I’m still getting used to this Facebook thing. I mean, I like it, I really do, but I’m just not sure if I’m using it the way I should be. I have posted pictures, along with updates (infrequent though they are) for anyone interested in my goings-on, and have even uploaded a link or two. To that degree I guess I’m just your typical user, but still I feel like I could be getting more out of it, as well as putting more into it.

My problem is that I can’t post like so many others do.  For example, I’m not one of those types who can post every detail about what I’m doing at that particular moment. Don’t get me wrong – I know a lot of guys who can get away with it. They’re never doing anything uninteresting. They’re also the same types who are always uploading pictures of themselves debauching scores of young, attractive hipsters at some ghastly discotheque. Me? My life’s a little less interesting. My posts would look a little something like this:

Jason M. Miller is looking at the ceiling. Wondering how many layers of paint are there? And what about primer? Does anyone bother to primer a ceiling? And is it “to primer” or “to prime?”

And I’m not the type to fish for attention by posting ominous, out-of context, obscure and nonsensical jibberish, either:

Jason M. Miller Hurt. Devastated.  What did she mean? Do I clean it up? If stars are like bedpans and pickles breathe marmots, then who can I trust?  Or is it whom? Undulant.

And I refuse to take part in those games, polls and quizzes that are everywhere, though I can imagine some that I’d like to see:

Jason M. Miller took the quiz “What character in the movie ‘Salo’ are you?” and got the result “Male Victim #2.”

I do, however, find myself using Facebook as a place where I can gently kid around with my Friends.  That’s one of my problems, actually – I see the sincere and personal postings of others and immediately assume that if I post a response that I think is funny then they’ll think its funny too.  Sadly, though, that’s not always the case; not only are some of my comments not funny – they’re not even appropriate half the time. Not that I’m aware of this when I hit the “comment” button, of course. It’s usually only the next morning that my witty response to, say, a Friend’s posting that he has been suffering from debilitating vertigo for weeks (“Quit crying and get over yourself, sickboy…”) seems just a tad insensitive.

Last week I even went so far as to post on a Friend’s wall, apropos of absolutely nothing, “I’m going to kill you in your sleep tonight. See you then!” I don’t know – it seemed pretty funny at the time. The next morning, however, he had deleted it from his wall and sent me an e-mail stating in no uncertain terms that he’d be alerting the authorities. Whether the authorities he referred to would represent the nice people at Facebook (who could drop my account in less time than it would take for me to “poke” a Friend) or the actual police (who could probably confiscate my computer and investigate my wise-ass post as a legitimate threat) I didn’t plan on finding out; firing off a nervous apology, via e-mail, was for me the work of an instant. Crisis, for the nonce, diverted.

My posts don’t always end in potential litigation. Some actually are quite funny (though I admit I’ve never gotten a response indication as much. I think it’s safe to just assume that everyone thinks they’re funny).  For example, as any Facebook user knows, you can easily “like” something just by clicking on the “like” button, after which your approval of the initial post’s content is wordlessly registered for all to see.  It’s a great function, really, because it allows the user to acknowledge a Friend (or a Friend’s post) without really spending any damn time getting into a comment-fest with the original poster and twelve of his or her other Friends.  There is, however, no “dislike” button. And that’s a problem.

The solution is of course to actually type the words “I do not like this!” into the comment section. But here’s the catch – I don’t write it when I actually dislike something that a Friend has posted. That would invite the original poster to comment back, and then there would be one of those Facebook arguments that we’ve all seen or, if we’re really unlucky, been a part of. Plus, where’s the humor in that? No, I write it when someone has posted something really nice and sweet, something no one could ever not like. That’s funny. Here’s an example:

Friend: Conner and Timmy and I are going to the pumpkin patch today! They can’t wait to see the petting zoo! Pictures later!

Jason M. Miller: I do not like this!!!!!

Or how about this:

Friend: Hubby and I went out for dinner last night – the first time in a long while! We actually got to talk like adults! Such a nice night!

Jason. M. Miller: I do not like this!!!

It also works wonderfully when a Friend uploads a photo. Picture seeing a single photo on your live feed. It’s a nice picture of, say, a Friend playing with a new puppy.  The Friend is all smiles, and the puppy is obviously in a state of intense joy. They are in what appears to be a living room, surrounded on all sides by a potpourri of various chew toys, knotted ropes, and balls. The picture is so adorable that if you closed your eyes you could almost hear Clarence “Frogman” Henry’s “Ain’t Got No Home” playing in the background. It’s that cute. The photo even has a title: Meet Frosty, our newest rescue dog!

