Monday, September 20, 2010

Who Gives A Fuck Where You Are

A while back, I launched The Who Gives A Fuck What You're Doing Campaign. It was intended to keep Facebook users from posting stupid shit about their kids and pets; tales of marathon running, road biking, and yoga; pictures of their meals and hobbies; or anything related to the weather, hating work, or Monday.

TWGAFWYDC worked as such: If somebody posted something on Facebook that annoyed you out of its complete impertinence to your life or your rational sense of what is truly worth sharing, you would comment, "Who gives a fuck!". It was an ambitious movement with the ultimate goal of training the social networking community to police itself, resulting in more interesting and more relevant content.

Initially, TWGAFWYDC had legs. Comment disses were flying all over Facebook with the fierceness of Sully Sullenberger flying into the Hudson River. Soon, however, it faded like The Great Doppelganger Craze of early 2010 or The 2 Girls 1 Cup Mania of mid-2008. I think people felt it was too personal, that if somebody's gonna take the time to post, not matter how inane their posting, they deserve to be heard. I disagree, but the people spoke.

Well now, I'm launching a new campaign that actually may stick. It's called The Who Gives A Fuck Where You Are Campaign and it assails only a portion of overzealous social networking behaviors - the use of location-based social networking apps like FourSquare, GoWalla, and most recently, Facebook Places.

Right when Twitter was hitting the tipping point, I evaluated it. I said it was a a useless piece of shit, a flash in the pan, and a viable candidate to become a really hard Double Jeopardy answer in 2012. Turns out I was wrong.

Well now, it looks like location-based social networking apps are set to have their Twitter moment. In my humble opinion though, I highly doubt they're going to have the same longevity and significance. Why? Because they're stupid.

Basically, they're simple applications that usually reside on a smartphone. When you go somewhere, you hit a button, the app finds out where you are, then broadcasts it to all the idiots that are stupid enough to follow a dumbass like you on your social networks.

These apps annoy me because, as of late, I can't log on to Facebook without finding out that one of my "friends" is at Carl's Jr. or Dress Barn. I can't log on to Twitter without finding out that someone I "follow" is at Supercuts or H&R Block.

I gotta tell ya - I don't give a fuck! And neither should you.

Are we really so desperate for a human connection that we need to know where our acquaintances are at all times? Maybe if we're stalkers. Do we really need to be subjected to the boastings of people that actually think we're impressed that they're at a certain restaurant or club? Hell no! Location-based social networking apps are completely useless.

Has anybody ever discovered that their buddy from accounting is at The Container Store in Cherry Creek, then got in the car to join him for a nice day of browsing for innovative storage and organization products? Has anybody ever noticed that their junior high crush is at Jenny Craig on Colorado Boulevard, then biked over to join her for a group weigh-in? I doubt it.

So why do location-based social media users bother "checking in" at every stop they make in their pathetic lives?

Are they bragging? I'm not impressed that you eat at Chipotle. Sure, their burritos are delicious, but a lot of others have eaten them too. Are they hoping for validation of their life choices? If you're male and you're spending a sunny Sunday at Hobby Lobby, you're beyond the need for validation, you need a lobotomy. Do they want to organize a get-together? OK, that's acceptable. However, do they really want all of their 9 million friends involved in this get-together? If not, then why don't they just do it the old fashioned way - by text message or BBM or FaceTime?

On Foursquare, they give you badges and titles for being a superuser. You're The Mayor of The Gap at The Aurora Southlands Mall? That means you've gone to The Gap at The Aurora Southlands Mall more than anyone else in the world. You get recognized for that? Really?? You did not map the human genome and you did not solve the global clean water crisis. You bought a few moderately priced plaid shirts. Get a life, or at least go to Banana Republic once in a while.

On a side note, how come nobody ever shares that they're doing anything worthwhile? People are always at the dry cleaner or the tanning salon or the tattoo parlor. How come nobody's ever at The Opera or Habitat for Humanity? My guess - because they're wasting so much time checking in at useless places.

And how come nobody ever checks in when they're visiting embarrassing locations - your proctologist's office or Curves or The Church of Scientology or a teabagger rally? Don't be selective about where you check in. If you're gonna overshare, then go all out and over-fucking-share!

Regardless, with all this location-based social networking, are you really enjoying where you are? Checking in is another chore while you're doing your chores. And, isn't the goal of being out of the office to check out? Is life a job? Do we really need to punch a time clock for our leisure time? Fuck! I said before, I'm officially launching The Who Gives A Fuck Where You Are Campaign. If you're on Twitter and you see that your wife's friend's husband used complex GPS technology to alert the world that he went to Honey Baked Ham, reply with, "Who gives a fuck!". If you're on Facebook and you read that your mortgage broker's sister used her gorgeous new iPhone 4 to let everyone she knows know that she's at The Playful Pooch Kennel, post a comment saying, "Who gives a fuck!". Repeat and repeat and repeat.

