Apr 032014

Laurie Kuna 2In my current work in progress, Strange Magic, the heroine, Medusa Morelock, tells her daughter that she’s decided to start her own antisocial network. Titled Get Out of My Facebook, she’ll be the only member. No one will be allowed to “friend” her because she doesn’t care about what others are eating, the workings of their intestinal tracts, or whether their toddlers hit (or missed) the potty-training stool. Because Medusa’s a witch who tolerates human beings but doesn’t really like dealing with them, this idea is totally in character for her.

Of course, I’m solely responsible for my characters’ quirky traits, so it should come as no surprise that Medusa’s attitude about social networking is eerily similar to my own. In fact, last summer with friends who are FB aficionados, I declared my plans to launch “Get Out of My Facebook.” One promptly pulled out her smart phone and posted my idea to her page. Then she took a picture of our group with said phone and posted that as well.

Because I’m a bit of a Luddite, that made my head hurt. I say a bit of one because true Luddites oppose technological change, and while I’ll never be the first with the newest gadget, upgrade, or cutting-edge technology, I at least have old gadgets, outdated upgrades, and dull-edge technology. My nephew and his wife (both techies of the highest order) felt so awful that I’d used a film camera—albeit a Nikon 35mm SLR—at their wedding they gave me their oldest, smallest digital camera for my birthday. Then last summer I went crazy and bought a used Canon D-SLR. I’m still dizzy from that huge leap forward into the 21st century.

Admittedly, FB and other forms of social networking have their uses — especially for connecting with long-lost friends and relatives, promoting books, and keeping in touch with like-minded people, such as other writers and, most importantly, readers. But just like Medusa, I have little tolerance for people who constantly post mundane details of their lives. We all have to eat, sleep, and perform other bodily functions. At the risk of sounding, well, antisocial, you are not unique in those areas. Please feel free NOT to share.

Unlike Medusa, I’m not telepathic, so my methods of communication are all the “normal” ones.

Besides my annual holiday letter, which I have to write as soon as I’m done with this blog, I really prefer communicating via telephone. That being said, there’s a reason why I have Caller ID. I can ignore all numbers I don’t recognize (and some that I do) and let the phone ring until voice mail kicks in, the robo-call ends, or the caller hangs up. If that reflects badly on my character, consider this: Writing is incredibly time-consuming. If writing time doesn’t take priority and things like social networking eat up that time, my progress stalls.

And let’s talk about texting. Several years ago when a friend said I needed to learn to text, I replied, “No, I don’t.” I own a TracFone solely to make calls when I’m away from home. I’ve sent one text in 10 years, and that was two weeks ago. I had to email my “textee” to see if the message got through. The point is my phone is for speaking to people, not sending them obscure abbreviated messages. That goes against every English-teacher instinct in my body, and if that makes me a dinosaur, so be it.

In the interest of preserving real language and promoting public safety, I’ve considered offering my services to the local police as a purse snatcher. This is how it would work: I’d go to a mall, grab the purse or merchandise of every shopper texting while carrying packages, and then promptly turn my contraband over to Security. Then I’d leave them to lecture the “victims” on why it’s dangerous to be distracted in public places. Hopefully the security people would admonish these idiots with my sister’s pet phrase for when her children did something foolish —“Did you learn anything?”

Years ago, the comedian Gallagher proposed identifying reckless drivers by using rubber darts with sticky notes attached. When drivers did stupid stuff, witnesses would shoot a dart at that person’s car. At the end of the day, the driver with the most stickies on his/her car would get a ticket. Of course, with road rage what it is today, singling out reckless drivers could get you killed, but I think it might work with reckless/clueless pedestrians. Like the mall texters, every time someone does something stupid with a cell phone, they should be shot with a sticky-note dart. At the end of the day, whoever is wearing the most stickies should have to write—by hand, in cursive—letters to every English teacher they ever had apologizing for totally slaughtering the English language.

How’s that for anti-social Luddite thinking? LOL

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