And under it, in the comments section:

Jason M. Miller: I do not like this at all!!!!!!!

Funny, right?

Sometimes words aren’t even necessary. I’ve even learned, for example, that a cleverly placed emoticon can be a wonderfully succinct way of brightening someone’s day with my unique humor:

Friend: Patrick Swayze died today. So sad 😦

Other Friend: 😦

Another Friend: 😦

Jason M. Miller: 🙂

And how about all those fanclubs? Well it turns out anyone can make one! One morning a few months ago I was lying in bed, strangely awake at about five AM, my mind fluttering about as it tends to do when I’m up for no reason. Suddenly I hit on an absolutely hilarious idea. I would create fake Facebook fanclubs! It would be hilarious! I jumped out of bed and ran to the computer. Within minutes I had my first two fanclubs:

Jason M. Miller became a fan of Passing Out On The Floor In A Pool Of Your Own Sick and Finger Painting with Offal.

I invited a couple of Friends and leaned back in my chair, confident that I had just struck comedy gold. I think that as of this posting my fanclubs actually have two members, and that’s not even including me. Success! I even made a mental note to create a new one, this time less wordy:

Jason M. Miller became a fan of Hookers.

But I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

There are certain things, though, that I won’t do, no matter how much I’d love to. One of them is responding to a Friend’s religious-themed posts with something that reflects my current feelings about organized religion and the people who can’t live without it. Trust me, I would love to toss a secular reality-bomb into some of these threads, but the truth is I really do respect other people’s lifestyles, and feel that to rain on someone’s parade just because I happen to think they’re cuckoo is arrogance at its worst.  Still, I can dream, right?

Religious Friend: Jesus has blessed us with another perfect day! We are all here because of Him, and let’s not forget that!

-Three Friends like this.

One Friend: In his name!

Another Friend: Hallelujah!

Jason M. Miller: Oh Jesus Fucking Christ…

See what I mean? It would feel good to get these things off of my chest, sure, but it can hardly be denied that in doing so I would look like a total jerk. And why do something like that when all my other creative Facebook contributions are such fully developed examples of my wit, revealing to all my Friends how smart and funny I am? Why tarnish their opinions of me, opinions that undoubtedly place me at the top of their list of Friends They Admire Most?

Aw, screw it. I’m a jerk.


25 Things You May Not Know About Me

Recently I’ve been “tagged” as a recipient of a couple of my friends’ and relations’ “25 things about me, myself and I” Facebook postings. I don’t know if you’ve seen these – the idea is, you write down 25 things about yourself that others may find interesting, then send it off to 25 of your friends with the request that they also compile their own list of 25 things, then send it to 25 of their friends, and on and on. Now, I’m not against people getting to know each other better, but I have to say that I’m physically and morally unable to respond to any, any on-line request to do something and then send it to several of my unsuspecting cyberpeers. I don’t care if the e-mail reads, “Hey Jason, this is your cousin. Grandma’s dead  – please forward this the rest of the family.” Sorry, I ain’t sending it.

But, as I say, I do like the idea. So here, in blog form, are 25 things that you may not know about me. I promise that you are not required to send anyone anything after you read it.

1. I hate it when people with unique names complain about others misspelling or mispronouncing them. I mean, what do you expect? Your name is Krintinw, for God’s sake. Get over it.

2. Every now and then I slip the word “anus” into conversations with mixed company just to get a laugh.

3. If I were a multi-millionaire and didn’t have to work and could choose one thing to do with my time, every day for the rest of my life, I would choose to make soup.

4. I once struck a very large, muscular man over the head with an empty beer bottle because he had tossed my Sunday paper all over the kitchen floor.

5.  I find “America’s Funniest Home Videos” to be truly disturbing. I fear that some day an advanced species of aliens will find these tapes and mistake them for historical records of our race. They would think that the thousands of grainy, poorly-lit video clips of overweight men getting hit in the crotch by small boys with whiffle bats and grooms passing out at their weddings represent everything that humankind had accomplished. They would think that. And they’d be right.

6. I came up with a really funny line for a movie: “With friends like that, who needs Yemenis?” (Insert laughter here.) I don’t have the context yet, but mark my words – I will slip that into a screenplay one day if it’s the last thing I do.

7. I love being around people, but only if nobody knows me and I don’t have to chat. Y’know, like at the mall or at a funeral.

