Twas The Night Before Camp

Twas the night before camp,

and all through the state,
all the counselors were panicked,
as they readied in haste.

Another trip to Wal-Mart,
For toilietries and snacks,
For shaving cream and SHAVING CREAM?
I forgot. Must go back.

Their camper kids were packing,
and singing a song,
“We’re going to camp tomorrow
No baths all week long!”

Though they packed no underwear,
And only three shirts.
They did pack their candy,
And three socks covered in dirt.

The counselors made ready,
with chairs and radios,
And a t-shirt for tie dye (?)
Arrgh, to Wal-Mart again go.

As they pondered the heat,
that awaited next week,
They considered the kids,
that with smiles they would greet.

What a great week awaits,
full of singing and talking,
of study and praying,
and laughter and walking (lots of walking!).

Yes, there will be work,
and sweating off pounds,
and kids’ screaming voices,
that are hard to calm down.

As they finish their packing,
and re-packing for the kids,
They load up the car,
For the long Saturday trip.

One last night in the peace,
and quiet in their room,
in a bed full of comfort,
by a clean bathroom.

A thought comes to them,
at the end of this day,
“One more thing forgot,
at least Wal-Mart’s on the way.”

5 Things That Happened When I Quit Personal Social Media

5 Things That Happened When I Quit Personal Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Google+. I had them all and was very active. I had hundreds of Facebook friends from many places I’ve lived or other interactions. I built Facebook pages, one with over 1,000 followers and growing.

Last spring I quit all but Twitter and over the summer I dumped it as well. It started in January when I started logging in less, took the apps off of my iPhone, and drifted away. In the spring, I just deleted the accounts. They said my accounts would be inactive but I went nuclear and immediately and irrevocably killed them.

The reaction

Want to have fun with your friends? Casually mention at a gathering that you have quit social media. Log the answers. I didn’t make a big deal about it, post a set of theses on a church door, clink dinner glasses, or any type of announcement. When someone would ask if I saw something on Facebook I’d have to confess.

Was I making a statement? What made me mad? Did I know I could use filters and lists to manage the flow? Was it consuming my time to the point I had health and hygiene issues? Did I not care what was going on in other people’s lives? Was I going off the grid? Did I need a psychiatrist? Was I depressed? I had many questions about my digicide.

Yes I knew (and wrote about) lists, used tools to manage Twitter, and didn’t feel overwhelmed or that I was wasting time. My mental state is a completely different matter for another post. I just quit. I had other ways to stay inTelevision and internet production technology concept touch with close friends and family and was content with learning the events of other people’s lives in less than real time. I did not fear missing out and still managed to catch the big news. It was similar to how I used to enjoy playing golf, until I didn’t. I didn’t dislike social media (or golf), and I might get back in. I just don’t do it anymore. But I’ve learned some things in the process.

