Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Hobbies of Hotties

Most of the time I’ve been writing For All In Tents and Porpoises, it’s seemed that nobody’s reading it. It’s disheartening, but no one said life would easy, or even endurable. So imagine my surprise when someone who turned out to be an avid reader, if not a public Follower, phoned me with a job offer the day after I complained here about my problems with Facebook.

You may recall that Facebook had taken, nearly every time I sent someone a friend request, to bellowing Warning! You are engaging in behavior that may be considered annoying or abusive by other users. Facebook's systems determined that you were going too fast when adding friends. You must significantly slow down. Further misuse of site features may result in a temporary block or your account being permanently disabled. You may recall further that my friend-adding ability had been suspended for up to 96 hours at a time because of my implacable gregariousness.

My caller took pains to point out that he wasn’t an actual Facebook employee, but an independent subcontractor, one of tens of thousands Facebook hires around the world each month. I was to understand that the views he expressed weren’t Facebook’s, but his own. It sounded as though he were either reading a prepared statement, or reciting one he’d memorized, and as though he might be winking. In any event, he was in the business of recruiting people to visit in person those who’d persisted in abusing their Facebook privileges for purposes of persuading them to reconsider their behavior.

Reading between the lines, I understood that my role was to be directly analogous to that of the slick-haired, toothpick-chewing guy who presents himself in slightly too-fashionable attire at a restaurant or bar, say, and muses to the owner, “Nice little place you got here. I’d hate to see it burned to the ground some night.”

My prospective employer — I’ll call him “Matt” — arranged for me to visit his tailor to be fitted for a Carlo Bruttini suit, for which he would pay. I would, though, have to arrange for my own pomade and facial scar. When I pointed out that I have an ugly scar from my shoulder replacement surgery 15 years ago, he pointed out that it would suffice only if I wore a wifebeater for my “visitations,” but that casual wear was strictly forbidden. With apparent disgust, he told me he’d consider waiving the facial scar requirement in my case if I’d get an ugly prison tattoo on my neck. This I arranged to do.

I and three other recruits — two Russians and an Albanian — had a little training session at which we learned, when conducting our visitations, to ask our reluctant hosts for a glass of orange or other citric juice, not because it’s packed with vitamins C and D, but because its acidity causes immobilizing discomfort when tossed in one’s eyes.

The first guy I visited, Norman K—, looked every inch an average joe in his protuberant gut, stubble, and backwards Mets cap, though “Matt” knew him to be posing on Facebook as Britaeni, a 19-year-old hotty whose principal hobby, from the look of it, was taking self-portraits with her cell phone. “She” had nearly 2200 friends, most of them under 20 and good at neither spelling nor punctuation, though I'm well aware of the argument that textmsgspeak, like African American speech, has its own unique grammar. He had no orange juice, nor grapefruit, nor even lemonade. What he had, of course, was beer — Coors — whose blinding ability turned out to be woefully deficient. Tossing it in his face only made him furious, and I was reminded that a beer belly doesn’t mean someone isn’t strong. He put me through the window of his utility room, broke my left arm in two places, and my nose, and my jaw, knocked out one tooth and loosened three others, and gave me a concussion. I had all I could do, in my significantly impaired state, to talk him out of trying to break off an old Rawlings wooden tennis racquet in my rectum.

I have decided, in view of this experience, to allow Facebook and its subcontractors to soldier on without me, and to see if I can regain my old job with either the Census Bureau or Larry Flynt Publications.

[Many of my books are now available for download from Amazon. They include The Total Babe & Other Wine Country Yarns, Lentils on the Moon (aka A Message From Jesus in Braille, aka A History of the Jews in the Hudson Valley), Self-Loathing: An Owner's Manual, Third World USA, The Mona Lisa's Brother, and, for baseball nuts, Foul Balls and Alpha Males. You need neither a Kindle nor an iPad to enjoy 'em; simply download (free) Kindle software for either Mac or Windows, and enjoy them on your laptop or other computer!]

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