.

Facebook, Google and Wikipedia are merely unwitting accessories and conduits in the crimes of civility humans are perpetrating.

People are flawed. Period. We're all flawed. And to me, that's what makes people and life interesting. I suppose because I'm so flawed that I despise the dogged pursuit of perfection at all cost. I realize that sets up a mirror within a mirror situation for me, but heh heh, I'm flawed so don't expect much in the way of overcoming flaws from me.

I hazard guesses that the world is comprised of two types of people: 1) Those who like Martha Stewart because she's living proof that dogged pursuits of perfection are pointless and mockworthy, and, on a deeper level, they're an outward cover-up for inward inadequacies; and 2) those who like Martha Stewart because her humorless, apparently self-unaware determination to create perfect everything, from scratch, using only the best ingredients, fabric, paper, pottery, glassware...whatever...resonates with them because, they, too, are desperate to create perfection in an imperfect world. Or to at least create an outward illusion to hide, or compensate for, the inward flaws.

I further theorize that people in the second category are also endowed with competitive personalities. Maybe not "win at any and all cost," but, competing in a race where the opponents don't even know there's a competition. We all know people who have to be the first, best, fastest, whatever-est at everything they do, as if there is a life-or death championship race for who can complete a grocery shopping trip the fastest.

It's good to have one or two things you can do perfectly, either by disciplined study and practice or by savant quirk of the brain. Achieving the pinnacle of success at something is good. It buoys self-confidence and self-esteem. I'm not disputing that fact. I'm not knocking dogged determination, persistence, discipline and ingenuity. Those are all good things.

And it's good to have a thirst for knowledge. Curiosity, plain and simple, is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Learning + applying learned knowledge = evolving. There's empirical evidence that evolution is a good thing. I'm not knocking the drive that fuels the quest for understanding. Curiosity, education, knowledge...also good things.

But.

When standards of perfection, standards that perhaps are unattainable by most, and/or, more to the point, undesirable by most, well, that's when the problems commence.

Remember those kids in school who not only knew the correct answers to every question the teacher asked, but insisted on shouting out the answer every time? They seemed to have to prove they were the first kid to have the correct answer posed by the teacher. It wasn't their intelligence or studiousness that was annoying. It was their self-righteous bragging that grated on the rest of the kids in class. By the second week of the school year it went without saying those kids knew the answers, first, but, yet, they felt a need to continually prove to everyone they knew all the answers - and were the first students to do so. This type of need for validation (usually) eventually causes social ostracization from other classmates. These kids are just so annoyingly self-righteous that even at that age the other kids find them tiring and boring.

The core problem, obviously, is insecurity. Those kids who feel compelled to prove to the entire class that they are the first to know the correct answer are desperate to achieve high rank and high favor in the classroom. They're too young to realize the psychology and sociology of the situation, or that it's backfiring on them big time: That they'll be remembered as the annoying know-it-all smarty pants, and not as the revered font of all knowledge king/queen of the classroom.

Fast forward to present-day. Facebook. And. Welcome back to third grade. I didn't especially like my third grade classmates, for the record, which is probably why I've never loved Facebook.

Facebook is Heaven for all those insecure self-righteous third-graders desperate for validation who are now adults and still shouting out answers to every question, even when no question is asked. And it's an inner circle of Hell for the rest of us who are only on Facebook because we want to see occasional photos of far-flung family and friends.

Sure, it's easy enough to ignore the wall posts and nosy know-it-all opinions left in comments. Generally, I don't spend enough time on Facebook to even dig deep enough into my friends' and family's posts to read their comments. I scan for posts including new photos of children or pets or vacations and make sure no one's posted something crucial like a death notice. Every now and then I post a photo or a link to something relevant to the viewers I customize. And that's pretty much the sum-total of my Facebook time. I have a get in and get out attitude about it. I log in maybe twice a week. When I do log in, I mentally block the political rants, the bragging, the non-joke jokes, the "funny" photos and sayings that are shared so often they should come with a penicillin injection, and, I especially mentally block the spats that boil over in comments.

