I am frequently grateful for the fact that Facebook did not appear until I was well and truly aged. Not because of the fact that I would probably have been made fun of a lot by vicious grade-eight classmates who would then go on to become successful grown-ups with children and pets. Or because Facebook clearly states the number of friends you have and allows for the convenient and unfair comparing of such numbers. No - I am glad it didn't exist because I would have regularly, insistently, and publicly made an ass of myself.
1) I would have posted song lyrics.
When I was in grade eight, I had an assignment that involved public speaking. We were supposed to recite a poem or some song lyrics. "Aha!" I apparently thought. "This is my chance to show my WHOLE ENTIRE CLASS that I am sensitive, introspective and FULL OF UN-IRONIC AND HUMOURLESS PAIN." So after one guy performed "Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday" and another guy did a really quite moving and dramatic interpretation of "Parents Just Don't Understand," I proceeded to stand up and, with total sincerity, recite the words to Simon and Garfunkel's "I am a Rock." That's right. If you don't remember the lyrics off the top of your head, here are some gems: "I've built walls, / A fortress deep and mighty, / That none may penetrate. / I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain. / It's laughter and it's loving I disdain. / I am a rock, I am an island." Oh, and then there's: "I have my books / And my poetry to protect me; / I am shielded in my armour, / Hiding in my room, safe within my womb. / I touch no one and no one touches me. / I am a rock, I am an island." I concluded with a ringing, "And a rock feels no pain; / And an island never cries," and looked up, fully expecting to see that the eyes of my classmates were now wide with understanding and compassion...It went down pretty much like anyone with any sense and a passing acquaintance with fourteen year olds would expect. They laughed at me. I can't really blame them. The person I DO blame is my grade-eight teacher, WHO ALSO LAUGHED AT ME. Of course, he also brushed his eyebrows before class, so he wasn't totally credible.
If Facebook had existed when I was in grade eight, and in this alternate world I was as deluded and earnest and self-pitying as I was in the real one at that age, every other status update would have been that kind of song.
2) I would have worn clothes.
The other week, I mentioned the fact that I purchased a Ramones t-shirt in grade seven. And I did. I totally did, and I loved it, and I still have it. Unfortunately, I also had and wore other shirts at that age. I recently found a photo of myself from grade seven in which I was wearing a shirt I'm pretty sure I was pretty proud of at the time. It had some bars of Handel's Messiah on it, and it said...wait for it... "Handel With Care." I did not like this shirt in some kind of ironic, hipster way. I was probably on some level convinced that all I needed to do to win over my contemporaries was provide proof that a) I liked classical music, and b) I liked puns.
3) I would have chosen totally embarrassing and misleading profile pictures.
I am chatty. I am really quite chatty. I also used to be one of those unfortunate chatty people who do not accept and embrace their own chattiness and instead spend much of their time wishing they could be silent and French and look mysteriously out windows. I would, therefore, probably have filled Facebook with really embarrassing photos of myself looking in a wistful and longing and continental fashion out widows. (And then really disappointed people when I opened my mouth and sounded like a less charming version of the girl from Real Genius.)
If Facebook had existed when I was fourteen, this is what you would have seen: