I didn’t use social media until I turned 50 two Fridays ago.
I do not have a Facebook page.
My husband called me over to the computer on my birthday to show me what he’d put on his page (being a university teacher, he has to keep up with the cool kids).
He had posted that his “wonderful wife, who doesn’t have time for this Facebook foolishness, turns 50. … Please take a second to post a message to her, and she will probably find it when she’s creeping on my page.”
I really do not creep, which is just looking at everybody’s postings without having a page, hardly ever. (I “liked” Pottery Barn once trying to win a contest, and it showed up on my husband’s page with his profile photo, and he wasn’t too thrilled.)
So, I sat down and started reading the responses to his message. Twenty-one people liked the message! I got several “happy birthday” wishes, including people I haven’t heard from in years: the ex-husband of one of my best friends from college, a couple we used to hang out with a lot; my husband’s best friend from high school, who has remarried and who said his wife turns 50 on Sept. 25; my husband’s former fraternity brothers, who probably don’t remember me but were being nice because it’s David.
One of his current students said we go “way back” and need to get together again. “Who’s that?” I asked my husband. “You met him at Lee’s wedding; he’s the guy with all the hair.” Oh, yeah. Cool.
I got a shout-out from a guy I know from community arts who was in the play The Nerd with me, and he wished Tandy a happy birthday, my name in the play. That brought back fun memories. His wife posted that she’s turning 50 this month, so happy birthday, Carla!
I got encouragement from a former colleague at the first newspaper where I worked. She said, “The first half century has gone pretty well, don’t you think? Hope the next 50 brings you health, happiness … and grandchildren!”
I second that, but I’d add “marriages” before grandchildren.
One of my favorite former bosses cracked me up with his comment: “Well, turning 50 beats getting eaten by a shark, I guess.”
I never hear about a shark attack that I don’t think of him. He always contended that it was ridiculous how people where shocked about those attacks: “Sharks live in the ocean! You’re in their home,” he’d say, or words to that effect.
My mom even posted a baby picture of me and a photo from my celebration at work — she’s all about Facebook.
We went to Jonesboro for a weekend of celebrating (which included chocolate and shoe shopping, so it pretty much was Nirvana), and I didn’t check my husband’s Facebook page again.
Then I got worried. Would all those wonderful people who wished me “happy birthday” think I was rude? Should I have responded already?
My husband said I shouldn’t worry. “It’s Facebook,” he said. Whatever that means.
When we got home on Labor Day, I sat down that night to thank everyone for helping make my birthday special with their messages.
My husband warned me to keep it short — people don’t like long Facebook posts, he said.
We attached a picture of my birthday party with my mom and nephew in it. I obsessed about the photo (ooh, my arm looks fat; you can see my gray roots) and then wished later I’d added a photo of the cute fondant newspaper on top of the cake.
I sat and read new postings, took an Associated Press current-events quiz someone had posted, looked at friends’ Facebook pages and, 30 minutes later, I found myself on a page reading about someone I’ve never met in my life.
This, I told my husband, is one more reason why I don’t need to be on Facebook.
My 23-year-old told me a few months ago that he’d help me create a Facebook page because, if nothing else, it would give me a column.
Thanks, but I wrote one anyway. I think I’ll stick with occasional no-obligation creeping.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.