No problem, right? Sounds like I have a healthy handle on Facebooking, right? Yeah, I thought so, too. I don't love it, and I'd rather live without it. But, it's a fact of life and I'd like to keep in touch with family and friends, and since this is the preferred medium of communication for many of them: I deal with it.

So how, then, could someone like me get tangled up in one of the most common Facebook pitfalls? My friends. Turns out many of my friends are those self-righteous know-it-all third graders desperate for validation and determined to prove a) they know everything, b) they're always right, and c) they're better, faster, smarter and more perfect in every way than any other human on the face of the earth ever has been or ever will be.  And now that they're adults, they're also judgmental, critical and selfish.

How could someone like me friends with people like that? I'm not sure. I didn't know I was friends with people like that until Facebook happened.

I knew all of these people prior to the advent of Facebook. And yes, I knew a few of them had a few "tendencies." But they had many wonderful qualities, too, so I overlooked their determination to grow their own perfectly scented and shaped bay leaves and then fashion them into perfectly arranged bay leaf wreathes. After all, I have tried (unsuccessfully) to grow Meyer lemon trees more times than I care to admit because I want to have my own lemon juice. Hey, everyone needs a hobby. I overlooked their panicked dashes (quests) to housewares departments the day a particular perfect item in a particular perfect color or pattern by a particular manufacturer hits the shelves. Have I not, in more solvent times, taken part in a frenzied shoe sale? I overlooked their constant Googling and Wiki-ing over every infinitesimal trivial tidbit about every topic that arises in conversation. Okay, maybe I haven't overlooked it, because it's difficult to overlook the iPhones that seem to have melded to the hands of some of my friends, and it's difficult to overlook the fact that some of them rarely give eye contact anymore because they're transfixed to their iPhone screens. And it's difficult to overlook the fact that no one in their presence can speak more than two sentences without them Googling or Wiki-ing the subject of one of those two sentences and then presenting "the facts" or "the truth." Just like those annoying kids in third grade, they knew the correct answer first. Even when no question was asked. But, hey, I have been known to Google the occasional curiosity so...stones and glass houses.

I didn't know these people in third grade. But I now have a sad and disturbing hunch we would not be friends if we'd known each other back then. Facebook has given me more insight into my friends than I want. Insight into their psychoses and neuroses and issues they really need to resolve with the help of trained and licensed professionals.

I am drawn to intelligent and quirky people. My friends cover a broad spectrum of cultural, income, social, spiritual, political and professional worlds. But the common thread is that most of them possess a certain type of intelligence, the type of intelligence that fuels quick and deep wit without malice or narcissism. Many of my friends claim to have been a little offbeat, a little nerdy, and a little creative when they were kids.

I used to think, "Great! Kindred spirits! How fortunate that our paths eventually crossed!"

It never occurred to me that my friends, these kindred spirits, were those obnoxious, know-it-all, self-righteous braggart kids desperately trying to be the first to shout out answers in third grade. It never occurred to me that my friends were narcissistic bores with insecurities masquerading as delusions of grandeur regarding their intelligence. It never occurred to me my friends had superiority complexes. But now, thanks to Facebook, it appears that may be the case.

And I had no idea some of my friends were capable of the rude, callous, malicious behaviors and thoughts they publicly dole out on Facebook. I had no idea they were questing for perfection in everything. And I really had no idea that they have achieved perfection in so many areas of their lives.

But I have now been schooled at Facebook Academy.

I am now very aware that many of my friends do pretty much everything perfectly. I know this because they show and tell me, and the entire world, how perfect their home grown bay leaf wreaths are and how perfect their Nordic-themed Christmas (it was perfect because they bought authentic Scandinavian hand knitted mitten, sweater and hat shaped ornaments for their tree when they were on vacation in Scandinavia last summer - not the kind you buy at Crate and Barrel (perish the thought!)) Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't know many of my friends have become, gulp, yuppies.
And I know a certain amount of "I'm the arbiter of taste" goes along with that. I accept that.
I was already very (painfully) aware of that. It's the obvious and desperate need for validation and superiority complex aspects that eluded me until Facebook showed me the light.

