a budding facebook friendship meets the void

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

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.”


Le Gouffre tells the story of two trav­elers who come across a chasm on their journey and build a bridge to cross it.


That was it. Nothing re­ally per­sonal, nothing re­ally po­lit­ical. Shortly af­ter­ward, 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.”


Chasm Bridge LeGouffreMovie 600 crop

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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