Well, I have finally taken the proverbial plunge and have become a full-fledged citizen of Facebook after three or four years with a completely dormant page. (I set it up then at the urging of someone who just wanted me to see something there, but I had done absolutely nothing with it since.) I’ve watched my wife have lots of fun with Facebook over the last few months, but – as with Sudoku – had absolutely no interest in doing it myself. And God bless her soul, she had better things to do than nag me about it.
But evidently my brother Steve had nothing better to do than engage in a 24/7 full-bore lobbying siege in the hopes of getting me Facebooked once and for all. Well no, it wasn’t quite 24/7, but it getting to the point where every one of our phone conversations would include one more story about how my brother had managed to reconnect with his 7th grade math teacher’s dentist. Well no, it wasn’t reconnections as obscure as that- in fact, Steve was managing to reconnect with friends from high school and earlier – and even classmates of mine. . . and in some cases we’re talking about people he had not had contact with in decades. But after awhile, it seemed like my brother had reconnected with half the citizens of the western hemisphere, and all through the wonders of Facebook. And I suppose for awhile I was becoming one of those crotchety old guys who mightily resists switching from a black and white TV to color for no other reason than to be stubborn about it and to spit at an overwhelming cultural fad.
And then at some point, it becomes clear to even the biggest crabs that color TV is not a fad – it’s an inescapable aspect of the modern world – and that black and white TV has gone the way of the butter churn. And I would like to say that at some point, the scales fell from my eyes and I came to realize that Facebook was not a passing fad but something that was here to stay, and that it made enormous sense for me to become part of it.
The truth, however, is that I joined up so my brother would quit yammering about it.
And now I must admit that my brother was rrrrrrrrrr about Facebook. I’m referring here to a little running gag in the Berg household. Whenever Kathy and I have a disagreement about something (which happens once every fifteen years or so – wink, wink) the person who turns out to have been wrong (if it’s one of those situations where matters become that clear) tells the other person “you were rrrrrrrrrr,” in which we sort of choke of the “r” sound and fail to finish the word “right.”
And I say again that my brother Steve was rrrrrrrrrr about Facebook. It is such a fun way to reach back into one’s past and find people with whom you had lost all contact – and also a way in turn to be reached. So I find myself corresponding with classmates from Luther that I have not seen or had any contact with since graduation back in 1982. But beyond the contacts made with friends of the rather distant past, there has also been the fun of finding easier connection with relatives such as my cousins, the “Northern Bergs,” who tend to be as diligent in their snail mail correspondence as we Southern Bergs are. But Facebook had made it so much more doable for us to be in touch beyond the proverbial Christmas Letter and I am grateful. Stirred into the mix are present friends from Racine and Kenosha, recent Carthage alumni, and a few present-day Carthage students. . . an intriguing mix of past and present which makes Facebook even more interesting than I had ever dreamt possible.
And thus far, I have resisted the urge to sit transfixed in front of our laptop until 2 in the morning, writing on walls and giving constant updates on my every move, as if anyone could possibly care. (“1:45am- I am reapplying Ben Gay to my right shoulder.”) But I can certainly understand how one gets addicted to this. And towards that end, I should probably be grateful that the computers at Gateway (where WGTD is located) do not allow connection to Facebook or anything like it. That would have been a little bit too handy. So this will be a relatively modest part of my life, but a part of my life which I will thoroughly enjoy- and for which I’m thankful – and it’s all because of my brother and his annoying persistence. But he was rrrrrrrrrr.