I am now very aware that many of my friends have taken the whole thirst for knowledge to a disturbingly rude level. Keep in mind that I know these people. I know them well enough to know their SAT scores and college GPAs. Keep in mind that I suffered through some of their serious lapses in intelligence, common sense and judgement when they were single and dating. I know what they've done, I know their successes and their failures - and I know why and how they succeeded and failed. I know they possess above average intelligence in several arenas, and I also know they're utter, useless morons in other arenas. This is why they're my friends. They're not perfect, they're not fonts of all knowledge. They make mistakes, get it wrong now and then, and used to accept and even embrace their shortcomings. They used to be self-aware and self-effacing...and abundantly interesting. But constant access to Google and Wikipedia have turned them into humorless, boring, robotic data processors Hellbent on being the first with the trivial factoid, correcting everyone and proving they knew the definitive answer first.

It's annoying and disturbing to see this change happening to my friends in real life, and it's sadder still to have the physical evidence of the shift in their emotional paradigm on Facebook.

I refuse to engage in Facebook comment "debates." My feeling is that if I wouldn't say it to their face, I won't say it on Facebook. I never thought this would be an issue for me because my friends - and most of my family - wouldn't engage in that kind of behavior. My friends are emotionally mature. My friends are witty, kind, intelligent, people without malice. Or, well, I thought that's how they were.

Welcome to the dawn of the awareness of the ugly underbelly of friendships. Thank you, Facebook, for rolling the beast onto its back so I can see just how ugly the underbelly is. I really didn't want to know. But now I know.

There are boundaries in all relationships. No matter how close you are to another person there's always an unspoken boundary, and you both know, at least roughly, where that boundary is. People sometimes say, as a way of defining and explaining a friendships, "We tell each other everything," or "we share all our secrets." It's meant to indicate a very close friendship. But the reality is that they don't tell each other everything, they don't share every secret. They may divulge more to that friend than they divulge to other people, but, there is always at least one line that's not crossed. I've always thought one of my better qualities was the ability to gauge those boundaries. I have a sort of instinct about boundaries, and I respect them. I always thought it's what makes me a good friend - I know what the line is, and where it is, and I don't cross it out of respect for the other person. I'll go right up to the edge, sometimes, I'll go perilously close to crossing it if necessary to help a friend, but I won't cross it.

And most of my friends seemed to have the same general sense of boundaries and respect for them. At least that's what I thought until I got schooled on Facebook.

I'll just stop beating around the bush and say it: Turns out my friends are assholes.

And not just run-of-the-mill assholes. Pompous, affected, arrogant, judgmental, critical, selfish, rude, narcissistic, boring assholes with superiority complexes.

Tedious crashing bores, to summarize. 

And no, it didn't feel good to get that off my chest. It hurts to come to this realization and it really hurts to admit it. I've been avoiding admitting it for a while, a couple years, at least, but I'm now forced to acknowledge it because my friends have outed themselves on my Facebook wall.

I don't know if they were always assholes and I'm just now realizing it thanks to Facebook; or if they've recently become assholes because of nonstop access to Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook via their iPhones.

I know they were not tedious crashing bores. I would have long ago realized that. So it's just the asshole aspect that has me pondering.

Here's a recent example to illustrate what brought me to this juncture. It's one of many recent examples I could share - I see some version of this from at least two different people every time I'm on Facebook. I'm sharing this in hopes of gaining some insight and understanding. This matters to me because I love my friends and I want to sort out my feelings and learn how to deal with this. I'm in way over my head, though, and I need outside help sorting out what's happening. More importantly, I need help devising a good solution for dealing with it because my usual, "Accept, forgive, peace, love (duh)" approach isn't working.

On January 1 I posted a photo of a cute cup of hot chocolate my mother made for me and said, "Happy 2013, it's off to a great start! (thanks, Mum!)" The hot chocolate was adorned with a candy cane and cute marshmallows. I customized who could see the post. Only a few select people who a) are very close friends, and b) know my mother, and c) like things like hot chocolate, candy canes and cute marshmallows made the viewing list. We're talking seven people, two of whom are siblings. 

Within one minute of posting the photo and New Year message (and I know this because Facebook timestamps everything) a friend commented, "Is it the lighting on the photo, or the melting marshmallows, or is that hot chocolate overly light colored? It doesn't look very rich or chocolatey. It isn't that Godawful Swiss Miss crap is it?"

