a budding facebook friendship meets the void

EARLIER TODAY, I received an emailed request from a former high school mate—we were neither friends nor enemies as far as I recall—to become Facebook friends. Let’s call him G.A. I’m vaguely familiar with him as someone who argues on Facebook with another high school mate, who we will call M.G.

Politically, G.A. is rather reactionary, while M.G. is progressive. Occasionally I put my two cents in when I find the two of them arguing online.

Now, I don’t turn down Facebook friendship requests because, well, you never know where these things might lead. So I confirmed G.A.’s request, went to his Facebook page, and posted this in response to an issue he was addressing on his own page. (I had to rewrite from memory as I had already erased it.):

“Thanks for the Facebook friend request. Know this: I moved thousands of miles away and have spent decades trying to forget high school. I have been VERY successful. I don’t remember a lot of people from back then. Hell, I hardly remember some of the girls that I had crushes on!

So, aside from your name, I remember little about you. We have had some disagreements in the recent past here on Facebook. All well and good—grin and bare it and keep it coming. Prove me incorrect with facts. I love a good argument.

Regarding the Affordable Care Act and your friends in the FBI: they already have full coverage, paid for by the taxpayers. All federal government employees receive socialized medicine plans. As do military personnel. Hell, I used to have it when I worked for the Luzerne County Roads & Bridges back in the ’70s.”

The film Le Gouffre tells the story of two travelers who come across a wide chasm on their journey and decide to build a bridge to cross it—something Congress seems incapable of doing.

That was it. Nothing really personal, nothing really political. Shortly afterwards, I received the following email from G.A:

“Neal, I cannot stand to read M.G.’s idiotic, short-sighted, polarizing, comments anymore. I have to unfriend you on Facebook. This is not personal, I always appreciated your point of view but M.G.’s tripe is more than I want to read from here on out.”

That’s it! I was apparently unfriended because of the opinions of another person.

Of course, it may have had something to do with my factual statements about government and military personnel receiving socialized medicine paid for by we taxpayers. As many of them are Rep*blicans, we have to listen to them bitch and moan against socialized medicine for the rest of us.

I do not consider pointing out facts to be political, but as actor and comedian Rob Corddry cleverly pointed out, “Facts have a well-known liberal bias.”

Whence the Void?

I carry a pocket notebook and pen everywhere I go. A days ago I jotted down this note: “Aisle became chasm became gulf now it’s the void.” The phrase “reaching across the aisle” is a political one, referencing Congress, and has been with us for a long time.

“This term [across the aisle] is widely used in the political arena whereby members of both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives unite in a bi-partisan fashion in a mutually agree compromise on a piece of legislation or other related matters.” (Collins Dictionary)

That aisle was once a physical space a few feet of carpeted floor in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, separating rows of seats where the Democratic Congressmen from the Rep*blican Congressmen sat in session.

That few feet of carpeted space has become more metaphorically a chasm, a “deep fissure in the earth, rock, or another surface.” 1

Like many deep fissures, it appears at times to be unbridgeable . . .


Void: scnne from the animated short film LE GHOUFFRE.

FEATURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page is from the animated film Le Gouffre. “The film tells the story of two spirited travelers who come across an incredibly wide chasm on their journey and decide to build a bridge to cross it.” The story is about friendship, sacrifice, and conquering the impossible.

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1   When I originally posted this article, I used the term void, hence the title “A Budding Facebook Friendship Meets the Void.” decided that term has too many meanings to be useful here. In fact, some of the spiritual meanings conflict with the point I was trying to make. So I now refer to the old aisle as the chasm.

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