I really did have friends even before Facebook

By Ernie Sochin….

Maybe we’ll come with slots for memory cards.

I recently met a woman who can actually recall phone numbers. I was truly impressed. I haven’t been able to do that in years.

Example: I was awaiting “early release” (from a hospital; not what you think), and had to call my wife. I didn’t have my cell phone where her number is stored, nor did I recall any of the other members of my family. I just had to wait until she got there.

For some reason I do remember my home phone number from 70 years ago when I was 5: “Blue Hills 6448.” I’ll bet some of you can do the same.

Of course this was back during one of the other millennia; I forget which. It was at a time when the number of friends that you had was measured by how many people you actually knew and came into contact with — in other words BFB (before Facebook).

I now have thousands of friends that I hardly know and I don’t dare not accept someone as a Facebook friend because who knows who they are. A voter? A politician in high places? An important assistant to someone important that I may need to contact one day?

You never know, so everybody is now my friend. I didn’t meet them at a party, a lounge, a home, or anywhere else that I can be absolutely sure of, but they are my friends now!

This can create a problem. This is fair warning to all you Facebookers. One time while I was away from my home computer and tried to log onto Facebook, I had to prove who I was by first unscrambling a bunch of letters in a box and then… Then I was asked to identify photos of my friends. How could I do this when I hardly know any of them? I had to wait until I returned home to log on again.

Years ago I actually had friends who I really knew and would occasionally write a letter to, in cursive no less, to show how much I really valued their friendship. Imagine that — hand writing a letter, licking a stamp (which you had to do back then) and taking it to a mailbox. No kidding, we really did that. BTW, I spent years learning to write in cursive. Even got a certificate from the Palmer School of Modern Handwriting! Does anyone know how to text in cursive?

I used to be pretty good about replying to letters and even thought of myself as responsive to emails. That too has changed. Everyone now has some form of smart phone with which they instantly get my messages and instantly respond to them. Frankly, I don’t mind waiting a few minutes (or hours) for a response but noooo; now I had better get right back to my friends within 30 seconds or they will think I don’t want to be their friend anymore — or worse yet, that I don’t have a device to text with.

I know of quite a few people who are now married to people that they met online.

Geez, what will happen to all those cool pickup lines that guys (me) used in bars and lounges? (“What’s a nice girl like you doing…etc?”) I recently went to a few bars and lounges with my wife who frowns on me going alone (part of our pre-nup). We were either celebrating someone’s win or defeat in an election.

There were a lot of single people there as well probably trying to meet other singles. How they do it is beyond me. My wife and whoever else I needed to talk to had to go outside because you simply can’t hear over the music and noise in these places.

Young folks, please tell me how you deal with that! I know I am old and crotchety but I simply cannot stand having my ears assaulted by someone screaming into a microphone, amplified by huge loudspeakers right next to where I happen to be. What ever happened to Dancing in the Dark or Smoke Gets in Your Eyes?

If all this new stuff happened in the past 10 years or so what will the next 20 or 30 bring? Perhaps we will evolve to be born with memory slots in our foreheads and USB holes in our ears; maybe they will implant a SIMM card like a Pacemaker under our skin with everything we ever learned stored on it. Then we could pass it on to our kids so they wouldn’t have to go to school. Imagine the savings on future school budgets.

Oh well, get my walker ready with a couple of tennis balls on the feet and I will scoot on out of here, go home, have a “Metamucil on the rocks” and leave you young whippersnappers to have fun!

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