Facebook or die?

After I quit the social networking site, I woke up with a pep in my step, as if I'd just retired after 70 years of service at a meat-packing plant, with a huge marijuana, cat, and vibrator pension in the Bahamas

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arts@sfbg.com

CULTURE There's a party going on and I'm not there. But everyone else is, and I can see it from here — it's that warm, golden light at the end of this tunnel. The door is half open, spilling a glittery radiance into the chill darkness, as if to say: Hey, baby. Why don't you come back inside? No need to be lonely out there in the cold. My body tenses — will I move through the blackness? Will I meet the light?

Hell no. You can't make a big fuss about quitting Facebook, then come back crying. Plus, I admit I lost it toward the end — in a self-destructive fit of Facebook rage, impulsively running my mouth and hammering out declarations on absolutely anything, even cheese.

After two years of playing nice with 500 mouth-breathers all stuck on one train, a prickly impatience began to emerge, resulting in the rise of emotionally ruinous fights about burritos, white people, rape, and mites. On Facebook I witnessed a level of savagery that can only be compared to how a grizzly bear kills a man: by tearing out his chest in one clean rip of the claw. You couldn't even talk about deviled eggs without someone calling you ignorant. Like the Donner party, there was nothing left to feast on but ourselves.

I fought to stay alive amid the carnage by using Facebook as the means to disseminate inflammatory statements about castration, or to pick meaningless fights with bro-hams, particularly those who couldn't spell — then I'd leave each and every one like a bullet-ridden coyote flung over a barbed wire fence. It was, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular times of my life.

My unquestioning, slave-like allegiance to this singular corporate platform started off so pleasant: it was a giddy and polite neverending tea party with sugary treats, Seinfeld-y gosh-it's-Monday whimsy, and astute weather and slow-drip coffee observations. I got to reconnect with many wonderful people from my past, the majority of whom I guess I met in a blacked-out state. For the very first time, I learned the names of people I slept with, temped for, and still owed money to. I even made some brand-new best friends — none of whom I'll ever hear from again. But the intensely codependent commenter relationships we nurtured were beautiful and perfect — beacons of dependability in this big, scary world.

And wasn't it nice to see how the few losers I actually knew had totally cleaned up and sold out? Wasn't it inspiring to read the self-affirmations of people who had lost their dreams? Or to know that, despite how very, very extremely busy everyone claimed to be — creating great works of art, penning riveting novels, and churning out dope beats — they could still find the time to fire off a million misspelled run-on sentences about their "process" between the hours of five and seven a.m.?

Finally, I was relieved of ever having to LOL face to face again. Facebook is a pinnacle of civilization that is fully accessible while taking a dump — and there isn't a person on earth who doesn't find that reassuring. Only bums, waiters, and asexual religious martyrs don't mind being breathed on anymore.

Indeed, Facebook alleviates all pain associated with sustained eye contact, accidental brushes of the thigh, vomit splashes on the chin, moles, wrinkles, puffy eyes, and talking out loud. You can even end longstanding feuds without uttering a word by offering the passive-aggressive overture of the message-free add, or the quiet headfuck of the like. Clearly, Facebook is to friendship as Hitler is to spring.

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