Happy new year to you, too.

Fortunately my mother is not on Facebook.

(For the record, to vindicate my mother, it was not Swiss Miss.)

In real life this friend isn't usually so snarky, although on Facebook I notice there's an edge to her comments. But, this is a dear friend so I chose to take no offense and chalked it up to New Year's Day morning after syndrome. If we'd been face-to-face, not Facebook-to-Facebook,  I probably would have said, "Sounds like someone needs a Bloody Mary or a couple more hours of sleep." But I refrain from making comments like that on Facebook because syntax and "of the momentness" can be issues and the hurt feelings that can result from the misunderstandings are not worth it.

My brother doesn't know this friend. Apparently he was insulted on my mother's behalf. He felt a need to defend our mother's hot chocolate making honor. Two minutes after my friend posted the comment (for a grand total of three minutes after I posted the photo and 2013 greeting) my brother commented, "I'm certain it's melting chocolate from Belgium. Our mother would never buy 'Swiss Miss crap.'"

Facebook said it was a minute after my brother's comment, but it seemed more like a nanosecond when my friend responded with, "I know Belgian chocolate and that does not look like Belgian chocolate. That looks like American hot 'cocoa' powder."

Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh. Crap.

A Facebook argument over, of all things, hot chocolate was brewing right there on my wall.

An argument over a photo of a cup of hot chocolate meant to be a cheery New Year's Day greeting.

Three minutes later another friend chimed in by adding a link to some ultra fancy Belgian website where you can order all manner of chocolate for hot chocolate purposes.

Almost immediately (one minute later) another friend commented about proper technique and equipment required to make the "best" hot chocolate and included links to sites selling the "best" equipment including frothers specifically "designed" for hot chocolate. (Who knew?!)

My brother then commented again, informing the group that my father's former colleagues in Antwerp send a holiday gift box of chocolates, including melting chocolate for hot chocolate, to my mother every year, so, yes, the chocolate used in the hot chocolate was directly from Belgium and my mother has a double boiler and chocolate pot so the proper equipment was used.

There was a brief moment of silence on the wall (whew)...and then in chimed another friend telling us that hot chocolate originated with Mayans, and the Spaniards were the first Europeans to hop on the hot chocolate craze, so the drink would have been more apt on December 21, the day the Mayan calendar ended, and Spanish chocolate, not Belgian, would be more authentic.

Nitpicking, hair splitting, silly, pointless, one-upping, competitive comments that proved nothing other than: My friends are jerks with way too much time on their hands.

Take away their Google and Wikipedia access and what would they post on Facebook? Nothing. Take away their Google and Wikipedia access and how would they obtain validation? I dunno. They'd do it however they did it before they melded with their iPhones, stopped making eye contact and started  Googling/Wiki-ing everything, I guess.

I wish it didn't extend beyond the confines of Facebook, but it does. Thanks to the aforementioned palm to iPhone meld they are increasingly "this way" in person, too. It's impossible to wistfully muse about anything because someone with an iPhone melded to their palm will Google the subject and faster than anyone else! retrieve way more information than necessary. Perhaps the problem is me: I do muse wistfully more than I probably should. I thought it was understood that my musings are not only wistful, but rhetorical. To me wistful musings are rhetorical by nature. Apparently not. If I was musing wistfully too often, it's no longer an issue because the race to Google/Wiki-ing happened so often that it became Pavlovian. Dog does something to get disciplined, dog stops the behavior. Girl muses wistfully and the iPhonehands spring into action, girl stops wistfully musing.

Access to information is great. Helpful. I love living in the information age. As a species, we should be phenomenally successful, reaching heights of brilliance unrivaled. But we're not. If we're so smart, why is the world such a mess? We have details about everything, pretty much everything ever in our history, and it's all available at our fingertips (iPhones melded to palms) so there's no excuse for any kind of failure, ever again. And yet...we're not teleporting or even using personal jet-packs. People die from a lot of forms of cancer, children and animals are abused and the Third World is still the Third World. (But hey, we have developed a hot chocolate frother!) With access to so much information, why aren't we advancing faster? Information overload? Boredom? Laziness? Stupidity? Too busy wasting time Googling hot chocolate and proving to a group of seven people that we know the origin of hot chocolate or the definitive way to create the "best" cup of hot chocolate?

