Saturday, April 2, 2011

Who, me?

by Robert Jevne

Exclusivity is nothing new. Even before Facebook made it so easy to friend and unfriend everyone to the point of being meaningless, people had lists. I had a list, you had a list, everybody had a list. A list of who was invited and who was not. That much hasn’t changed. Being exclusionary is a part of human nature not just the nature of a program. Luckily, the advent of Facebook didn’t exclude the possibility of making real friends, or unmaking them and that is still very personal. Before Facebook, exclusivity wasn’t something people liked to admit to so, by convention, it was a mental list. Not something you would ever write down or show off in any way as we do now and maybe because it was clothed in secrecy, exclusion was used without mercy when someone “acted out” one too many times. “Acting out” was the equivalent of a You-tube rant except in person and granted, it usually didn’t come with a barrage of death threats from around the world or the need to drop out of UCLA or off the face of the planet when it went viral but it had its own dangers. It meant you might make somebody’s list. Somebody’s mental list. Then there you were. You - YOU were the unwelcome guest. And word spread like wildfire which is about as fast as dial-up. You’d find yourself showing up at a “friend’s” party even a “friend of a friend’s” party only to discover face to face that YOU were the one who didn’t belong there. You found out right then and there in front of all those people gathered in a tribal clump on the conversational sofas. You could see it on their faces and you, with barely one foot over the thresh-hold, before you could even muster the wherewithal to turn and run, you had to face up to the fact that it was YOU, of all people, who no longer belonged, and you had no choice but to hold your chin up and forge on with a drink and maybe a joke or two and another drink and maybe some imitations. People loved your imitations and your spontaneous break-dancing antics as well as your really loud singing replete with dramatic gestures. And the ladies loved seeing your totally awesome biceps and that pentagram you had tattooed on you chest when you were thirteen by that nice lady named Sharon who insisted you call her “Honey” and her boyfriend Eric who was a real live clown and who helped keep you from squirming. Now, he was strong. And the next thing you knew you were on a roll. You were turning this whole thing around. They were eating it up. The people were loving it. Loving YOU. You were in, baby. You were in like Flint.

Do you ever wonder what happened to that group of friends? You haven’t seen them in a month of Sundays. You should really give them a call - see what’s going on. God, those were good times, great times. Weren’t they?

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