January 26, 2013 8:40:30 PM
The English language is alive and evolving. The word "friend" has been considered a noun for a very long time. These days it is also a verb, as in "to friend" someone, such as on Facebook.
That Facebook term can be interpreted quite loosely. Some of my Facebook friends are connections from my distant past. Some are acquaintances that may possibly be geographically close, but for who-knows-what reason we never visit in person. I have "friends" in the cyber-world that I have never met.
Last weekend I met J. Dee McKay. We have commented on each other's posts for a couple of years. It was so much fun to have an in-person conversation. Now, I will recognize him when we meet again.
I belong to pages that are political, or concern animal rescue groups, or ones that post news about New Orleans. My home page is filled with quotes by Dorothy Parker, and photos of Frieda Kahlo. These iconic women may be dead, but they live on in the world of Facebook.
I do not personally know Dawn Barham or Jim Osborne, but I love their posts. They share music links and some very interesting observations. These two find citations by philosophers and people much wiser than I. Reading their entries makes me feel smarter.
Lately, I have gotten some very hostile responses to some of my more (supposedly) liberal posts. Most of them are things that I do not write myself, but repost because they speak to me on some level.
One "friend" in particular, often berates me about my opinions. Someone recently said to me, "Who is this guy, and why don't you unfriend him?"
Well, "this guy" is someone that I went to school with in the early 1960s. I barely remember him. Our only connection is that I "dated" his best friend in those junior high days when our parents still drove us around. We reconnected this summer upon learning of that mutual friend's death.
There is a very good reason that I do not unfriend him. (No, I am not a masochist.) I just think that it is insane to surround myself only with my cheerleaders. The world, both the real world and the cyber-world, contains people who dislike me. This "friend," so very far away, has many locals who agree with him. They jab at me because of my position on gun control. They jump to conclusions about my beliefs on things that I have never addressed.
I have become a sort of a spokesperson for a lot of people who quietly agree with me, but are afraid to "come out of the closet," so to speak. It is apparent that "liberal" is a dirty word in our area. Why?
I keep these hostile "friends" because I need to know if I should expect a cross to be burned on my lawn, or rotten eggs hurled at my door. Do that if you wish. You are safe from me, because I have no guns. I am a crazy old lady who might come onto the porch and swing her cane at you. In that case, there will be no blood and certainly no death.
I will say to those who hate me that it might be better to call a truce and become my "friendemy." I am fun to know, and entertain often on my porch. It might be interesting to explain to me why being liberal makes someone a pariah. Perhaps the dictionary needs some tweaking to update contemporary definitions. You wouldn't want drop in and risk slipping on those slimy rotten eggs.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina. Email reaches her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.