the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Three Very Minor Online Vignettes

A couple of weeks ago, I promised that I would never write another post about blogging because I wanted to be considered a real writer who reflects on the world around me, a modern day journalist/essayist/poet/dramatist using his unique voice to bring you my fascinating perspective on the great issues of the day.   I certainly don’t want to be known as the gimmicky hack who uses the “interview experiment” to blind you to the fact that I’m not writing anything interesting.

Well, as you know, I have a large female readership. And if there is one way that I can be of educational value is to teach women about the culture of men.

Rule #1 – Men LIE!

I announced that  I wasn’t going to write about my online world anymore, and I meant it at the time, but in the same way that your husband said he would never think of another woman naked when he married you.

I do have some real posts somewhere in my head, but I am just not in the mood to write about them. Do you really want to hear about the argument I had with Sophia after we received a letter from the IRS about some unpaid taxes? If yes, too bad. It isn’t a weekend-type post, unless you a manic depressive.

I am going to call this post “Three Very Minor Online Vignettes” because basically, they don’t even deserve to be called anything better, like real “stories.”

1)   The Yahoo Messenger Pop-Up

Yesterday, I went on Yahoo messenger, and this thing-a-ma-gig popped up.

yahoo

This pop-up interested in me in several ways.

Let’s start from the bottom, going up. There is a photo of a woman, with a tagline that reads “Totally You. Your sites. Your friends. Your whatever.”  Clever. It is great that Yahoo wants to personalize my IM experience.

Now, let’s look up examine the top section where the weather is listed. It says that it is 60 degrees in Sunnyvale, CA. This is personalized for me.   Of course, I live 3000 miles away.

Whatever.

What is more disturbing is the fortune cookie-type statement written under the overly-friendly, bold-lettered “Hi, Neil!”

“A sloth spends 80% of its life sleeping.”

WTF? Is this my own personalized Yahoo message, dissing me as a lazy sloth?  How did Yahoo know that I took that half hour nap yesterday?  Where did this message come from?  Who is writing it?  Is this supposed to be inspiring? Did Sophia hack into my Yahoo account?

As for the advertisement in the middle, do I even need to bother commenting on it? Does this advertiser really thing that this boringly-suggestive Axe advertisement appeals to the horny male demographic?

“Girls Prefer Dry Guys.”

First of all, is this true? As a man of science, I asked several of my female friends, and the answer is “no.”  I’m also not convinced that all woman are going to be happy if her man’s dick is shaped like that ridiculous phallic Axe Dry Bottle.

Why do companies try to sell men products in phallic bottles? I mean, unless you are gay and are into other men’s phallic objects? Wouldn’t it be smarter to have deodorant bottles that look like purses or flowers, or shaped like kittens, or just something vagina-like?

That is a deodorant I might use.

I don’t have to be Don Draper from Mad Men to know that “Girls Prefer Dry Guys” is one awful advertising slogan.


2)    The Accidental Comments

I’ve been getting a good amount of spam lately, novel-size messages about pharmaceuticals that I can buy cheap in Russia.   Last week, I decided to do some internal cleaning as the “administrator” of my WordPress blog.

As I was deleting some items, I mistakenly checked the “all” button, and deleted fifteen of your comments from an old post.   This is not a big deal, because like we all know, very few readers ever come back to old posts.   Still, I was upset.  You liked this post.  You said it was “hilarious.”   Let’s face it, we all have an ego, and no man wants to have comments that glorify him as a comedic genius disappear into cyberspace.   Luckily, I receive emails whenever I receive a comment, so I still had copies in my email archives.   I decided to reproduce all of your blog comments verbatim in the comment section of the post, and no one would know the difference.

It was a time-consuming process.

What I didn’t realize was that when you are signed into your WordPress account, the blog plugs your own name into the commenter slot when you make a comment, even if you say that you are someone else.   It must know your own IP address.

I was completely unaware that my sidebar was beginning to look like this —

amypost

It wasn’t until an hour later, that I noticed that every single one of these wonderful comments looked like I wrote them to MYSELF!  I could already hear others saying:

“This asshole is so desperate for affection that he makes up all his own comments!”

I quickly dove back into my blog post archives and changed all the names back to the original names.

Really. That is true. I have never written a fake comment to myself.

OK, that is a lie.   When I first started blogging, when I didn’t get any comments, I sometimes wrote “Great Post!” to myself.

3)   THE FACEBOOK FRIEND SUGGESTION

I hope Jenny Lauck will not get upset by this story. I do not know Jenny Lauck, but I know several of YOU do.

How do I know that?

Because for several months, she was always in the first slot of my Facebook “Suggested Friends” page.

If you aren’t on Facebook, I should explain what that means.   On Facebook, you become “friends” with other, uh, Facebookers.   After awhile, Facebook becomes like an incestuous Ponzi scheme, and the application recommends that you become friends with the friends of your friends, so eventually you have no idea why you have 3000 friends.

facebook

Facebook preys on your insecurity and your need to be loved.   Facebook will tell you that this stranger is best buddies with “38 of Your Friends,” making you feel like a loser.  Sometimes, you are even banned from seeing their information or photos.  You imagine all of your friends at a wild online party where everyone is invited… except for you.

Half of my blogging friends are Facebook friends with Jenny Lauck.  Whenever I would log onto Facebook, her name would taunt me.  I felt inadequate, and even using  Axe Dry couldn’t help me rebuild my confidence.

One night, I had a dream about Jenny Lauck.   Let me rephrase that.  It wasn’t a dream about HER, but her name from Facebook.   I didn’t know what she looked like.  The dream was about the words “Jenny Lauck.”   I had seen these words so many times on my Facebook account, that they were ingrained in my mind.   I don’t remember the specific of the dream, but I was looking at a piece of paper that contained the words “Jenny Lauck,” and there was some some cryptic importance to this moment.

