Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The perils of digitalia

What do you think of Facebook? Does it light your candle? On the one hand you’ll never be lonely again – at least digitally? On the other, you could end up with so many friends a little solitary in Sing-Sing might seem enticing.

I, myself, have way more than 10,000 amigos between Black 47, Celtic Crush, and sundry other pursuits – for all the good it does me. I even have “pirate” sites where mysterious benefactors cavalierly bestow my friendship to every Tom, Dick and Harry.

And yet I can’t say I feel the least bit more loved, cherished or understood; in fact, I would hide in doorways from many digital friends were I lucky enough to see them coming.

My first experience with social digitalia was Myspace - once the hottest thing since fried bread, now akin to admitting you once wore bellbottoms.

My record company of the time figured it was time for me to “digitally reach out” and a young eager executive hooked me up. To my amazed delight Andrea Corr was the first person to solicit my friendship.

For some years previous I had harbored a secret desire to be transferred from Black 47 to The Corrs in exchange for the good-looking brother. I could add a little edge to the sisters and Black 47 would acquire a handsome, non-political Irishman. Not to mention I would end up lip to lip on the microphone with the gorgeous Andrea.

The young eager executive however soon burst this romantic notion by tartly noting that Andrea more than likely didn’t know me from a hole in the wall – that her flirty approach was all the doing of her digital marketing manager.

Such is life in the fast lane! Still, I liked MySpace. You could choose a wide variety of friends and feature16 of them on your page. At one point I had James Connolly, Michael Collins and The Blessed Virgin as my top three; though, I worried about claiming familiarity with Jesus’ mom for fear she’d run into my own mother in heaven and complain about the cheek of me.

I’m glad Facebook doesn’t have a spot for one’s 16 favorite people – think of the bruised feelings. In fact this whole brave new world of communication is fraught with peril and pitfalls.

An agent told me he once lost his most valued client, gaining grey hairs into the bargain, by hitting “reply all” when giving his honest assessment of the sanity and sexual preferences of said client.

My own problems have more to do with the ubiquitous cell-phone. What a godsend though to babblers whose most frequent inquiry/demand/accusation appears to be – “where are you?”

Now lest you are unaware, New York City’s violent lunatics have one trait in common – they either talk to themselves or some higher being. Unfortunately, with so much inane cell phone chatter it’s hard to identify the real deal anymore.

One such character was conversing with Jesus in Lower Manhattan recently though I mistakenly assumed that he was just another deluded yuppie given to swearing through some invisible wireless device. I should have noticed that he reverently cocked both eye and ear while deciphering the Good Lord’s reply.

Without missing a beat in his tête-à-tête with the Almighty he unleashed a left hook that would have sent John Duddy running for the hills. As it whistled past the tip of my nose he yelled, “Hallelujah!” in a cackle not unlike Ron Paul celebrating the demise of the Fed. Luckily his fist’s trajectory through thin air threw him off balance and I was able to beat a tactical retreat.

Had I been digitally sensitive I would have immediately alerted my more than 10,000 friends about my brush with eternity. Instead, relief and the need of comforting sent me scurrying to the nearest pub where I breathlessly related my tale to the sympathetic bartender who backed up my pint with a much-appreciated shot of Black Bushmills.

Now that’s what I call a real friend. Yes, indeed, the bird in the hand is worth the more than10,000 in the digital bush!

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