One of the more exasperating aspects of Facebook is the constant tinkering with the user interface, almost never resulting in actual improvements; the current version, at least in the form it's been rolled out to me, makes it difficult to read the stuff I want to read. I suspect it's a ploy to increase usage by forcing me to jump through several hoops to get to the desired content. This sort of design should be a hanging offense.

Still, today's read did contain some high points, one of which was a birthday announcement for Number 1 grandson, who, says Facebook, is twenty-seven years old. Were that true, it would mean that his mom was pregnant at thirteen. She wasn't. Obviously the kid fudged his age when he signed up, and it's too much trouble to fix. And it apparently is too much trouble to fix: you mess with some personal settings, and all of a sudden they want a lot more personal information from you in the name of system security. Since Facebook's raison d'être is to shove as much advertising as possible at you without actually driving you away, it's probably not in Nick's interest to rework his profile. Oh, and he's nineteen; his grandmother had already posted an item about it, complete with correct age.

It occurs to me that my younger sister actually might have been pregnant at thirteen; she definitely gave birth at fourteen, and her son is now 42, so the numbers add up. (She died in 2003 at the age of 41.)

And there's a second birthday today I celebrate a bit more quietly. We met online about 1997; her capacity for deflecting the Snark-O-Meter® was at least on par with my own; we could finish each other's sentences almost from day one. "Would it be too much to hope," I asked foolishly, "that all of your wonderfulness is supported by nice legs?"

"The nicest," she replied. Elapsed time: 0.5 second. Now historically, or so it's always seemed to me, not a lot of women actually brag about the subject, even if they legitimately could. I remember when author Lionel Shriver told the Guardian:

The most fetching parts of our bodies came that way in the box. I am merely fortunate. The sculptural rhythm to these narrow ankles, full calves, and slender knees is not of my making. (Since the fundamental shapes of all our bodies are neither to our credit nor our fault, it's peculiar that we ever conflate our looks and our selves.) After all, when someone else is generous and tasteful enough to give you well-proportioned wine glasses for Christmas, the appropriate response is gratitude, not arrogance. So for me to submit that I was blessed with fine stemware is not a boast.

"Not a boast." And when the lady and I met in person, circa 2000, I got all the verification I could possibly hope for. And we kept in touch until ... what is this, Saturday?

No trip to Facebook is complete, of course, without at least one conspiracy theory. This one I'd seen before and decided was unduly silly: the notion that Michelle Obama, the First Lady for eight years — and, I note in passing, possessor of a pretty decent pair of stems — is actually some guy named Michael. Offered as evidence: a photo of Mrs O in a tightish dress which clearly outlines her, um, manhood.

Just once, I think, I'd like to see her troll these people. In 2012, Chloe Sevigny starred in Hit & Miss, the tale of a trans woman who works as a contract killer; there are a couple of full-frontal scenes which, if nothing else, demonstrated the skill of the prop department. They should be able to come up with a suitable prosthesis for Mrs O, who then would announce that she was addressing this foolish matter — "but first, let me whip this out." In my ideal scenario, she then rips it from its, um, mounting surface, hurls it into the crowd, and yells "ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?"

And who knows? It might even revive the career of King Missile.

The Vent

  10 November 2018

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