The first time I heard the end of the world attributed to social media, was from a grouchy old man in a barbershop. He was at least in his seventies and bragged about his track record of never answering his rarely charged flip-phone.
I mistakenly – and respectfully – dismissed his claims. But, golly gee, it turns out the surly senior was quite the soothsayer.
And it’s not because of the hordes of people who have suddenly gained courage behind the safety of their keyboards. Neither is it the unruly political discourse over the mass media’s issue du jour. Not even the slew of unending food photos (of which I’m guilty of posting) has contributed to the earth’s doom and gloom to the level of the real culprit.
It’s T.M.I. people. (That stands for too much information for that handful of people who still speak an actual language.)
Just during the past week alone, my social media timelines have announced patients of high blood pressure, heart stents, tonsils and stomach issues that were due to alleged food poisoning at the local Ground Round.
But that’s not all.
I’ve been subjected to countless photos of middle-aged people trying to recapture the bygone popularity of their high school years. Of course, they’ve had plenty of surgeries since the days of honest-to-goodness genetics and dietetic choices. And they now have the available credit for cheap blingy sandals and those tiny trite stick-ons upon their freshly pedicured toes.
None of us are fooled. We know you’re having hot spells … and that you’ve just gone through your most recent divorce. Why try to hide it? There are more than a few of us who are right there with you at the free blood pressure machine at the drug store. The whole hot mess is funny — and sad, at the same time.
I understand the need to tell one’s story. After all, I’ve shared many love letters to my wife, recipes from long-gone ancestors and complaint letters about my children being forced to sell for the school PTA.
But I’ve never felt compelled to mention that I had ‘bubble gut’ in the process. Neither have I caved and revealed the truth about the boil on my inner thigh. For the record, I’m not claiming any such intestinal or dermal disorder now, but would it bother you if I did?
Based on what I’ve witnessed on social media, I just don’t think most people would be affected.
So, you made your mom’s meatloaf and took a picture. Fantastic. But why did you feel obliged to mention that your dog left two piles on your doorstep after inhaling the leftovers?
Now, about your keyboard courage and your politics…
How has that worked out for you? Have you convinced anyone from the other side? And, would you say that in person? Let’s be honest here, folks … as honest as your bad day at work or your 20th low-light selfie in three days.
While we’re at it if I were to see you in person and ask about you, would you really tell me about the migraines that leave you with just enough energy to update your social media status? Would you really have the nerve to detail your most recent root canal? Or the flesh-eating bacteria that attacked your left elbow after a weekend trip to the beach?
Turns out that old man was right. He came from an era when people didn’t share information that involves the bowels of any mammal … or the details of one’s stomach virus.
We are so doomed.
And, for the record, I’m in agreement with one all-to-common social media dispatch: I’m also sick of you being sick. Take a pill already. Go outside and get your steps in, for crying out loud.
Lord, take me home. Please.