Gell read the sentiment and realized it took him all of four days to become disenchanted with the wonders of Facebook.

This one in particular, started with some lofty, candy-coated, generalized phrase about the wonders of having a great mother and that if you loved your mother, you would click “Like” to share that notion with the world.

While this one was about mothers, in the four days since he signed on, he saw the same tactic applied to everything from cats and dogs and other household pets to siblings and uncles and grandparents and goat cheese and beyond.

His mother was a fine mother. He took her to lunch once a week. He talked to her on the phone every three days. He ran errands for her. He fixed things that broke around her apartment. She made him laugh. But he’d be damned if he was going to give some Hallmark writing, guilt-laden message scrawled across the view of a sunset and flowers his nod of approval known these days as the “Like.”

Just as bad were the, “Very few people will be brave enough to post this on their status even for an hour…” sort of messages which pandered to whomever’s concern of the day. If posting something regarding anything were the true measure of bravery, he’d rather be seen as a coward. On the days he hates cancer, he would just post, “I hate cancer” and leave it alone. In his mind, it was a forgone conclusion that the majority of the populace hated cancer. Why go through the exercise of getting everyone to “Like” hating cancer?

The one that puzzled him the most was the one he saw yesterday, from a person who noted she might not actually be friends with, or actually know in some way, the people that polluted her friends list. To clarify who these people were, all they had to do was respond to her request with the name of the city where they met or some other clue to cement their association. Then, they needed to make the request their status so she could return the favor.


Gell had seventeen people on his friend list. He knew them all. They were his friends. It was not that hard. On day two, he received a friend request from a guy in Tulsa, who sent the request because, as far as Gell could tell, they both indicated they liked reading The Wind in the Willows. Gell had never been to Tulsa. Request denied.

Over his four-day initiation, he saw images and posts, ads and offers, rants and tirades, honors and tributes, jokes and many, many pictures of food. And he determined that Facebook offered one’s brain all the mental stimulation and nutrition of a giant cosmic jelly donut.

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