Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, May 16, 2008

About Face

by Kerry Blair

I regret to report that I have had to give up writing and editing. Also housework, reading, sleeping, and any physical activity that cannot be accomplished with one’s nose glued to a laptop. While I no longer have a real life, I am “virtually” the busiest person you’ll ever meet. I have found Facebook.

It began innocently enough. The days following a chemo treatment are as long as they are dreary. About the time I’d read the bottom book in my bedside basket and watched the last PG-movie in the Netflix library, I received an invitation from a not-so-long lost friend to join her on Facebook. Let me tell you, that site should have a warning label not unlike those attached to codeine tablets – or any other highly-addictive, mind-altering substance. Before I knew it, I had fifty friends - many of whom wanted to pillow fight, duel, raise puppies, toss sheep (I don’t get it either), garden, cross the Plains, dabble in the arts, trade colored hearts, collect trading cards, save the rainforests, and/or quiz each other on which Disney Princesses we are.

That last request was from Rob, so of course I ignored it.

Alas, the Disney Princess application is the only one I’ve ignored. Well, that’s not entirely true. Max Borghini, ace baseball card collector, invited me to join his mob. I considered his name, scrutinized his photo (burly, tattooed arms wrapped around a pit bull) and politely demurred when I couldn’t decide if his mob was actual or virtual.

Kidding. Max is a great guy.

But everything else? Well, sure! I don’t like to boast, but I am the #5 collector of make-believe Diamondback baseball cards in the entire world. Maybe. There’s this guy, Louis DiFabio, who keeps pulling ahead of me by a card or three. I can’t begin to describe the pressure of maintaining my standing in the world of imaginary card collecting. I pass my days worrying about falling behind. At night I dream about rejection. I log onto the computer every four hours, day or night, to see where I rank among the elite. Now that I think about it, it’s very much like having a new book on the DB lists. (But not quite as painful because the trading card thing is more within my control.)

Like the rest of the population in my small rural town, I sowed a garden at the first sign of spring. Unlike the Face-less masses, I haven’t found time to tend it. Vicki thoughtfully sent me a virtual flower that would (believe it or not) save the rainforests. (Yes, wow!) The moment I accepted it, a frantic little message announced that weeds were overrunning my new Lil Green Patch and, by association, threatening the planet. What did I want to do about it? I bought virtual gloves and pulled them, of course. But no sooner had I rid my fantasy garden of blight than deer began to eat the tender shoots in Candace’s patch. Oh, dear! I finished that chore just in time to learn that Peter’s plants were wilting from draught and Hilary’s were under attack by hostile rabbits. Six hours later I was exhausted, but the make-believe planet was a tidier, wetter, safer place for fake flora.

Unfortunately, there is no rest for the wired. My poor pooch was desperate for attention, so I had to hasten over to my where I keep my virtual weimerinerer. Wymeriner. Whymereyenar. Oh, shoot! Leave it to me to adopt a breed I can’t spell. Weimaraner! (I looked it up.) Pictured at right is the pup I feel compelled to feed, entertain, train, and take to competitions. This is, embarrassingly enough, roughly twice as much as I do with the living, panting pup that sits hopefully at my side, begging for a pat on the head . . . playful tug with a fuzzy . . . doggie biscuit . . . fresh bowl of water . . .

I might as well confess the rest of my dirty little secrets: the many family members I have buried along the trail to Oregon. (Or wherever the heck it is that wagon train goes; I’ve never actually arrived anywhere.) The countless quizzes, duels, food, and pillow fights I have lost to friends, family, fans, and former Laurels. The hours I have spent placing make-believe books on imaginary shelves, and then cataloguing and reviewing same. The total strangers I have chatted up about things I know absolutely nothing about. (But since they’re mostly from places in Egypt and South America than I can’t spell any better than weimaraner, they haven’t noticed - I don’t think.)

My name is kerrylynn and I am a Facebook addict.

I’ve spent hours doing . . . I don’t know what. Well, yes, I do know what. I just don’t know why. But now that I’ve taken my last chemo, I have a new lease on life. Real life, hopefully. With a little intensive therapy, I’m almost certain I can stop collecting non-existent trading cards. I can probably also leave the Lil Green Plants to the deer, and the sheep-tossing battle to those who started it. (So strange.) I might even be able to go thirty-six hours or so without reading The Office Quote-of-the-day. Maybe I will even write a real book for somebody else to shelve, catalogue and review. (Maybe.)

But only if somebody promises to feed my dog!


At 5/16/2008 4:45 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

All right, Kerry, if it makes you happy, but I just don't get it. I had a psychology professor who said neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics move into them. I've just never quite gotten this alternative reality business when the real one keeps me busy enough. On the other hand, when in recuperative mode if your only choice is between daytime TV and Facebook, I can understand your choice. I am so SO glad you're finished with chemo. Now do you have to move on to radiation? Or do you get to skip that? It's not fun, but it's better than chemo.

At 5/16/2008 5:21 PM, Blogger jill said...

I understand the facebook thing. When my husband and I first joined it almost took over our evenings. Now we only check it once or twice a week. It does have lots of applications to keep you busy. That never-ending-movie-quiz could keep you buried for weeks. Enjoy the break.

Oh, and Jennie's reference to the castles in the air - I read (on that Rita Rudner finish that quote with, "My mother cleans them." :)

Happy facebook-ing.

At 5/16/2008 6:51 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

thanks, Kerry, for making me realize that I absolutely don't want to join Facebook. (Except I hear they have this Scrabble-like game that they're in litigation over. I love Scrabble)

Thank goodness I've never been trapped in a virtual reality setting like this. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go complete some quests and check my auctions in World of Warcraft...

At 5/17/2008 12:27 AM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

YAY!!! I'm doing the dance of joy that you're through with chemo. Should we celebrate by throwing sheep at Facebook residents? ;)

Incidentally, I think Rob would make a fantastic Cinderella.

At 5/17/2008 12:40 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I was kind of leaning toward Aurora for Rob, myself. But I can see Cinderella.

Loved this post, Kerry -- I discovered a little while ago and had to extract myself, fast, before the tentacled fingers grabbed me too tightly.


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