Friday, February 06, 2009

25 Random Facts about Me

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are suppose to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it is because I want to know more about you.

This is a meme.

1. I thought I'd already done this list, but I can't find where (I thought) I saved it.
2. I believe my inability to find the first version of this list means that it wasn't meant to be.
3. I trust that things "mean to be."
4. I met Barak Obama in April 2008, and he was surrounded by a totally visible white aura.
5. I thrive within a clear-cut structure, and because I subscribe to the idea that I must create my own system or be enslaved by another's (a la William Blake), I I'm saddled with the responsibility to create my own clear-cut structure. I spend a lot of time tinkering with my self-made structure, thereby leaving little time for me to thrive within it.
6. I have no doubt that I am my own worst enemy.
7. The animated advertisement to the right of my typing this note -- of a bouncing girl wearing a pink bustier with the headline "Mate 1: Intimate Dating" and the copy "Swing!" --distracts me because 1) the girl appears to be bouncing up and down on something priapic 2) Is it an ad for swingers? and why is it showing up on my page? 3) it's a pretty darn clever ad -- because it lured me to scroll down and see what she was bouncing on (nothing, as it turns out) -- and I'm a sucker for clever ads.
8. I'm the type who watches the super bowl for the ads.
9. My favorite shows during childhood were
a. Happy Days
b. Little House on the Prairie
c. The Six Million Dollar Man
d. The Love Boat
10. This list is not a virtuous distraction from the virtuous work that I must do, but for some reason I feel justified letting myself think it so.
11. 11 is one of my favorite numbers, besides 3 and 9 and 22. Do you see the pattern?
12. I'm one of the 11:11 advocates.
13. I received a grant three days ago for a memoir project.
14. Which means that I better finish revising the draft of this novel I've written so that I can get cracking on the memoir.
15. I write poems, songs, performances, plays, stories, essays, emails, blog posts, articles, journal entries, to-do lists, grant applications, grocery lists, status updates, and checks, among other things.
16. In high school, I was a varsity cheerleader.
17. I also sang in the choir in high school and college.
18. The highest fever I've ever had was 106.7 (when I was 20). I could not talk correctly for two years after that fever.
19. Sometimes I feel like my husband is spun from gold.
20. I have a touch of the hypochondria.
21. I'm gluten-free/casein free because my body needs to be.
22. 22 is a master builder number.
23. My ancestry is Irish, Mexican, English, Dutch, West Indian, and African American.
24. 24 was a very, very hard year for me.
25. It took me 30 minutes to write this list.

On the Meme "25 Random Facts about Me"

I do not agree with the backlash against the Facebook meme, 25 Random Things about Me, as seen in Newsweek and Time, among other places recently.  The jist of the backlash is that this meme is stupid and harmful and a waste of time.  In the Time article, a statistic cites 800,000 hours of productivity as being wasted on participating in this particular meme, although I'm not sure how the writer came up with this statistic.  I'm intrigued with the discussions taking place about this meme in the national news, as well as on my "wall"; I'm intrigued by the emotions stirred up in me as a result of these discussions; and  I'm also intrigued by my friends who choose to 1) not respond and 2) disdain it publicly.  Overall, I think what I'm most intrigued by is the fierce and charged emotions that are resulting from the act of sharing "Random" (well, as random as 25 carefully selected facts can be) details from one's life with others on Facebook.

First of all, I am a lovah not a hatah.  I enjoy reading the specific details my friends and acquaintances reveal about themselves, because most of the people in my "friends" list are actually friends or acquaintances I like; therefore I'm not opposed to knowing more about them.  In fact, I relish the opportunity.  These carefully selected random facts from their lives are offered with a spirit of generosity, pleasure and risk.  I like knowing that my friend Amy freezes rice.  Or that Miah believes in a secret siblinghood of shared birthdays.  I appreciate the the tone, the style of each person's list. Writing -- as opposed to talking -- especially in this catalogue form (i.e., the list) is a quick way for a person to reveal personality, whether consciously or not, not only through the content, but also through their form (for example, what he writes next -- how his mind associates).  Perhaps because I'm a writer, and therefore a de facto armchair anthropologist, dilettante psychologist and weekend scientist, I thrill to revelations of personality, because they are eminently useful to me in the creation of literature (whatever form my literature takes).  

I'm interested in the anger the meme seems to inspire in people who don't want to respond to it; for example, Time's Claire Suddath calls the meme, "viral narcissism," and scathes that "it's just so stupid.  Most people aren't funny, they aren't insightful, and they share way too much. " It may be true that people aren't taking care to think beyond the moment they're writing; for example, they might not have considered what could happen if  their boss -- whom they've not yet "friended" but might in the future -- finds out that they hate their job.  Perhaps some of the people in Claire Suddath's cyber-circle of friends do fail to show a larger intelligence.  However, it's also possible that Ms. Suddath's anger reveals a resentment less about the meme and more about her choice in friends. 

Steve Tuttle's piece in Newsweek from February 4 has a similar tone -- an I-am-so-much-more- human-than-Facebook tone.  He addresses the notion that the hours he spends on Facebook are wasted time (a feeling I'm familiar with), resulting in a loss in productivity (a feeling I'm also familiar with), and he insinuates that this "time-wasting" is endangering our global philanthropic fabric.  "When I think about all the hours I wasted this past year on Facebook, and imagine the good I could have done instead," Tuttle writes, "it depresses me.  Instead of scouring my friends' friends' photos for other possible friends, I could have been raising money for Darfur relief, helping out at the local animal shelter or delivering food to the homeless." First of all, what Steve is sorta blind to is that he could be doing these things ON Facebook.  If there isn't already a "Send Economic Relief to Darfur" group on Facebook, Steve could start one. Furthermore, I've noticed that two of our local animal shelters -- BARC and PAWS -- have Facebook groups, thereby widening not only the possibility of acquiring more volunteers, but also that a homeless animal will find its soul mate.  Also, regarding delivering food to the homeless, if this is something Steve did regularly BEFORE he joined Facebook, then maybe he might have considered going on a fast -- a Facebook Fast -- so that he could get back to feeding those hungry people!  What Steve decides to do in the wake of quitting Facebook is go back to the bar.  No doubt that action will help him accomplish the lofty goals he named above. 

My intuition tells me that people who are anti-25 Random Facts about Me are people who feel insecure in general, people who don't want to risk being known because they're afraid that people might judge them poorly.   They're plagued by Facebook because it acts, as do all social groups, like a mirror (or in this case, a hall of mirrors), reflecting their nature back to themselves.  And they just can't bear to face the freak show they might find there.