Everything I say is true, somewhere...
Around 2005 I ended up on a no-fly list due to the closeness of my Judaic sounding first two names to that of an U.S. born Aramaic terrorist who also happens to have a social security number relatively close to mine. I have to take this on faith because the State Department is very tight lipped why I find myself in dark rooms that I never knew existed in our fly the friendly skies airports that dot the familiar American landscape that I thought I knew so well. This Kafkaesque scenario could have easily been wrung out into a Capraesque ending if only things didn’t turn out so bad for our hero, namely (now with a new name) me.
Since Bill Ayres, my covert connections were afraid to communicate with us who needed the subterranean mass transit system to find freer grounds. Out of desperation I moved to America’s universal identity carwash to go underground, Las Vegas.
I first tried my kin. Because of an upcoming planned family trip to the theme-park, B’Nai Brith’s Land of a Thousand Guilty Pleasures, (which no one had told me about, that should have been my first clue on my family’s feeling about me) in Trafesville, Mo. They said they couldn’t risk talking to me unless they wanted me to have them rent an R.V. which is obviously out of the question. “How crazy would that be for us to rent a motorhome? Who could drive it? What’s a hook-up? Jamal Ben Binlanden, how could think about putting your family through this? Sometimes, you’re so selfish.”
All my brothers and sisters, their wives and husbands, their kids, said, until I make this no-fly thing right with them and America, we’ll call you. I said, but I don’t have a phone anymore, let alone an address and a place to live. They repeated, “Like we said, we’ll call you.”
In the next circle came my friends. Once they found out their phones were being tapped and agents would soon call them for information on me, they hung up on me quicker than you can say, “John Edwards, are you my daddy?”
I found myself alone living in the cheapest weekly apartment there was in Vegas. Crack whores gave me rusty, slimy quarters out of compassion for my predicament. I had never been more alone in my life. I wasn’t sure how I was going to eat, live, or survive. But through it all, two people stuck with me. Through means I didn’t know possible, funds and love were able to reach me via an adhoc network that I didn’t know existed. Now, many years later, I call that coordination a Network of Love. And I will never forget the two who came through for me.
So here we are now...
I’ve been working with a little company in the north woods called B.K. Industries developing nuclear fueled toys for kids. Because of my agoraphobian ways, I delegate to remain indoors but still need to get my business’ name out there. That’s when I stumbled upon this thing called Facebook.
Here’s my first problem with Facebook: it is a social networking tool that connects people for a variety of reasons. The obstacle I’m facing, I’m neither social nor do I want to connect with anyone. I don’t want to say, “Where were you all when I was living on the corner of Louis Farrakhan Blvd. and Crack Ave.?” Now I’ll be the first to say, I don’t trust people anymore, and that is my problem. But now I am being hounded? Sought out? by old friends, school-mates and strangers who want what? My friendship?
I’m not sure what the criterion is for being friends with people today. Is it the Ashton-effect to try to gather as many rosebuds and buddies as possible, displaying a big fat number of friends to show off with to...your friends? Or is it to tempt that person in friending you so they know how you feel about them some twenty, thirty years later. Or worse, knowing they don’t want you as a friend now anymore than they did when we had the chance to be friends in real life.
Then there’s another addiction that I need to deal with, constantly looking to see if anyone wants to be my friend today. No bites. That okay I say. I don’t need friends that have been made abundantly clear to me.
But what about the newbies that have no idea of my F.B.I., C.I.A., Homeland Security trail and the disgruntled Kiwanis’s members who for reasons unknown feel like they won’t rest until I’m am proven as Chemical Jackie. There are people out there totally unaware of my government prodding. There are innocents who know nothing of my past, or I should say, my future after our relationships ended as we went our separate ways into Life. Still, no new friends.
I have thirteen friends today on Facebook. The two friends who saved my life and took huge chances in doing so, aren’t part of my friends on Facebook, even though they are registered Facebook users. Our feeling is we don’t have to befriend each other in Cyberspace because we actually really talk in real life.
I am very confused about Facebook. Over the weekend, I tried to join a thread of a conversation that had been going on for hours. I like that part. Everyone added their two-cents worth over a course of a day. It does let you know what different parts of the country are thinking, and different mind-sets, too. People were asked by Facebook to show their profile picture as someone famous they thought they look like. When someone wasn’t sure what famous person another person’s picture was, I chimed in with a small story how I met that famous person years ago, before I became a paper terrorist. I kind of got a ‘WTF’ from the other users. I guess I shared a little too much or was inappropriate by kissing and telling about a conversation that really wasn’t about me. I got embarrassed. That so far has been my social interaction online besides saying yes or no to your possible friendship.
I know the human experience is made up of relationships and communal ties that lead to acknowledgement and the feeling that, yes, I do exist. I just not sure what the test is to see who your real friends are? I had a real life experience that separated everyone I know from those I don’t. Now, I’m not sure how many people I need to have be counted as my friends until I really believe I have friends.
Or maybe I’ve got the whole thing wrong.