With trying to sound as nice as humanly possible, prefacing that I'm sincerely not trying to be a complete douche-bag and being as gentle as possible in the only way I know:
If you write on your Facebook Update that your weight has become the size of a starving child in a third world country and you post a comment on the same update that you have no food?
GET OFF THE FUCKING COMPUTER, SELL IT AND BUY SOME FOOD. Or at the very least use the phone you are using to post that to GPS Map out where the closest Food Bank is.
I guess I'm writing a blog about this because this particular instance in my own family that happened this week until I wanted to figure out how to preface it. I give this Onion Article the credit.
It was one of those defining moments (after I, for the second time since being on Facebook...de-friended one of my own family members) where I realized something:
Your Facebook is an extension of your deeply seated personal problems.
It only makes those issues worse when you have led a life where you have completely disconnected yourself from people by being relatively violent and having a few mental ailments. If you don't see a lot of people face to face after those bouts of real life situations? You probably will slowly lose the people you virtually talk to online.
I noticed this specifically with this family member, especially when the tab "Family" was created on the left hand side of the screen on Facebook. What your family reads and does is an extension of just about everything they have ever been while you were growing up in their presence.
A Facebook Page Full of Win!
My eldest sister and myself are the closet to the type of ironic snarky humor with just a huge dose of political and social awareness. I see posts in the Family Section where she has posted links to very funny pictures of things or very serious concerns about the current election. She will also post like I do: Family vacations. Pictures of her grandchild or when her grown children do something wonderful. It's a fun ride online with my sister Angel. Virtually all I can do is hit like. Then I call and tell her on the phone how much I like.
Which, will always be more interactive than any Facebook Like, Twitter Retweet or even a text: A phone call. Extra points for an actual plane ride and stay where she lives in Washington State.
Her Facebook Page is exactly like her personality: A life full of win!
A Facebook Page of Begging: Exactly what you did before Facebook
Meanwhile all is not too well with the other family member on her wall, and yet that is exactly par for the course in real life.
It's a page of begging.
Before Facebook came about and we all lived in one city it was all about the "Show up on your doorstep" in person beg. Generally accompanied by some horrible image. Disheveled clothes. Blaming someone else for why she is in the situation she is in....then the inevitable plea of money. And never big money like say 10,000.00 or something of that nature.
Always ridiculously small and always for something that makes you feel if you do not give her that money you are the biggest dickhead family member to walk the face of the planet:
Can I have 20 dollars to buy some toilet tissue and toothpaste?
Can I have ten dollars to buy a bus pass?
You wouldn't happen to have an extra 30 dollars to buy some diapers for the baby?
If you told her she needed to get the help she needed in anyway shape or form she'd yell at you. "Well you THINK YOU ARE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE AND YOU THINK I'M WORTHLESS"
Of course this is part of one of the many social and mental diseases that burdens this woman. You can never convince someone who is mentally unstable that you love them and the only reason you are no longer helping because you are throwing money at the problem instead of giving them what they need: Toilet tissue and toothpaste. A bus pass. Food and diapers.
The In Person Beg or "The Starkey and Hutch in person beg of 1987"
When we all lived in one city together and you offered those items instead of money there was never yelling. But there was a sheer look of disappointment in her face. That look of "Oh shit. I really don't want food, clothes, diapers and toothpaste. I actually want the thirty dollars"
This is before Facebook and Twitter. In person. It was never good. Ever. It made you want to defriend and block your door from this person. You wished you had in real life "Privacy Settings" where you could just have your "Friends" see your address and phone number.
One of the last in person crazy begs when we all lived in one city was her showing up at the comic book store my husband and I owned in Chicago with some man who was (if you wish to be stereotypical) the “Not Huggy Bear, but the pimp they thwart” in Starsky & Hutch. Guy was straight out of Central Casting standing behind my sister. She looked a mess. She came into the store on a Thursday and with this man standing behind her...started going on about how my eldest sister somehow owed her money and she came “All The way to the North Side” to ask if I could loan her fifty dollars.
Right. I had just put all the main money in an envelope to take to the bank as if you are an old school comic book nerd...New book day was Thursdays and our biggest day. I opened up the cash register and pointed inside to show it was empty (with nearly a thousand dollars underneath the tray) and told her “We literally have no money right now. This is one of our slowest days”
Just wanting to get evil pimp out of store.
I lied my ass off. Not to get her out of the store, but to get Central Casting Starsky & Hutch evil dude out of the store. They left. I called my mother and told her what had occurred to get her help. The following day I get a phone call (before caller I.D.) at the store from her. She started yelling at me on the phone calling me a fat bitch, a whore and then topped it by saying she was going to sell her then first born baby on the black market.
I told her: “And all the more reason for you to get some severe help. Don’t call here again”
In Facebook terms: Hit reply. Go to her page. Hit unfriend. Go to Privacy Settings on Facebook. Click Block. Type in her name. Hit enter.
I called my eldest sister on the phone after that call to tell her what was going on and of course, she did not owe her anything. She had though come by the same day to ask for money of which she told her she did not have anything.
