This morning I briefly considered replying to all those Happy Birthday wishes with a message alerting them that by clicking on the link they had made a donation to a Political Action Group in support of underage drinking, complete with an address to a fake website filled with affirmations encouraging a lifetime of bad choices.
Of course I didn't do it. 'Why alienate more people', is what I thought as I stood in the kitchen suspiciously eyeing the bowl of steel cut oats I was tempted to top off with the rest of last nights kung pao chicken.
I 've spent half a century running my mouth about things that generally piss people off and keeping any remaining folks at arm's length. Perhaps it was this bit of insight that led me to decide I was going to spend less time on Facebook and more real time in pursuit of actual relationships with those around me.
To satisfy that goal I turned on my computer and asked my FB friends if anyone wanted to be a pen pal. Yes, the habit of young children in which you practice phrases in other languages or compare what your state is like to theirs. At fifty I wanted someone to write letters to.
Of, course I hadn't written a real letter in years. It was easy when you were a kid.
"Hello. Je m'apelle Robert. My favorite color is blue and I like to read comic books."
Not so easy to do as an adult. After a lifetime of Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart I know longer understand what constitutes the shades of the spectrum. Though I may not have realized it when I took the leap from eight Crayola's to the big box that had actual silver and gold crayons it was a pivotal moment in life. Perhaps it was just the first step in a lifetime obsessive behavior that sometimes manifests itself in the paint chip wall at Lowe's. Now I can only express myself in tonal qualities that reflect exotic locations and questionable fruit.
"I love your living room, what colors did you use?"
"It's Casablanca Cigar with a touch of Opium Den. The trim is Dragonfruit"
"Is that the one with the little spikes? Aren't they poisonous if you don't cook them?"
And that's how I end up wasting an entire afternoon researching dragonfruit instead of writing letters. Inevitably it led to videos of botflies hatching and cats riding motorbikes.
After that I discovered there is a new electronic journal that you can spend time emoting to. It's programmed to ask you questions like, "Why do you feel that way?" and "What will you do about that when you see that person next." I don't want a journal that I can't lie to. This is not the future I'm interested in. I think a return to the best qualities of the past is what will really enrich my life.
That's why I've decided to write all my letters on parchment paper with a feather quill.