Thursday, 4 February 2016


Twenty-first Century Boy

I’ve had to dip my toe into the water of social media. It’s been warm and welcoming, a bit like a busy hot tub at a resort. A few years ago my friends stopped telephoning me. They said they’d all moved on to texting. To keep up I arranged for a personal e-mail address. My friends did not e-mail me. In an effort to stay in touch, I joined Facebook last week. I sent my friends ‘friend requests.’ Their digital silence must have something to do with our unreliable router.

While navigating the brave new world of Facebook I figured out how to follow the Montreal Canadiens, the Who, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. I feel a tight connection to these fellow Facebookers as they’ve been incredibly inclusive, sending me an insane amount of breathless updates I absolutely need to know about in the instant. I matter. I now belong to four tribes and it’s increasingly obvious to me that my real life friends have perhaps somehow alienated themselves from me. Maybe I’ve outgrown them, as you do. I mean, Springsteen and me, we’re like this now; after all he graciously supplied the titles of my two novels. I move in different circles, higher echelons since last Tuesday, thanks to Facebook.

The fun I have with Facebook is endless. I send messages from the desktop in the den to Ann’s iPhone while she practices her violin in the next room: ‘I’m on Facebook in the den (smiley emoticon thingy). What’s for dinner? Can you bring me a beer?’ If our relationship breaks down it will never be over a failure to communicate.

The glorious expansion of my virtual personality was prompted in part by Ann’s desire to upgrade her iPhone 4. She ultimately decided on the iPhone 8T, designed in California and manufactured in China. The fellow managing the pawn shop seemed reputable and knowledgeable enough. Ann haggled hard and he threw a couple of mini iPad 2s into the deal. The latest and the greatest, he swore. I chose the manly slate grey one as my personal device. The new technology is remarkably intuitive. You don’t actually have to pound the screen like the keyboard of a Smith-Corona.

Winter nights are long here in Edmonton. Ann and I play a lot of Scrabble. Well, we used to. I don’t lose anymore because I’m too busy creeping the app store, getting stuff for free. I’ve downloaded the official Montreal Canadiens app, the official Who 3-D Immersive app and the Rolling Stones app because it’s just cool having their tongue logo on screen.

The iPad has a camera too. I’ve never owned a camera in my life. Want a picture of the boys, our sibling tabbies Scamp and Mungo? I’ve got a thousand now. They’re so cute. I need to figure out how to post them on Facebook because I’m sure that Mick and Keith, P.K. and Carey, and Pete and Roger want to see them. I know it; we’re all close friends.


  1. Ok. Now you need an Instagram account to link to your Facebook page! And no.... You don't get a little brown piece of hash when you sign up for Instagram despite the name....

  2. 28 grams to an ounce, as I recall.