It was a very long day off for me today. You would THINK that would involve more loafing, but really I did a million billion things. I even made a LIST of things to do. And have checked off almost everything on the list. A couple things fell through the cracks but I try not to beat myself up too much about such a thing. I’m too old to hate on myself.
Let’s talk about technology, shall we? In particular: Facebook. And: Amy’s Brother.
Now, Amy’s Brother does not get discussed much here because Amy’s Brother is not a fan of the interwebs. Or of technology. Amy’s Brother likes things like four-wheelers and the woods and hunting for furry animals with guns. (Or also feathery animals. When it comes to shooting things, fur or feathers! We do not discriminate.) Amy’s Brother is also quite intelligent, however, and knows many large words and watches intelligent television. So I guess he’s kind of like an enigma.
Amy’s Brother never had a cellphone. Well, he DID, but that was a long time ago. When he moved to my parents’ town, he got rid of the cell phone. I think he might have had a Tracfone that didn’t text. We don’t talk much. Not out of hatred, just because we don’t. We live very different lives.
About a month ago, my dad sent me an email saying “your brother wants your number am i allowd to give it to him or do you thikn he is a kiler?” (I might have made up some of of those misspellings. But Dad does not use a lot of capital letters in email. I think he’s saving them for a rainy day.) See, for a while, Dad was giving my phone number or email address to everyone in the land, including SOME OF MY DIREST ENEMIES. So we had a serious talk called, “Dad, you have to ask before you just give out my personal information; I need to know I’m not going to get a phone call I dread in my house, which is my safe place. It’s why I have an unlisted number.” Dad actually LISTENED to me for once (I think that’s because I used my MOST SERIOUS VOICE) and has been very careful (some might say overly careful) ever since. So yes, he emailed me to ask if it was ok to give my number to my only sibling.
I said, “yes, here’s my cell number and email address he can use, but why would he want my number, doesn’t he have it?” and what he wanted was my CELL PHONE NUMBER. What? Why?
“your borther has texting now on his celphone” said Dad.
So a few days passed and I got a random text with a photo of my brother standing on a stump with a gun and a wolf near him? So I texted back and said, “I’m going to hope this is you, bro, otherwise someone’s sending me photos of you with a wild animal” and when I asked my dad, “Um. Why’s there a wolf?” Dad explained that my brother has a friend with a pet wolf. I find that suspect. I like wolves so so much, but I don’t think they’re pets any more than crocodiles or tigers are pets. Stop thinking wild animals are pets, yo.
But Amy’s Brother did not text me back but then my dad said, “Your brother’s been trying to email you but YOU GAVE US A FALSE EMAIL” and I said “Why would I give you a false email address?” and Dad said “I DO NOT KNOW” and then come to find out that what my brother thought was a “1” was a lowercase “l” and then Dad yelled at me for trying to trick people. You know. As I do.
Mostly after the yelling stopped I said, “WHEN DID MY BROTHER GET EMAIL?”
Apparently he got a LAPTOP recently and HAS EMAIL NOW. Good gracious.
So I convinced Dad to give me my brother’s email address so I could email HIM first so I DID and then I waited and waited and then he finally wrote back but it was a very short email and then he said “this very short electronic transmission took me 35 minutes to type” and that made me laugh.
Amy’s Brother is not the best at emailing. He only wrote to me one time.
But THEN, the other morning when I woke UP, I had a notification on my phone.
“Amy’s Brother added you as a friend on Facebook.”
WHAT IS THIS BLACK MAGIC? My brother HATES Facebook. And you know what he thinks of the Internet People. He thinks you are all rapists. Or people with one hand. RAPISTS OR PEOPLE WITH ONE HAND!
So I friended my brother. Of course I did. Who doesn’t friend their brother?
Then I realized, yay, photos of The Nephew I hadn’t seen! Then I realized, oh, those photos and everything on his timeline is public so ALL THE RAPISTS WITH ONE HAND ARE LOOKING AT THE NEPHEW RIGHT NOW!
(I’m weird about Facebook privacy settings. I lock my shit down. I’m even weird about commenting on public pages, because then everyone can see you. I know. Leave me alone.)
So I emailed my brother. “Dear brother. Listen to your sister and mark everything friends only or at least friends of friends because right now you have everything public and that means pervs. I don’t think you want that. I love your face.”
Apparently his friend who got him on Facebook was all “PSHAW!” so he was going to leave it alone until my mom and dad were all “LISTEN TO YOUR SISTER SHE LIVES ON THE INTERNET!” so he actually called my phone and left me a voicemail all “Apparently we need to talk about privacy settings? Because I don’t know what that means. So call me when you get home. But not now. I am going to sleep now. Because I was up all night on the internet.”
Hee! It sucked him in. SUCKED! HIM! IN!
So I called him when I got home. Now this is kind of groundbreaking because my brother and I have talked on the phone probably 10 times in our LIVES. I know some of you people are super-close to your siblings. I am not. It is a sad point in my life. So I was kind of as nervous as if it was a blind date. But, you know, without the naughtytalk.
So we talked – and I am not kidding – for AN HOUR AND A HALF. I had to eat dinner while we were on the phone. It wasn’t all about the Book of Faces. We talked about The Nephew and my brother’s life and all the things. It was actually kind of nice. Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I might have gotten a little emotional. Because I like having a sibling. I’d like it even more if I talked to him more like people do.
