2009-11-07 / News

Lighten up: My digital addiction

By Dawn Weber

I think I have a problem.

Alcohol, you ask? Smoking the crack-pipe? Partaking in those West Virginia slot machines, you wonder?

No, nope - and only occasionally.

About the only thing that‘s ‘smoking’ around here is my laptop, after I’ve had it ‘cracked’ open for hours, logged on to my latest addiction, Facebook. Or, as I now call it, Crackbook.

I’m certainly not alone. Facebook recently announced a membership of 300 million fellow addicts, a statistic almost as large as the United States population.

Among these you’ll see your childhood friends, grade school, high school and college friends. Friends from old jobs, new jobs, current jobs and even crappy old McDonald’s jobs. They’re all on ‘’FB,’’ just waiting for you to comment on their thoughts and pictures of their weddings, kids and dogs.

Yes, I love the site. But there’s a whole list of neglected creatures around our place - husband, hamster, kids, crabs (don’t ask!) - who wish Crackbook didn’t exist. That’s because, while logged on, I get silly requests. Like these:

Son (age 6): Mommy, I’m hungry. Can you fix me something for lunch?

Me (eyes on the screen): Sure honey, you can go to Evan’s house. What time are you leaving?

Son: But Mom, that’s not what I said. I want something to eat. Can you make me a Hot Pocket?

Me: Well, what time are they picking you up?

Son: Can’t you hear me? I said I’m HUNGRY!

Me (eyes still glued to laptop screen): There’s no need to yell, I said you could go! If you need some money, it’s in my purse!

Son (in weak voice): Mommy please, I’m getting dizzy... so....weak...

(Thunk.)

Me: OK! Bye honey! Have fun! Tell Evan’s Mom to post on Facebook about what time she wants me to pick you up!

Thanks to, er, little interactions like that one, the whole family now does everything possible to sabotage my little virtual vice. Threats to cut Internet service, throw my laptop out the door…even the cats get in on the sabotage by crawling on the computer and deleting chats with my FB-friends.

Fun fact: cats really do land on their feet. No matter how far they’re thrown.

Hey - at least it’s an intellectual addiction. I can post insightful, original thoughts like ‘‘Work sucks!’’ and ‘‘Can’t wait for the weekend!’’

Then, my Facebook friends can leave creative comments like ‘‘I agree!” and ‘‘Me too!’’ You can’t beat this type of meaningful dialogue.

But what really caused my Crackbook-addiction was the re-discovery of all kinds of old friends, sharing their current lives on my screen.

There, amongst the millions of pictures, were faces from my youth. People I hadn’t seen in decades. Faces like mine, with a few more wrinkles. Less big 80s hair, here and there some gray hair. Yet somehow the same as ever.

Seems to me they should still be kids. Standing around bonfires with me, wearing jean jackets and causing a little too much trouble on the weekends. Biggest hopes? Enough gas money to make it to Friday-night football games.

But how do you like them now? They are lawyers, carpenters, teachers, supervisors, police officers, railroad workers, business bankers and business owners. They are moms, dads, store managers, medical professionals, registered nurses, and rape crisis counselors. Many of them save lives.

One of my craziest old buddies, Mark - with whom I raised much, um, Hades - is now the Head Coach of his son’s soccer team. My other old friend Ron, host of the World’s Best 80s Keg Parties, now serves as president of his local F.O.P.

This? Right here? Is important, educational information, people! Don’t tell me I’m wasting my time…

So there. The next time my family comes to me asking silly questions, making threats to my Crackbook and my Dell, they’ll know that I’m learning vital historical facts and enriching my life with old friends.

In a world where technology increasingly isolates, it’s fabulous to find pixels pulling us together. I highly recommend this addiction.

Isn’t that right, Son? Son?! Hey Levi, where did you go….?!!

Dawn Weber is a Brownsville wife and mother of two pre-teens who commutes daily to Columbus for her full-time job.

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