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Sun October 5, 2008
Creepy Peeps Online
By Patience Renzulli
Murray, KY – MySpace. Tagged. Plaxo, Facebook, Flickr, Gather, Linked In. These things are mysteries to me. Folks think that because I blog, I know about all things Internet. Messages arrive daily, exclaiming I have a friend! My friend invites me to be their friend, on one of these sites. I joined MySpace when I was publicizing the release of my second book. Folks said if I wanted to sell my book, I better have a MySpace page. Sure enough the very night I joined I got a ping in my Inbox. Someone wanted to be my friend. I checked out my new wannabe friend's MySpace page. [Gasp] My new wannabe friend had image after image depicting women in chains, disturbing photos, and the email exclaimed, Robert B wants to be your friend and he lives in your town, Paducah.
I did not want to be Robert B's friend. In fact I did not want Robert B to live in my town. I notified MySpace of this icky pervert, and then, I called the Paducah police. You bet I did.
My next friend was a fellow from Tagged - apparently I hadn't learned my lesson from Mr. Bondage MySpace Man and when several people who actually are friends invited me to join Tagged, I did. In my profile I listed my honest age - 54, and the fact that I am happily, thoroughly, entirely married. This Tagged fellow said he lived in Paducah and wanted to have a very discreet affair. He wouldn't tell a soul, he promised. Just me and him, all hush hush.
Writers are peculiar beings. For a moment, I thought what great blogging material! Now, picture this, I drive a huge, white, fifteen passenger van, with my dog kennel name, Warburton Whippets and my logo painted all over the thing. Everyone knows my van. I thought, hey, I could arrange to meet this fellow, with my big old van emblazoned with and full of Warburton Whippets parked in front of the secret restaurant. I could take my camera, and photograph the van, the secret restaurant, and the fellow. What a perfect blog post! My Secret Affair NOT. And this guy was persistent. When I ignored him, he sent more invites, assuring me of his ability to be secretive, because he wouldn't want his wife to find out either. Ooooh, that blog post was even more tempting. But I resisted. And I found that there was an option to block unwanted wannabe friends. So I blocked him. That felt great. Better than swatting a big fat mosquito full of your own blood and squishing it dead.
Then there was this Face Off thing. I got emails telling me I had won a face off. I didn't know I had entered. My profile photo was from an obedience trial with my sweet therapy dog, Sam. I'm giving Sam a thumbs up, and Sammy is smiling up at me. My face is actually cut off in the photo. On purpose. Apparently, that photo was paired up with other members' photos and strangers were asked to vote on which was a better face, in this game called Face Off. I always won. This is no spectacular accomplishment, given my competitors. A bald guy in his 70's with a naked, pendulous belly, and man-breasts that begged to be covered. I won! A woman in tragic need of orthodontia, with drawn on eyebrows, which climbed freakishly close to her scalp. I won again! The naked woman, photographed from, thank all that is good, oh, six inches below her collar bones up, holding a banana, grinning. There is nothing attractive in her bony old lascivious grin. Woo-hoo, I won that one too! Finally, I found a way to block the face off game.
I am a blogger, but that is the extent of my computer savvy. I am a 54-year-old happily married woman. If you want to be my friend, come on over, fully clothed, and have a glass of tea with Bill and me on our porch. But please. No invites to some social networking website. I just don't get it.