1987 Begging in person and a phone. You never thought it could get any worse.
When it gets worse: Email Begging
As time went on (and our family members went about their lives and moved to different places around the country) technology started creeping up on us. You no longer had to be in person to get a beg from this family member.
Oh no. Outside of the phone there were emails. Emails labeled with Begging Subject Headers:
The Begging Headers if you need a ratio of what is being begged for: 85% Bus Pass (that 85 broken down to 90% for kids 10% for her) 10% food and five percent Toiletries. always included as Toilet tissue, toothpaste and toothbrushes. I swear to god. If she actually spent the money on all the toothbrushes she asked for, one would assume right now she could be an orthodontist.
In every one there is a train of trying to start of nice...but in a very dire straight. Generally asking to wire 20 or 30 dollars on something like MoneyGram. The emails always inevitably having myself (as a savvy tech person) saying "You know the bus service there is online. I can buy you a bus pass and have it mailed there" or "You know your local grocery store is online. I can set up an account...pick out some essential items and have them delivered to you..."
As the email trail inevitably disintegrates...you know there is her sitting with an angry disappointed look with a return email that always reads: "I don't think you can do that" or "I won't be at the house"
In other words: "I really don't want these things. I just want the money"
God forbid you send some links to local food banks and services to get her assistance immediately when you just do not have that 30 dollars that will cost you actually 50 dollars to money transfer:
A separate email saying you in caps "Well you THINK YOU ARE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE AND YOU THINK I'M WORTHLESS, YOU BITCH"
Right. How does Windows Mail let you block incoming emails? Wait. If she is so destitute...how is she emailing me?
The Dysfunctional Social Networking: Begging in 140 Characters.
Every technology for communications really does not change the mindset of how you communicate in my opinion and completely against popular belief. Actually it only heightens or exacerbates the best and worst qualities of communication.
When I get a Facebook Invite to a party or gathering around this time of the year for Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas with an immediate link to the address, that I can in turn Google on my Acer and then use as a GPS to get there...while I can DM the host and ask what kind of wine they like...then type in where I can find the closet liquor store to buy a nice bottle of wine and then in turn Foursquare that awesome place and take a picture of the bottle of wine I got to show not only what I'm doing for snicks and grins...but also inform my host I'm about to be there really super soon?
I think to myself: FUCK! TECHNOLOGY NOW ROCKS HARD! Find a gas station getting lost! Screw that! Google Maps! WHERE AM I??
The worst part of yourself can actually get help from technology. If you correctly use it as such. Or it becomes (like an Atlas Map) something that falls in-between the front two chairs of your car and you end up getting into an accident while you are trying to drive while retrieving it.
When I can get angry enough to make a petition (or sign one) on something from my eldest sister who posted it on her Facebook Wall?
I think to myself: This is the best part of online technology: Real life heightened to the thousand to help people in need.
Or...up until this week I got to see this in my Family Tab on Facebook: Virtual Begging from that family member.
This family member had taken it upon herself to take the worst parts of herself and apply it to virtual games. Games like Farmville and other like it that begs for things. Postings upon postings late at night of her begging for virtual kitchen utensils, virtual food and the saddest of them all: Virtual Freedom.
Badly Drawn Cartoon Image of Constitution
(in cartoon font) I NEED FREEDOM
(In equally cartoony font) I need the right to live free. Please give me an amendment.
An inundated page of online Facebook begging virtual games generally played by children, this family member plays. Posted usually late at night.
This week she decided to apply the worst part of herself on Facebook to a status update. Inbetween all the virtual begging she actually posted a status update. One of sheer tragedy. One that cries for help and attention. One that will be surely seen by the family members who have once again given her the benefit of the doubt and let her back into some part of their lives after not answering phone calls and blocking emails.
I weigh 92 pounds! WOW!
It is certainly an attention grabbing Status Update.
She is 5 foot 4ish or so and weighs ninety two pounds. It is a shocking Status update. Even more so that she interrupted her virtual game begging to write this.
Even as the most savvy of Facebook users and someone who prides herself on being pretty savvy. I got suckered into doing the worst thing one can do on a Facebook Status post like this.
I commented. Because no matter how much she begs and is this sort of crazy? I still love her and worry about her. Worst mistake in the world. It feeds the begging.
Me: Please *eat something*
Family Member: no food.
Facebook Personal Messages writing that they think you think they are a waste...will never be as effective as saying you are going to sell your children on the phone to borrow money.
ahnnnd...here we go. I took the bait, and now I'm snagged on the pole. Not only that...so is anyone on her Facebook page. By feeding into her begging, this family member officially has put out into the electronic world for all the people associated with her and in newsfeeds that my close friends can also see...that she is starving herself to near death because she has "No food"
...and yet, she can post all of this on Facebook instead of heading to say...someplace where the food might be.
I'm now angry at her. Angry at her for over nearly fifty years of her life being in a constant state of begging in one technology form or another.
So I take it to messaging. It is now for all purposes an email from 1992:
* Me writing its a cry for help on Facebook...you have found someway to post this and there is something really wrong with that. Someone needed to tell her that. Link to where you can find food immediately
* Her response that ignores link says she has no money and only food stamps, then writes the equivelant of saying everyone thinks she is worthless to imply guilt and sympathy.