If we all take part in TWGAFWYAC, Gowalla and Foursquare and all of their copycats will begin to perish. Facebook Places and Google Latitude and all the other corporate attempts to cash in on this ridiculous fad will also perish. And we, the people of the social networking universe can safely return to reading status updates about Farmville, Bravo reality show spoilers, biased and uninformed opinions about sports, repetitive birthday wishes, and everything else that makes social networking so great. I still won't give a fuck.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How I Was Almost Killed By A 70-Year-Old Man

Up in Aspen for Labor Day, I realized that it had been nearly a year since I was almost killed by a 70-year-old man.

It was the wedding of one of my best friends. He's asked that I don't use his real name or the real name of his now wife out of fear that when she reads this, it will be the final nail in the coffin of our friendship because, like she almost did nearly a year ago, she'll forbid him from ever speaking to me again. So, I'll refer to them as Neff Lass and Molie Borsen Lass (not their real names).

On with the story...Neff is a journalist. He used to pal around with Hunter S. Thompson and his crew. We got along due to our shared appreciation for irreverent writing. He's also a short Jew like me. We would drink a lot together. Molie is wonderful woman, befitting of a man like Neff. Unfortunately, she comes from a family of fundamental Christians.

Neff and Molie had a small ceremony in Woody Creek, right outside of Aspen. I was honored just to be invited. Then, Neff asked me to prepare a speech. Now, as a seasoned raconteur and a lover of hearing my own voice, I'm always up for giving a speech. However, I don't prepare anything. So, I decided I'd wing it.

The ceremony was performed by a whiskey distiller. As you can imagine, the liquor flowed bountifully. By the time it was my turn to speak, I was two sheets to the wind (not quite three sheets, but getting there). Given Neff's pedigree, I knew my speech had to be insightful and sentimental, while also witty and a bit profane. I'm not quite sure all the guests had the same interpretation of those characteristics as I did, especially not Molie's 70-year-old father.

Holding my glass, I stumbled toward the podium. My bow tie hung from around my neck like Jerry Lewis's during the last few hours of the MDA Telethon. Channeling Lenny Bruce, I began by polarizing the crowd. I welcomed the token Asian, Black, and Mexican, who I conjectured were only invited to display Neff and Molie's liberal and accepting ways. I proceeded to point out the obvious differences between Jews and fundamental Christians and the difficulties that a mixed marriage poses.

Then, I commemorated Neff's former life by referring to him as a recovering cocksman (a little known term meaning one who's skilled at giving women pleasure with his penis) and regaling the crowd with a tale involving Neff, 4 hits of mescaline, a trout, and a developmentally disabled young lady. I was just getting started!

I discussed how much taller Molie is than Neff and referred to Neff as lilliputian and microscopic. I said he's like a normal person, only smaller. I asked if Molie was worried that, if they had a child, it would be mistaken for a monkey. I questioned Molie's fertility. I asked how they would raise a family on a writer's salary. I pointed out the large gap between their ages and estimated the length of time Molie would be widowed after Neff died.

I returned to the Jew thing again, this time with holocaust references. I praised Obama. I cursed Jesus Christ. And I drove it all home with a joke about a certain sex act that's illegal in some states. Then, I said, "Mazel Tov!" A few of the drunken guests applauded. Most everybody else just sat there uncomfortably stirring.

The speeches were over and I went to pay my respects to the family. Neff's mother and father, fellow Jews, gave me a hug and said they had expected a speech like this from one of Neff's friends and, actually, they found it pretty funny. I soon learned that Molie's parents didn't share the same sentiments.

Molie's father was nearby. I assumed he'd want to compliment me on my eloquence and mastery of the English language. So, I walked over with a big smile. He wasn't smiling. His wife was beside him sobbing. I offered the old man my hand to shake. He wasn't having it. In fact, I soon realized that two of the guests were holding him back from attacking me.

Now, this was a big man. He was wearing a bolo tie. Everyone knows you don't fuck with a guy wearing a bolo tie. Yes, he was 70-years-old, but he was tough as hell. And, I've had my ass kicked by women much older and much frailer than him. So, I was scared.

Soon, the old guy broke free. He had a look of murder in his eyes. As he leapt at me, all hell broke lose. The groomsmen stepped in, then the maid of honor and the ring bearer and Molie's 100-year-old grandmother. It was pandemonium. The madness in the room just egged on the patron of the family, my new nemesis. He took a champagne bottle and slammed it on the table, gangsta-style. Now, he had a lethal weapon. Would this be the end for our silver-tongued anti-hero?

Somehow, I knocked the bottle out the old man's hand, tossed wedding rice in his eyes, and pushed my way through the crowd with the rolling cake table. Then, I slyly escaped through the service entrance and ended up unscathed at a nearby bar. I was bummed because I wanted to catch the bouquet. No such luck, not even a shot. At the bar, I wondered whether or not I gave the right speech. I concluded that I did. Weddings are usually uneventful and forgettable. I singlehandedly made this one more than memorable.

Yes, Neff's new father-in-law later told him that he wasn't fit to be married to his daughter because he has a friend like me. But, discord with in-laws is inevitable. And in the end, the old man was wrong. Despite me, Neff and Molie stayed married. And, Neff and I remain friends. Molie's even pregnant. That Neff - he's still a cocksman after all!