David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
I'm Not It

May 9, 2018

So, this week I am noticing a new way that social media can irritate me.  I have no doubt that I should have discovered this irritation years ago, but I think it is only because I dramatically increased my circle of Facebook friends over the last 6 months.

In short, I am discovering the rewards of being "tagged."  Clearly being "tagged" on Facebook means you are "it" for long periods of time.  Every response to that post in which you have been "tagged" results in a notification that you are "tagged."  The first day when I all of a sudden had 9 notifications via my cute, little Facebook bell, I believed I'm special, so special (Pretenders' tag).  By day three, I realized you can't unring a bell (o.k., I know that I probably can technically turn off that notification, or adjust it for the new tag, but who am I to miss a chance to tag Tom Waits?).

Part of the puzzlement is that I was tagged three separate times within a 24 hour period (something which in my younger days and in different context would have had me dancing in the street -- Martha and the Vandellas tag, not a Bowie/Jagger tag. I wouldn't be part of that tag for anything), and yet in none of the tags was I particularly the focus. The closest came when my local senator tagged me as part of a tribute to a community member; the picture shows me presenting her with a proclamation from the county's Planning Commission, of which I am secretary.  The senator wasn't even there. I got tagged by his aide.  That's a phantom tag (any number of angry baseball manager tags); it doesn't count.

Even worse (sorry senator), now I seem to be getting lots of the senator's feed on Facebook.  Senator, you have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir (Joseph Welch tag)?

In the other two cases, I have truly been peripheral tag damage.  In one case, an SMC student very pleasantly tagged all of the "teachers" he has appreciated (both at SMC and probably elsewhere). I was impressed he even included me.  Administrators have never taught, right?  They are clueless and out of touch!  He surely must have heard rumors of my prowess as a teacher ("They say he swore like that in the classroom, too!").  I am touched to be included, but I haven't been in the classroom as a teacher for 12 years, I believe.  That's like tagging the tired dad just getting home for the night.  That's just easy livin' (Uriah Heep, rock band, tag, with an assist from Charles Dickens).

And then there is my fellow writer of whimsy, Larry, who is on the road (Jack Kerouac tag) as part of his "Purge and Connection" tour (luckily, purge has a rather straightforward meaning in his case), and who decided to drag along a large numbers of Facebook "friends" via his tag (there are a lot of us: to actually take us along, he would have needed a school bus, and not the shorter ones that some of us may be more comfortable in).  Apparently, good old Larry is making lots of stops, perhaps more than my father ever did, who had to go the bathroom every 40 miles or so when he was taking his diuretic.  Heck at least Larry is stopping at some waterfalls, probably speeding up his own urinary needs (thankfully, no one to tag for that line).

So, don't get me wrong, Larry, I am enjoying the travel journal, especially as you venture into some of my old stomping grounds in West Virginia, but, damn, every comment about your choices in motels, state parks, eateries, cultural landmarks (Mayberry, RFD!) rings my bell (Anita Ward skipped tag, much like that joyous day in Mario's Pizza when the jukebox skipped and saved us from the whole song).

I don't know why we are calling this "tag." It seems more like "ghost," since no one can see me.  And I refuse to do any Patrick Swayze or Demi Moore tag.