A TBS reader explains why he’s decided to give his friends a very special birthday gift: Deletion from Facebook.
Today is Warwick Greig’s birthday. I know this because Facebook tells me this. The problem is, I no longer have any idea who he is. I know the name, but not the face.
The overexposed profile photo jogs not a memory. It shows a dog I’ve never met, it shows the shamelessly trumpeted neckline of his beau that I’ve never grasped; their whole union warmly bordered in the arms of what’s-his-name.
The whole thing is a soup can with the label taken off. Mystery soup was always on the menu. A new day brought a new birthday.
All of this was a big concern of mine. Each anonymous milestone, I tried to goose my drug-booze-angst-addled brain into the catacombs of yesterday to find the most tenuous of anecdotal references.
“Heeeeyyyyy, Lad! Chad’s house.” “Goon soldier!” or similar optimistic tosh.
Hopefully, the friendliness would sell it, y’know, consumer confidence. If I remembered, they’d believe it. If the animated thumb of approval met my manufactured memory, I figured I slipped the noose. Onto the next one.
The problem is, I have a lot of friends. Not real friends, mind you, they wouldn’t attend my funeral, or sling my obit a measly “like” of condolence, and certainly not friends I was close enough to have to lie to.
All I saw was 1,200 strangers. Something had to change.
I’ve tried the “drunk-cull.” It doesn’t work. The sheer weight of the task brought out my fiercest procrastination. Besides, how could I cut one and keep another? I don’t know these people. And what you say? Cut them all at once? It’d have no sense of occasion, it would be unfair to them—these people were dear to me once.
The solution was blindingly easy. On their birthday, I’d give them a unique gift: Deletion from Facebook.
Now, common etiquette dictates that you couldn’t wish them a “Happy Birthday!” before deletion. It would be seen as unnecessarily callous; it drags attention to the fact that the friendship is inoperable.
So what I offer is a humane solution. No more pain, now. Pausing that one last time to reflect on the memories we forgot, before quietly pulling the plug on their last birthday.
We’re in a better place now.