Recently, there have been a few things I’ve wanted to say to some of my Facebook friends but haven’t been able to, because of technical or other issues with the Facebook framework. Here are some examples.
“I’m happy for you, but I don’t care who else is happy for you”. This happens to me all the time — someone posts a Facebook update announcing a pregnancy, birth, graduation, or other news, and I foolishly click the “like” button or add a “Congrats!” comment. And then, for the rest of the day, I get a constant barrage of Facebook notifications. I click on each one expecting lavish praise for my latest astute observation that my car is dirty or that bees exist, only to have my hopes dashed when I realize it’s yet another person adding a “Congrats!” comment of their own.
“I enjoy reading the quotes from your 2-year-old. A blog consisting of your conversations with her would be much more amusing than Shit My Dad Says“. I mean this as a genuine compliment, but I can’t say it, because I can’t decide what version of the word “shit” to use. Should I just write it out? That’s what I’d normally do, but I think this person has family members on Facebook, and I don’t know whether they’d be offended by seeing that kind of language associated with a cute story about their grandchild. So I decide to play it safe and blank out some of the letters.
But which ones? To avoid offending the hypothetical grandparents, I decide I should blank out as many letters as possible, but to keep it understandable, I probably need to keep the S. I write “S***”, but that looks wrong, somehow — probably because in every wildcarding system I’m familiar with, having three * characters next to each other is redundant. So then I change it to “S…” and feel really clever, because this is a valid regular expression for a 4-letter word starting with S, but if you don’t know that, it looks like an S followed by an ellipsis, which also works. So of course I add a sentence to my comment explaining all this, because if I don’t, someone might fail to notice how clever I am.
At this point, I’m ready to hit the “comment” button and get on with my life. But first, I read the whole thing over and notice that so much time has passed that I have to change “2-year-old” to “3-year-old” in the first sentence. And then it occurs to me that someone who doesn’t know what a “regular expression” is might not realize it’s a technical term, so I decide to abbreviate it to regex. Or regexp. I can never decide. Eventually, I realize that by the time I’ve decided what wording to use, the child in question will have grown up and will probably be publishing her own version of Shit My Dad Says, or possibly Shit My Dad’s Weird Friend Thought About Saying But Didn’t, For Which We’re All Grateful (I’m not entirely sure how that one would work, actually, but I’m sure it would be very popular).
Note to any of my Facebook friends who may be reading this: yes, of course the adorable child I’m referring to is yours. Who else would it be? If the ages and/or genders don’t match up perfectly, it’s because I’m trying to protect your privacy. And your child’s. Because someone has to think of the children.