Insta-Dad: Step Away From The Social Network

 My father recently “retired” from his career as an attorney after 40 years of complaining, calling in sick, and essentially hating life. He still complains, he still hates life, and still calls out sick to things like family celebrations, so ironically, it wasn’t the career ailing him after all.

 He barely has family, he definitely has no friends. He doesn’t even have a (first or second) wife anymore . He has his kids that he enjoys torturing, he has a small Schwab account that he obsesses over, and he has (most of) his mental capacity. And a heck of a lot of free time.

 He doesn’t have an itch to travel, he wasn’t about to pick up golf. He needed to do something before he drove us all mad. So I prescribed a new pastime. A little rabbit hole called Social Media. The Facebook. The Instagram. With a little help, he soon had a profile, he had a handle, he had a new toy. Little did I know that I had armed him with a weapon of mass destruction.
Facebook was created for college students. It’s now a multi billion dollar company with hundreds of millions of users spending too much time scrolling and trolling and spying and prying. They bought Instagram for a cool $1B (highway robbery!), and many people use both tools interchangeably. But I’m not sure our nerdy boyfriend Mark Z had my dad in mind when he mad scientisted FB in his dorm room.
Alas, what does one do on Facebook when one has not a friend? Well, first, you discover a little device called a meme. And you post them indiscriminately. And you share them to your ex-wife’s wall. But only the snarkiest, nastiest, most self-hateful, messages you can dig up. You catch up on your children’s profiles over the past 8 years and comment on every picture dating back from the birth of your first born grandchild (of which there are now 6), unaware that the whole world sees these comments on the newsfeed. Such diatribes include creepy innuendos like “you are in so much trouble” regarding pics of my 6 year old niece in a bikini. Skin. Crawling.
Then you post cryptic, borderlining on sociopathic messages about cryogenically freezing Walt Disney on your oldest daughter’s wall. Seeing as how she tries to fool people into thinking she’s normal on a daily basis, she deletes it as soon as humanly possible, but her most astute friends send her screen shots of said wall post with an emoji cocktail that can only mean WTF!!?? Here I am trying to be my best self on Facebook (c’mon, you’re guilty too), and my Dad tries to ruin it all by being, well, just his true self.

And Instagram? That’s safer, right? Yes, less publicly embarrassing for sure. But why not set up a private message group with your grown children (as opposed to the 12 year old from marriage #2) and inundate them with guilt ridden rants about how we will all regret the way we treat people someday? That sounds fun! What’s next- political rants? I’m good on those for a while, thanks.

I suppose I deserve this, since it was all my half-baked idea. I’m hoping the honeymoon phase wears off and he figures out how to social network responsibly. I’m reminded of the time I had to de-friend my mom for using a picture of herself in a Santa suit on a pole as her profile pic, and now she is much more refined. But until then, I’m considering how I can distract my father, get him focused elsewhere. Pinterest perhaps? A blog to compete with #thecommutary? Updating my status to: Up For Adoption? Tempting. Very tempting.


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