8. The longest I’ve ever spent in jail cell was under three hours. I mean, seriously, does that even count?

9. I always wished that I had one glass eye. Back in high school – I guarantee that I would have gotten more chicks.

10. Sometimes, when in a crowded room, I look out over all the faces around me, each with a different story to tell, different life experiences, different loves. And I think: in a hundred and twenty years, everyone in this room will be dead.

11. I am often overcome with the desire to hug little children. And by “hug,” I mean, “push down and laugh at.”

12. Once, when I was managing a kitchen at a Baptist Camp and Conference Center, I let all of my teenaged staff blow off steam by throwing pudding at me out back by the dumpster. Later I found out that that was illegal in Utah.

13. I don’t know how to throw a punch. This genuinely bothers me – how am I supposed to defend my family? By falling on the floor and curling up in the fetal position? Sure, that may have worked back in college, but it’s not going to cut it if my home is ever set upon by fricken’ zombies, now is it?

14. I’m really bad at pretending to be on the phone. All I can think of to say is “Mmm-hmm…..yep….sure….really?….mmm-hmmm….” It’s really embarrassing, and I’m almost always caught.

15. I will never, ever bungee jump. And if you have – I think you’re a jerk.

16. I really loved that show “Friends.” One day I remember thinking, this is the perfect show – everyone here is so funny! It’s like getting to hang out with your best, wackiest and most attractive friends every week! I felt truly happy to be around them. And then I thought, hey…that’s why they call this show “Friends!” That was a profound day.

17. Some days, when I need inspiration, I pick up one of my favorite books, “Critique of Judgement” by the German (then Prussian) philosopher Immanuel Kant. There’s one part that always makes me smile: “It is then one thing to say, ‘the production of certain things of nature or that of collective nature is only possible through a cause which determines itself to action according to design’; and quite another to say, ‘I can according to the peculiar constitution of my cognitive faculties judge concerning the possibility of these things and their production, in no other fashion than by conceiving for this a cause working according to design, i.e. a Being which is productive in a way analogous to the causality of an intelligence.’ In the former case I wish to establish something concerning the Object, and am bound to establish the objective reality of an assumed concept; in the latter, Reason only determines the use of my cognitive faculties, conformably to their peculiarities and to the essential conditions of their range and their limits. Thus the former principle is an objective proposition for the determinant Judgement, the latter merely a subjective proposition for the reflective Judgement, i.e. a maxim which Reason prescribes to it.”  I read that and I’m like, OMG! That is SO how I’ve been feeling lately!!!

18. Once when I was late for work I pushed over an older, handicapped woman using a walker to get through the turnstile in the lobby of my building.

19.  I think that those boxy Scion cars are the dumbest-looking things on earth. The fact that people didn’t roundly laugh this embarrassment off the streets and into the land of the Edsel, Gremlin and Pinto ranks, for me, as the second biggest mass failure of judgment in the history of mankind. Right behind the reelection of George W. Bush.

20. When I’m alone at home eating dinner, I usually lick my plate clean of every last trace of food. Then, after I’ve finished my wine, leaned back in my chair, exhaled and patted my belly with content, I get up and put some pants on.

21. My wife and I once had an argument: she said that if she had to make a choice between saving the last two members of a near-extinct species of animal or a random human being from perishing in a burning building, she’d save the animals. I thought that was ludicrous, though I had to concede that given the ultimatum of saving either a human from a burning building or the last known copies of all of Shakespeare’s works (sonnets included), I would chose the latter. What did we learn from this? That we’re both assholes.

22. It just recently occurred to me that Marvin, the Paranoid Android from Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and A.A Milne’s Eeyore are the same character.

23. Sometimes I look at all the infrastructure around me – the buildings, the highways, the industry – and I think, if it were up to me to do all this stuff it would never exist. We’d still be living in freaking tents.

24. Once I looked around the room and experienced a moment of complete, all-knowing clarity about the universe. I knew in that one moment that everything that had ever happened to me had led to that moment; that everything was as it should and will be, that everything around me had a meaning and a purpose, and that no matter what happened – even the darkest of tragedies and ugliest of horrors – everything was going to be okay. And I’m sure it had nothing to do with all that Ecstasy I took.

25. I cry during the scene in Jurassic Park when the Tyrannosaurus Rex is attacking the kids in the overturned Jeep. I mean, really, Spielberg, give those poor kids a break.  They’re just kids – they don’t need this kind of shit.

Let’s see…yep, that’s twenty five!  Toodles!