Pity for those beyond the pale

The phrase “beyond the pale” dates back to the 14th century, when the part of Ireland that was under English rule was delineated by a boundary made of such stakes or fences, and known as the English Pale. To travel outside of that boundary, beyond the pale, was to leave behind all the rules and institutions of English society, which the English modestly considered synonymous with civilization itself. (Urban Dictionary)

I tremble for my husband.
He isn’t on facebook.
I try—you won’t believe how I try—to keep him current. Relevant. Self-aware and safe. But he insists on existing in that nether-world outside the protection of social media.

“Don’t lock the car with the remote!” I holler as he points the fob at the vehicle. “Always lock manually because facebook says thieves are nearby and can copy the code on their cell-phone. Or something.”

The man is clueless about how to detect a two-way mirror in a public restroom or bedbugs on a hotel mattress.
Without facebook via his wife, he wouldn’t know that potatoes aren’t—no, are—wait, maybe aren’t, good for him.
He doesn’t know the color of his personality, what state suits him best, or which Disney Princess he is.
Poor guy. He thinks vinegar only has one use and looks at baking soda in the same way. ALL THE TIME. He throws away toilet paper tubes instead of saving them to use for THIS awesome hack.

Does he know the clean joy of watching a dyslexic octogenarian juggle Polident tablets while catching a wave on his handcrafted surfboard and singing ‘Let it Go’ backwards?
He does not.
Never will he have the satisfaction of liking twenty baby photos, seven memes, a half-dozen happy statuses, two political rants and a dancing baby elephant, all in five minutes.

I’ve given up hoping he’ll learn how to fold a fitted sheet or t-shirt in under three seconds, because three of his friends shared the youtube demonstrations yesterday.
He won’t even try to turn a 2×4 and a laundry basket into the greatest child’s toy ever.

Without me he would not know who is pregnant, engaged, in a relationship, or complicated.
What if I go away for a few days? Who will fill him in?
Would you believe that he has actually and in person MET everyone he calls ‘friend?”

How can his magnanimity grow when he doesn’t even know one Human of New York?
I myself, virtually acquainted with oodles of New York Humans, am magnanimous to the core.

Secretly I am often relieved he never has to worry that if he doesn’t share This Post he isn’t a patriotic, red-blooded Bible Believer.
Anxiety at being the only person not performing the Cold Water Challenge will never gnaw at him.
He needn’t fret that photos of his grandchildren being adorable don’t get anywhere near as many likes as those of Prince Charles’s grandchildren.

It follows that he never experiences overwhelming guilt at wasting spending thirty-five minutes catching up on the facebook news feed.
I could almost envy him that extra time every day.
Then I remember.
I have 401 friends who are waiting for my likes, comments, birthday wishes and shares. Those relationships take time.

How can I begrudge a man with no basic understanding of his personality type? (He’s ESTP-T. I took the test for him.)
The man is blessed with a wife who knows how to unstick a lid using half a tennis ball, hold a nail in place with a clothespin and clean headlights with toothpaste. All thanks to facebook.

Which also tells me how to survive a bear attack.
Face it.
The man needs the protection only facebook and his wife can provide.

Writing without widgets

I am a rock. I am an island.
(Simon and Garfunkel ‘I am a Rock’)

That is me. An rock of oblivion and an island of inflexibility
standing firm in the raging torrent of social media.
Here’s the thing about rocks and islands.
We don’t stand firm because we are strong
and steadfast and resolute.
We are stuck.
Have you ever seen an island pull up stakes to follow the crowd?
And rocks. Not known for trendiness.

Several years ago I thought it would be fun to start writing a book.
Once I got some impetus going I thought it would be fun to finish it.
What could be more fun than finishing a book?
Submitting it to a publisher!
Oh! Oh!
And then getting it published!
Having family and friends buy it!
This rolling stone was gathering no moss.

Until, in a parallel universe—the actual one—I came to realize that the rolling, moss-shedding author
was a temporary illusion.
The real me is the unmoving rocky island with roots to the center of the earth.
An atoll (there are very few synonyms for ‘island’) who is learning that writers eventually  run out of family and friends to purchase one’s book. The glorious ‘I am a published author’ ride
hits the rocks.
And one needs to

Promotion is double horror for a rock and an island:
One needs to be confident and outgoing. Creative and fearless. Rocks are not known for these qualities. We prefer to blend into the scenery and have people sit on us.

And one needs to have moved from newspaper interviews/genteel bookstore readings and into Twitter feeds and author pages and likes on Facebook and blog widgets and avatars and all the things islands just can’t cope with.

But the world of social media and self-promotion is lapping at my rocky shores.
I’ve cajoled and convinced everyone I know to buy my book and I can’t make new friends or relatives fast enough to generate glowing book sales.

So I’ll do what I can to appear that I am busily promoting, without actually moving.

I wrote a book folks! A suspense/romance mystery!
It’s called ‘Winter Watch’ and my real name (really) is Anita Klumpers
Publisher: Prism Book Group
Available in paperback and ebook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords
and various other online sites.
That didn’t hurt a bit.
But my editor is heading this way with a few sticks of TNT.
My island days are numbered.
Look for bits and pieces of my rocky self bobbing along in the social media world,
gasping out tweets and hanging onto a widget for dear life.