E-Friends – 2022

One of the coolest side effects of our society’s relentless technology is Social Media.  It has allowed us to turn our world into one gigantic village — which means we’re all cyber-neighours.  Everybody on this planet is now one tap, swipe or click away from everybody else, and billions of us have taken advantage of this.  Think about it!  We all know someone we’ve never talked to, never touched, never smiled at, or even seen.  These are the strangers who are our friends – our e-friends – and in the 21st century, we all have them.  There is still some debate over whether these e-friends are as good or even the same as IRL (In Real Life) friends, but in a couple of generations, this won’t even be a question … because … and here’s the best bit – e-friends are way better than real ones.  Let me demonstrate.

E-friends never waste your time with long, boring stories.   Regardless of how drawn-out their particular tale of woe might become, you don’t have sit there and listen.  The truth is, most people just scroll down to the end, type ‘awesome,” and move on.

E-friends never drag you off to places you don’t want to go.  When you live on the other side of the world, this never comes up on the panel – thank God.  So you don’t have to sweat the oboe recital, the fishing trip or what’s-her-name’s graduation – just to be polite.  All you have to do is make the right noises when your e-friends post the pictures.

They’re never mean to you.  E-friends are notoriously good-natured, and if they ever do go off the rails, all you have to do is delete them.

When e-friends talk about you behind your back, you’re never going to hear about it.

You don’t have worry about cleaning the house when e-friends come to visit.  In fact, you can talk to them in your pajamas if you so choose – and people frequently do.

You never have to put up with your e-friends’ annoying spouse, or know-it-all sister, or idiot dog who peed on your carpet or any of the other baggage IRL friends always bring along with them.

E-friends don’t force you make hard decisions like “Does this dress make me look fat?”  Normally, those photos are deleted long before they ever get to you.

E-friends never give you the flu.

E-friends don’t make promises they can’t keep.  Ganjit, from Chennai is never going to volunteer to help you move and then disappear the day the boxes are packed.  (I’m looking at you, Sam Newton!)

E-friends always listen.  When you’re talking to them they never get distracted by their phone – cuz you’re the one on the phone.

E-friends don’t borrow your stuff and forget to give it back.  You never have that awkward moment when you discover your e-buddy Betty is serving cake off a plate that she borrowed from you two Christmases ago.

But the best thing about e-friends is:

Age, gender, race, religion, nationality, income, etc., etc., etc. don’t make a damn bit of difference to e-friends.   They are the most egalitarian groups of people on this planet.  So, while most of the world is shouting and swearing and calling each other names, there are tons of little groups of e-friends, kicked back in various small corners of cyberspace, trying to get to know each other.  And that’s totally cool!

Stuff I Learned From Music (2022)

Music is to culture what Doctor Watson is to Sherlock Holmes: you really can’t have one without the other.  It is a universal language that connects people everywhere around the world.  Even the grumpiest curmudgeon can’t help but move their shoulders just a little bit when they hear “Despacito.”  So it’s natural that, in my many years on this planet, I’ve learned a lot of things from music.  Here are just a few of them.

Musically, nobody really knows what to do with a drunken sailor.

There’s a reason symphony orchestras seldom feature bagpipes.

It’s no contest: the #1 favourite female vocalist of old people is “What’s-her-name.”

Disney could make a 2 hour live action movie about paint drying and people would pay to see it, download the sound track and set up a Twitter account to complain that the songs weren’t as good as the original.

Even though we sing it every year, nobody understands the words to “Auld Lang Syne.”

Oddly enough, ever since the Everly Brothers sang “Wake Up, Little Susie,” the go-to name for women in pop songs (and one country music mega-hit) is Sue.

Oddly enough, ever since the Beatles sang “I Saw Her Standing There” the optimum age for women in pop songs is 17.  Is that even legal?

And speaking of legal, “Happy Birthday to You” is still under copyright, so every time you sing it, you’re technically breaking the law.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did not write “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”  That’s just a “fact” pompous asses mention in conversation so you’ll think they’re smart.

It’s never a good idea to teach children those monotonous, multi-verse songs like “The Wheels on the Bus” or “Baby Shark” — especially right before an extended road trip.

Everybody’s favourite song has one good verse and a very loud chorus. After that, it’s mostly mumbling ‘til the chorus comes around again.

When you’re driving and you’re either lost or looking for an address, you automatically turn the music down because … I don’t know … ears?

And speaking of ears, the Germans have a word for that song that gets stuck in your head – ohrwurm – ear worm.

Whether they’re waltzing with Mathilda or tying their kangaroo down, Australian folk songs have some totally strange lyrics.

If you’re the subject of a country music song, unfortunately, you’re pretty much screwed.

For pure sex, nothing beats 70s-going-on-80s pop music.

Keith Richards is proof that there is life beyond the grave.

Taylor Swift has written so many songs about bad relationships that – uh – maybe she’s the problem.

Nobody is ever going to love you as much as Kanye West loves … Kanye West.

And finally:

Old people spend a lot of time bragging about how uber-wild and crazy they were back in the Woodstock era, circa 1969.  However, they’ve conveniently forgotten that Billboard’s Single of the Year, that year, was “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies.  (Not so counterculture cool now, are ya, grandpa?

Just Some Thoughts

One of the huge fringe benefits of being a writer is you get to sit around, do nothing and call it work.  Your mind can wander wherever it likes, and as long as it comes back, you’ve had a productive day.  Some stuff you use, some stuff you lose, but most stuff you just don’t remember.  Here are a few things that I do remember.

A friend will offer to help you move.  A good friend will offer to help you move the body.

You can buy a birthday cake and eat it all yourself.  Nobody checks!

How come ghosts wear clothes?  Did their shirt and pants die with them?  What about underwear?

Up and down are opposites, but whether your house burns down or your house burns up, the result is the same – you’re homeless.

Opening the refrigerator and staring in does not produce something “really nice” to eat.  It’s true.  I’ve tried it.

When a vegan comes to your house for dinner, to be polite, you serve vegan food.  But when you go to a vegan’s house, they never return the favour and cook you a steak.

Sometimes, I wonder if Vladimir Putin ever wonders, “Am I actually the bad guy?”

Daylight Savings Time is like cutting 10 centimetres (4 inches) off one end of a blanket, sewing it onto the other end and saying the blanket is longer.

The only game in the world that’s just as hard to lose as it is to win is Rock, Paper, Scissors.

When rich people play Monopoly, does it seem like work to them?

I’m absolutely certain that, in prison, murderers tease attempted murderers for not getting it right.

You have a favourite burner on your stove.  Admit it!  You know it’s true.

Adam Sandler isn’t actually funny, but he’s a nice guy and was on Saturday Night Live — so everybody gives him the benefit of the doubt.

When you throw a ball and your dog brings it back, it’s probably because they think you’re having fun throwing it.

And finally:

In the Old Norse religion, Odin (the leader of the Gods) promised to rid the world of Ice-Giants.  I’ve never seen an Ice-Giant, so that’s something to think about.