My favorite line at the end of this F.B. Personal Message was. "I apologize me weighing 92lbs again makes you feel like I am a waste but WHAT ELSE IS NEW.
Well, gosh. I guess your children are too old to use the "Sell to the black market crazy guilt" thing. I guess all that is left is "Trying to make you feel guilty by saying you think I'm worthless crazy guilt" thing.
I guess personally losing all this weight also left her out of calling me a fat bitch. Then again...I guess everyone would be considered a fat bitch when you have starved yourself down to ninety two pounds.
It all sounds callous. But this is decades of this. Decades of the worst parts of her.
Now in different formats of high end technology.
Defriending A Family Member on Facebook Number 2: Electric Boogaloo
I sat at my computer, reading this. My relatively thin Toshiba laptop with the even thinner iPod Touch that still had not updated at that point to the new iOS 6 yet plugged into it. I look at all this technology around me: The Blue Mic I use to upload voice overs on a ISDN. The wireless printer in front of me that can print out professional looking headshots on actual high end photo paper. The treadmill that I (if I wanted to) can buy a wireless thing called iFit and track my progression...but instead plug my iPod Touch into my iGreen Charger and use Lolo Beatburn that I got out of the App Store loaded and saved in my iTunes for five bucks.
And I'm staring at my Facebook at a personal F.B. Message from a woman who has found every technology that has been created since she could use technology to beg for thirty dollars for food and toothpaste.
Except this time I think she has disconnected herself so much from everyone, I think she actually needs it. Unfortunately she really thinks everyone she has gotten anything from thinks she is worthless. A waste.
She is so amazingly wrong. Because if I thought she was worthless...I would have just given her money instead of trying to find venues to help her.
I lost it. For the first time I will finally write back the thing I have been wanting to say since the moment she walked into my comic book store asking for money:
You are making excuses. What is is even worse is this: "I apologize me weighing 92lbs again makes you feel like I am a waste but what else is new"
This has always been your problem. Always HAS BEEN.
You know what? How DARE you think this. HOW. DARE. YOU. This is again something not new: You going through this phase thinking everyone thinks you are worthless.
*you made yourself ninety two pounds* No one else. And, it is a cry for help. You are LYING TO YOURSELF AGAIN.
Go. To. The food Bank. Have your pity party on Facebook. I'm officially done with seeing this on my news feeds.
Hit reply. Go to her page. Hit unfriend. Go to Privacy Settings on Facebook. Click Block. Type in her name. Hit enter.
Holy shit. I wish they had this service in 1987.
I head to the Family Tab on Facebook. As though it was internet magic...every virtual begging post has magically vanished. All the games she plays online late at night on whatever device she is using to do as such? Gone.
When things go communication wacky go back to what you know: A landline phone and a sister call.
A tinge of extreme guilt once again consumes me. She is of course family. That goes away in about an hour that settles into a common mode that has been a part of this discourse with her as long as I can humanly remember: Jesus. I need to call my eldest sister.
And this is where it all comes back to the best technology that has ever been created when you can not see someone in person: A phone. A simple landline phone that with all the technology I have, I *still have a landline phone*.
In my home I have several phones. Two of them are classic style phones. One phone you would see on the office desk of Spade and Archer from Maltese Falcon. The other a candlestick phone from the 20's.
So. Why not. I called my sister to tell her what was going on. On that candlestick phone.
She informs me that she could be using a library computer to send out these begging Facebook posts. This could be true until you realize that the local library is not open at 2am in the morning where you can read the virtual online begging cartoons.
Then it also begs the next obvious question: If she can go to the library to get online to beg for help, wouldn't it be easier to go to the places that offer assistance and get the help or at least "GET ONLINE" to those places that offer help?
It was then decided that the only people that could really help her are the people who are willing to actually show up at her doorstep to physically help her out. The ones that can physically get to her and bring her actual food....and toothpaste...and bus passes.
This was what was decided by two people who love to be on Facebook and post our lives in fun snippets of pictures and links.
After what both of us has gone through with this family member (My eldest sister? What she has gone through with this family member seems like "Eternity of Horrible Times Two") it turns out that a 1987 approach of showing up and having an immediate family with the things she needs only to see that look of quiet disappointment from her hoping it would be cash instead...is possibly the best thing to happen.
All of this decided while I was talking on my landline candlestick phone. Then a change of topic about her new amazing buisness in Washington State. That business that I liked on Facebook.
A life so full of win. That is my eldest sister.
Sometimes making the right choices does not need a DM message in 140 characters or less...or a text message...or even a fuzzy image of using FaceTime (if people *actually use that*)
Sometimes you just need a candlestick phone and a knock on a door.
Technology never changes a personality. It only brings out who you really are for everyone to see. When you find yourself telling people you are starving online? There is nothing at all wrong with the technology. Technology did not change you.
There has always been something wrong with you and a Facebook Status will never change that.
Causes Shaun Landry Supports
The Alzheimer's Foundation, NAACP, Breast Cancer Foundation, Gilda's Club.