At some point, I discovered that if I clicked on her name on the suggested friends list, I could make it fade into the background, only to be replaced by another friend of friends.   This was a relief to me, because the spell was broken.  I might not be her friend, but at least I didn’t have it shoved in my face every day.

About a month ago, a group of mommybloggers were flown into New York to preview some fancy sort of blender. The event was at the Mandarin Oriental.  Although I wasn’t invited, I tip-toed in at the end of lunch, mostly to see my friend Sarcastic Mom.   No one in the room seemed to notice that I was a crasher, so I decided to help myself to a piece of cake on the center table.   There was another woman already there, taking food.   She was wearing a badge with her name.   It read “Jenny Lauck.”

I wanted to say something, but my tongue was frozen.   It was her.   I ran back to Sarcastic Mom, like a little boy to his, well, Sarcastic Mom.

“That’s Jenny Lauck!”

“Yeah, so?”

I told her the story about how her name was always on my Facebook suggested friends page, about how her name began to haunt me, and how I even had a dream about her name!

“Should I go over and tell her this story?” I asked Sarcastic Mom, rather excitedly.

“No.” she said. “Not if you don’t want her to take out a restraining order.”

I never spoke to her that day.

Can someone who knows Jenny Lauck, please tell her that I am normal?

28 Comments

  1. Gunfighter

    Hey, I know Mishi Lane! What a sweetie.

  2. Aunt Becky

    Whatever, you were totally leaving yourself comments.

  3. Heather

    “This comment is sponsored by one of your Heathers” again…
    BWAHAHAAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

  4. slouchy

    This totally cracked me up.

    –Neil on Three Very Minor Online Vignettes

  5. Mamie

    I am not sure what this sAys about us, but my husband and I just had a totally awesome laugh over this post. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just that it is Friday night, you know? And we are reading blog posts, or really I am reading it to him.

    Thanks for the laugh, Neil. Have a great weekend.

  6. Chris Hoke

    “Vignettes”? How very fancy. Seriously, though, ladies: guys lie. Example: My wife asked me how she looked yesterday and I told her “very nice”, when in fact she looked “incredibly ravishing”.

    I can almost hear your collective female readership going “AWWWWWWWWWW!”

    And then we boned.

  7. kenju

    One time my husband took issue with something I wrote about him on my blog, and he decided to leave a comment refuting it. Little did he know it would looks as though I had made the comment…
    LOL…I deleted it!!

  8. kelly

    Don’t knock your vignette approach – it’s awesome, most of us can only concentrate for 30 seconds before we begin humming the Geico freaky money beat anyway. So sad. Did I mention I love the vignette!?

  9. kelly

    A Haiku for J. Lauck

    Jenny Lauck say hi
    I am too shy to greet you
    I blame my parents

  10. Juli Ryan

    The same thing happened to me on Facebook with Kirk Herbstreit. After a few months, I finally found the button to make Kirk disappear. MONTHS!

  11. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

    I know Jenny, but I am going to tell her that I think you are stalking her.

    You know, just for sport.

  12. Niqui

    LOL. Thanks for the giggle.

  13. Denise

    Love the friend suggestion, I hope she stops by and introduces herself.

  14. teahouseblossom

    That’s pretty funny. In a parallel universe, you and Jenny Lauck would be married to each other and laughing about all of the other Facebook people who aren’t your Friends, while you sit at your summer home on the beach and sip Perrier.

  15. Annie

    Very funny Neil :-). I needed a good laugh this week. xoxo

  16. Pearl

    Ad, fail. 🙂

    facebook gets creepier. mom in a box…

    Pity your friend with only 19 friends. help them. suggest friends. Or, make Facebook a better place for X. Write on X’s wall. Or you haven’t contactd Y in some time.

  17. Blaiser

    We could fuse this post with the Great Interview Experiment, and all attempt to FB friend the person in front of us at the next catering table we crash.

  18. Margaret (Nanny Goats)

    OK, first you talk about fake tweeting and now fake commenting? Will your genius ever end?

    And I keep hearing (or seeing, rather) Jenny Lauck’s name too.

  19. Average Jane

    I’m rather disappointed to see that Jenny Lauck has not yet commented on this post.

  20. amanda

    I stopped reading after the naked bit. Don’t shatter my perfect world, Neil.

  21. Momma Sunshine

    Well, Neil, you know, everyone has their own definition of “normal”.

    And for the record, I prefer my men sweaty. That’s normal, right?

  22. followthatdog

    Neil, Even if I knew Jenny Lauck I wouldn’t be able to help you out on this one. See, unlike your rule #1 Women more or less try not to lie.

  23. WebSavyMom

    –>Don’t worry. We know that if you were really making up comments they’d be WAY More provocative. ha!

    ~deb
    http://www.websavymom.com

  24. WackyMummy

    I hope to god you do a series of online vignettes. I could use this kind of entertainment regularly.

    P.S. Wouldn’t it be weird if Jenny Lauck wrote in your comments?

  25. Maggie, dammit

    I’m Facebook friends with Jenny Lauck. Nanananabooboo!

  26. Karen Murphy

    Facebook wants me to be friends with Jenny Lauck too. I think Facebook has a crush on Jenny Lauck.

  27. The Infamous Jenny Lauck

    Oh. My. GAH. This made me laugh so hard. Imma go friend your ass right now (and next time, say hello. I totally do not bite, which is probably why I come so highly recommended by FaceBook. Hah!)

  28. Y

    Jenny Lauck is not only my Facebook Friend, she’s also my boss.

    I’ll let her know.

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