The five

  1. People become very apologetic and start justifying their social media use when you say you’ve quit. By far the funniest thing is to tell someone you’ve quit Facebook and hear them sheepishly say that they really don’t care much for it either and, were it not for distant friends or family on it, they’d quit too. Or they might defend that there is a lot of foolish mess and drama but some good on it. On one occasion I had to stop someone, telling them that I didn’t say I disliked it, I just wasn’t on it anymore. Had I known this would happen I might have quit earlier for pure entertainment purposes.
  2. You have funny or profound thoughts that you can only share with people physically around you, or the dog. Twitter and Facebook were great outlets for sharing thoughts with the world. Quit them, have a funny observation, then realize you have few people to share it with (our Yorkie has a great sense of humor). You know this thought would be liked and probably shared but you have to enjoy it yourself or share it with a small audience, some who groan and roll their eyes. It’s almost not worth thinking anymore. Yet, less than 10 years ago we had thoughts and opinions we could not share with our audience because we didn’t have one. And we were ok with that.
  3. You can’t humblebrag effectively without social media. I was asked to speak at a prestigious event, received recognition at work, participated in a charitable event, and otherwise honored. Can I fully enjoy the moment if I can’t post about it? I’ve missed the opportunity to say things like “I’m honored and humbled to be asked to introduce this year’s award winner”, “I can’t believe I’m going to lead this new project” or “It was a privilege to work with the People Who Don’t Read So Good fund drive today.” When you say such things in person it sounds more like, well,  bragging. People begin to think you’re ordinary when you can’t tell them how great, I mean humbly blessed, you are.
  4. You have to enjoy experiences alone or share them with friends and family using archaic technology like conversations and texting. You had dinner at that popular place or one that would demonstrate what a taste maker you are. You went on vacation, to a sporting event, out with friends, or on a business trip to a cool city and stayed in an upscale hotel. But you quit social media and have no way to share the experience,  that is, throw it in the face of the poor suckers back home in their cubicle farms and boring cramped apartments. Without social media you must enjoy the meal or experience yourself, soak it in, and let the time go by without chronicling, selfies, or shares. I might take pictures for my own fading memory or to share with my family. Sadly, acquaintances and friends will be denied an enchanting vicarious trip on this adventurous journey I call my life.
  5. It limits the ways I can tell my wife I love her. With social media, on my wife’s birthday, our anniversary, Mother’s Day, and Valentines Day, from my bed I could type a thoughtful message about how much I love my wife, how great she is, list her achievements, and praise her love for me, include a mushy picture, tag her, then post the message. The post would leave my phone via wifi to the router, travel to the ISP, go to Facebook servers, post, send a notification back through the worldwide internet, to my ISP, to my router, then via wifi to my wife’s phone on her side of the bed so she could read of my love and admiration. In the old days I would have to look over from my pillow to hers and express my love but our friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, church family, band boosters, kids friends parents, kids teachers, and stalkers wouldn’t have the privilege of hearing it. Her self esteem is holding up well despite my inability to tell others I love her and compare the “I love my wife”post like totals to other husband’s posts about their wives.

I may rejoin personal social media tomorrow or never go back. I do miss some things. I don’t recommend anyone leave social media nor would I discourage anyone from pulling the plug. If you are wrestling with the choice remember, we can live with it and lived most of our lives without it.

Update: As of December I have opened Facebook to stay connected to so many friends and family, especially those far away, for business,  and to connect with to some services without having to create an account. I can’t wait to see what everyone is having for dinner! 

If you liked this, please share it on Facebook or Twitter!**

*I am on LinkedIn but it is a professional social media site though some fail to get the professional part when posting. Do I seriously need another math problem on my wall?!?

**That’s a joke, called irony. Couldn’t resist.

Cheesy Christmas Movies Should NOT Be Watched In July

This past July a few ladies in the office were excitedly talking about a weekend Christmas movie marathon. Note that July is a summer month. Heat, not cold. Sand, not snow. That bane of masculinity The Hallmark Channel, was playing Occupy Summer by airing sentimental Christmas offerings when folks should be in the sun. In December, my wife and daughters have banned me from the room while they watch these sappy Christmas chick flicks. They apparently do not like my witty commentary, rolling eyes, and sighs of “oh, please” muttered during a “Hallmark moment”. Worse, I do not receive accolades by noting that the consistent theme is the (workaholic/lonely/bitter) person who has forgotten the real meaning of Christmas and somehow finds (true love/a family/that they are really Santa) as the snow falls and bells ring. Some people do not appreciate finer critical analysis and I am at peace with that.

Occasionally one of the radio stations would add to the madness by doing a “Christmas in July” weekend. It is bad enough that we have to endure the continual mind numbing monotony of continual Christmas favorites from Thanksgiving to Christmas. How many versions of “Jingle Bells” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” does the world need? Don’t even start me on the “and don’t forget to hang up your sock” Andy Williams classic. With all the creative talent in the music industry could they not convene a summit and write 200 new Christmas songs so we don’t have to hear 50 versions of the same 15 songs play for a month and a half? But if my wife and girls are in the car, and it’s the holiday season (and whoop-de-doo and hickory dock) we will have continual Christmas favorites on the radio. In July, the only Bruce Springsteen I should be hearing is “Born in the USA,” not his raspy overplayed holiday rehash.

Isn’t there a board of review or a regulatory agency in place to prevent such a travesty? At least we are not putting up the tree and buying gifts again so thanks for that act of mercy. Seriously ladies, it’s summer. Leave Christmas in Winter. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Christmas holiday and spending time with family and friends during this special season. But when the Christmas decorations are packed we need to move on until December rolls around again. Go to the snow white beach and eat burgers roasting on an open grill.

I have to bring this to a close, there is a Clint Eastwood movie marathon going on. Finally, entertainment with some depth.