I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. - Agatha Christie (1891-1976, British Mystery Writer)
Some time back I posted something on Facebook which offended some people who were close to me. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do, and I was in a pretty bad mood that mood that night, but soon realized that it as a pretty silly thing to have posted in such a public venue, where others could see it.
Then again, it was Facebook, where hundreds of posts get put every hour; it was read and pretty much promptly forgotten by everybody else on the planet in about two seconds.
Still, it was mean-spirited on my part to write it. Not only did I think think twice once I looked at it on the page, but someone else also suggested that I might think about removing it.
Still . . .
I had posted it, and it had been noticed, and one of the people it was written about had already written an email to me, as would another the next day. I apologized on Facebook that night.
I apologized - profusely and several times - but have never gone back and removed the comments. I am terribly sorry that they hurt the people close to me, but remove them? They were who I was that night. To delete them would be to deny something true inside myself, even if the sentiments expressed were not.
For all of us, Life is a Work in Progress.
That damn delete key may be responsible for more dishonesty in our culture than anyone has ever realized.
Writers and other artists are more keenly aware of this concept, I suppose. Everything we create, everything we say, every word we write, every dance, every poem, every painting, is a record of our lives. Once they are created and presented to the world, that is it. We are in their grasp.
Well, except for poor George Lucas, I suppose, and his emotional need to keep on re-editing the Star Wars movies. He’ll find peace one day, perhaps.
George Lucas aside, we can’t just snatch what we write or say out of the public realm and claim that it never came from us. The same goes for Facebook, I think.
Oddly enough, I have re-edited posts on Facebook - badly written sentences - only to post a more coherent versions of them a few seconds later.
I think this is one of the reasons that I feel such disdain for columnists and bloggers who want to pass their wisdom down to us, as if they have somehow sprung from the forehead of Zeus, all-knowing and all-seeing.
This is especially detestable in writers who draw from their own life experiences, but somehow leave out all of the interesting parts, and just concentrate on the Leave it to Beaver, Walton’s Mountain aspect of their early years - let alone their adult lives.
I believe that writers who want to write about personal issues, trying to “relate” to their readers should also tell them about the times in their lives when they were less than smart, less than heroic, less than the television-ready version of themselves that is so often seen in their writings.
Speaking of television, of course, you put a microphone or camera in someone’s face for two decades and a whole bunch of stupid things will emerge. There have been a a whole host of times when something that began as sort of witty or a fascinating political observation came out sounding not only flat, but making it clear to the audience that there was at least one moron in the studio that night.
Once, in the early 1990s, I wrote a column for Grapevine, talking about the sort of places I would hit if I were a terrorist. I’m not gonna be reprinting that column in any future book, but I won’t deny that I wrote the idiotic thing, either.
The delete key gives us the opportunity to deny our own lives, to say, “I never said that!” But you did, didn’t you, just as I wrote the stupid things that I did. But they are part of my personal evolution, and though I wouldn’t repost them, they are part of who I am.
That delete key? It’s our own cock crowing inside us, helping us to tell lies, to rewrite our own history.
Justin Bieber, super-hero?
Saw this headline on Google News this morning:
Best Valentine ever? Six-year-old girl with cancer gets date with Justin Bieber
I just thought, no, you idiots. The best Valentine’s Day ever would be if she no longer had cancer.
Quote of the Day
Risk! Risk Anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. - Katherine Mansfield