So we FINALLY got to the Facebook stuff. Things I told my brother:
- how to set all his future posts to “friends only”
- how to retroactively set his posts and photos to “friends only”
- how to block people, if he needs to do so
His response to these things:
- Why would I block anyone? I can’t imagine that would ever be a thing I would need to do. (Aw, little brother. You live in such a happy rainbow land. I wish I was there with you. I have QUITE a block list going on.)
My most laughy moment happened when I was trying to explain to him the difference between “public” and “private.”
Me: So if your post has a little Earth at the bottom, it’s public, but if it has a little man, or a man with a man over his shoulder, it’s friends or friends of friends.
Brother: What’s an Eark?
Me: An Earth? It’s…I don’t know. An Earth. You know. Earth?
Me: Earth? Like the planet? We live on? Planet Earth?
Brother: OH. EARTH.
Me: What the hell did you think I was saying?
Me: Why would I say Eark? Eark isn’t even a word.
Brother: I thought it was like the sound a car makes if you brake too hard. EARK!
Me: Yes. Facebook puts a photo of you braking too hard next to their posts that everyone can see. Because that makes a lot of sense.
Also, added bonus content: what Amy’s Brother thinks of Facebook!
“Facebook is confusing. But also awesome. I have like ONE HUNDRED FRIENDS. I am friends with people from COLLEGE and SCHOOL and from when I lived out WEST and ALL THE PEOPLE. And I am TALKING to the people! And they are talking to me! But it takes up a lot of TIME. You have to approve all the friend requests. And answer everyone’s comments. And post a lot of photos. And look at things people have on their pages. How do you people keep up with all of this?”
I told him after a while, you learn to ignore it most of the time, and it’s really only super-exciting for the first couple months or so. After that, it’s just a thing you have, like a phone, or the clap.
“What do you do about all the emails?” my brother asked.
“The millions of emails Facebook sends you. I can’t even find my REAL email because I have like 100 emails from Facebook. How do you deal with this?”
“I turned off the email function.”
“YOU CAN DO THAT?!”
So I then taught him how to do that. He was pleased.
“How many friends do YOU have?” Brother asked.
“I don’t let anyone see that. I don’t feel it’s anyone’s business.”
“I’m not anyone. Do you have more or less than me?”
“More right now. But at the rate you’re going, you’ll beat me soon.”
“You’ve been on Facebook forever. Why don’t you have more friends?”
“Because I mostly hate people?”
“Oh. Well, that makes sense, I suppose.”
Then we got off the phone and he called me a little later VERY UPSET because even though he followed my directions to the letter, his photos were still showing up to his friend who has “a number of secret accounts that no one knows about in other people’s names.”
“Well, first, tell him that’s totally shady and ask him why he’s being a creeper. And second, what photos are showing up?”
We ascertained it was the photos he had used for his profile and cover photo, and I explained those were ALWAYS public, and everything else was fine.
“How do I make it so no one sees what you wrote on my wall and people can’t ‘like’ what you wrote?”
“You can’t. That’s just Facebook.”
“What? PEOPLE CAN SEE ALL OF THIS?”
“OMG, yes. You didn’t know that?”
“I thought it was like MAIL.”
“Heh, no. If you want mail, you click on that little cartoon bubble in the middle left up there.”
“Oh, someone sent me a message in there, but I didn’t know why she didn’t just write it on my wall.”
“Because she wanted it to be private and she knows how Facebook works.”
“Ah,” said my brother, who may be finally understanding that, for once, his big sister is a handy resource for something.
He also gave me the following VERY EXPLICIT WARNING:
“Some people are friends on Facebook with people they don’t even KNOW! Can you imagine? Isn’t that CRAZY? If you were ever friends with anyone like that, you should unfriend them. Because you don’t know. They could be KILLERS.”
“So if I haven’t met them, I don’t know them?”
“Yes, of course.”
“If I unfriended all the people I haven’t met, I’d have like half the friend list. And I know those people just fine. And sometimes I meet them and they’re lovely. I met my friend from Finland in New York City last month.”
“That doesn’t make sense. He’s in FINLAND and was in NEW YORK CITY? Something doesn’t add up here.”
“He was in New York for business. People do such things.”
Brother was skeptical. “Dad says you are GOING to Finland.”
“Yep. Going there next summer.”
“Hmm. Well, I guess maybe SOME of them aren’t killers.”
He didn’t sound like he believed it, though.
SO! This has been a very event-filled week. Amy’s Brother has discovered the interwebs! I told him it was only a matter of time before he started tweeting and blogging and Instagramming and he said “I would ask what’s wrong with you but I’ve known you a long time and I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that.” I didn’t ask what that meant.
So, if anyone asks you if pigs flew this week, you can say yes. Yes, they did. I know. It’s hard to believe, but the future has caught up to my brother. Now, if we could only get Amy’s Dad off dialup…
…OK, I guess some of those pigs are still grounded. You can’t expect MIRACLES, people.
(Psst, the calendar informs me today is Eark Day. HAPPY EARK DAY. If you’re going to stop quickly, be sure the roadway is not slippery or you could slide into someone. What? What’s that? It’s EARTH Day? Oh. Dammit. Nevermind. Recycle or something. Carry on.)