I can sum it with another sad real-life example. The friend who chimed in about the Mayans creating hot chocolate used to be a serial napkin sketcher. An evening comprised of a few drinks would usually generate several Rube-Goldberg type drawings. There were some really good ideas on some of those napkins. But now, instead of a Sharpie and a napkin to create ingenious solutions, she uses a stylus to Google hot chocolate. She used to imagine creative new ideas and develop new products, now she looks up mundane details about mundane things that were created centuries ago.

My oversimplified theory, after watching my friends devolve into overly competitive, insecure obnoxious know-it-all third graders, is that we're not evolving from the information age to the innovation age fast enough. Oooops, there I go, musing wistfully again. Someone will Google "innovation age" and prove me wrong. Spare me the emails. I was merely musing. Wistfully.

I dunno.

I'm not longing for a simpler time.

I'm not advocating a disinformation age.

I'm merely wishing my friends would spend less time Googling and more time thinking for themselves.

I have a hunch that if that happened the respect and civility would return. As would the humor and eye contact.

As for Facebook, I have a theory about that, too. The lack of eye contact creates a false sense of privacy. 

But. I don't understand the "veil of anonymity" explanation for the incivility in the form of combative and/or boastful comments made on Facebook. There's no anonymity. These are friends, people I know in real life. People I knew in real life long before Mark Zuckerberg was even in high school.

Last month a friend became combative and offensive over, of all things, French Impressionism. This friend posted four comments that were rude and insulting. This friend called me stupid and suggested my stupidity is why no one will hire me. I kid you not. That's a watered down synopsis of the four comments.

What spawned this insulting, offensive tirade against me? My comment that a photo of a mutual friend's daughter looked like Renior's "Girl with a Watering Can." I said, "Awwww! She looks like the Girl with a Watering Can!" Three minutes later my friend posted on my wall, "It's not 'The Girl with a Watering Can,' it's 'A Girl with a Watering Can.' The article makes all the difference in this case. 'The' implies she is *the,* girl with a watering can, that she's special, definitive, whereas 'a' implies that she's just a random girl with a watering can." Links to curator's notes on Renior's painting were included.

Thinking my friend was surely joking, I commented, "Ah yes, there is all the difference. But [our friend's daughter] looks definitively Renior in that photo, n'est-ce pas?"

Yadda yadda yadda I was lambasted and called stupid, and it was suggested that my stupidity is standing in the way of gainful employment. The topic of Renior or his paintings or even the proper use of articles hasn't come up on any job applications or during any interviews, but somehow this is apparently the root cause of my unemployment. I'm obviously too stupid to figure out how and why.

That was five weeks ago and no apology has been issued, but I've long since forgiven my friend for the insults. I'm rising above, not holding grudges, all that. The only person who looks bad in all this is my friend, who comes off looking like there's a need for medication and intense therapy. I could delete the comments to protect my friend's reputation. And eventually I probably will. But for now I keep the offensive, know-it-all comments posted as a reminder that something evil is afoot amongst otherwise pleasant, civil, kind people. I also haven't deleted the comments because I hope, desperately, that my friend will see her comments for what they are and realize how obnoxious, hurtful, narcissistic, superior, affected and rude she's become. I fantasize about the moment she stops feverishly Googling trivial, inconsequential bits of information, lifts her gaze from her iPhone, looks me in the eyes and apologizes.

I suspect it won't happen. I think she's too far gone. And that makes me really sad because she used to be an interesting, funny, aware, creative and decent human being. But it also makes me question how well I knew her. Has she always been this insulting, pompous, self-righteous, narcissistic and insecure and I just didn't notice because the cruel side of her personality wasn't spelled out and directed at me? Did I need Facebook to lift the veil that hid my friends' true personalities? Yikes. I hope not. These are difficult life lessons and it pains me to think that something as silly as Facebook is the conduit.

11:47 PM

 
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