Blame it on the girlz:

a        story




It all started like that :
« Welcome to the crazy world of Fazebook”, said my first Friend, the one that introduced me to it.
Ha!, I thought. I will show you what crazy is…
I Googled a name without hits. It’s called Googlewhacking, and it’s virtually impossible to win: try Googling two words that exist in and give 0 hits in Google. Try "bohemian rats". Try "obnoxious appendicitis", or "shameful beard", "'subterranean plane". It’s as hard as living without Fazebook for 2 hours. But having spent times in web games as silly as this one before, it was easy for me.

And Elvo Pelvo became my first Fazebook, 0 Hits name. I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t have this habit of thinking I saw him. Instead, I quickly developed another filthy habit: Changing names more often than my shirts. My wife objected, but I said I had no time for such trivial matters. She did not seem to understand. Women…
The week after I became Velgo Belgo. I always had something with double, repetitive names. If FB let me, I’d definitely choose Boutros Boutros. Or Erps Kwerps. Baden Baden. Tse Tse. I have never spoken to a doctor about that, my parents equally ignore it, but all that counts is that FB knew, that you, my multiple Friends knew.
I am just kidding. I had only 3 friends. They were amused. But every time I tried to propose eternal Friendship to new Friends, I was turned down. I tried to be funny, not menacing, not the type of guy that will ask to be tied and spanked in the first rendez vous. I first chose a Clark Gable photo. They say Vivien Leigh complained he had a bad breath when they kissed in Gone with the wind, I made clear I don’t, haha, wanna be my Friend? No, they didn't. So I switched to a George Clooney photo, the man absolutely all women are in love with, including my grandmother. I edited the picture a bit, added sexy sunglasses on him (I mean, my new self) and made clear I do like Nespresso. And Martini, and the girl who answers the door, haha, please don’t shut the door, wanna be my Friend?! Slam! Nope, either.
Oh, I'm sure they were all fat and ugly.

Then something tragic happened. One day, as I was trying to be my usual socializing self, logging in from an airport in case someone had answered in between and could not wait until I got home, I tried to get into my account and found a message saying that my account had been Deactivated. A cold sweat run through my spine: what had I done?
But there was only OK to press, and in the end, after waiting with my laptop On for days, Refreshing it from time to time to see if the screen would change and a window message would appear saying something like “Oh, it was only a joke! Press OK and you’ll be happy again. Thanks for persisting and have a nice life!”, I realised I could not hold it anymore, I HAD to go to the toilet, and I logged off.

I Googled my issue. "Deactivated Fazebook account”. About 65.000.000 hits. Wow, I thought. Are there really THAT many unhappy souls on the planet?
When I figured out what I had to do to reactivate my account and learn why I was thrown out, and as I thought I was just one click away from becoming a normal person again, another ominous window came. “Continue”, it said, BUT: if you have done this and that, or that and this, and other bad bad things, among which was a bad bad thing I had done, then don’t come back, it menaced, or we will shut you eternally off.
I looked below the message window. There was no “Forgive me, for I have sinned” button.
Because sinned I had: I had already created another account, under another false name. You see, when my account was deactivated I was not sure what to do, I hesitated and said, what the hell, I'll just create a new account and start all over again. But then I had all my friends in my deactivated account. The Friends I had been trying hard to befriend knew the Deactivated account. Namely, I already sort of had a Fazebook account and had no right to create a second one before the issue was solved.
"Do you want to Continue? Do you really want us to spank you for what you have done?", the machine then asked.
I needed time to think. I unplugged the socket and pretended I was an honest person with just one, unrightfully deactivated account and wanted to Continue, only there was a sudden blackout and I’d be back to solve this asap.

I slept on it. Had nightmares of a rather short guy, looking frankly gay, with rather long eyelashes. I could not figure out who he was. He was staring  at me.
Gotcha!”, he'd then say, and I’d wake up soaking wet, with a freight train running through the middle of my head.
OK, I admit, Bruce Springsteen said this before me.
Anyhow, the fact is, I was scared to go back and try and reactivate my old account. And what if when I pushed the button "Continue", Fazebook knew I already had a new  account and kicked me out for life? What would then the man in me become? How would I face my kids, my Friends? Why, do you think it’s that easy to just pick up the phone for a chat, like the good old days, and pretend Fazebook never happened?
Still,  I tried.
I travelled. I gave myself time to think. I met people. Had sex with real women. Went to the movies. Ate chocolate. Watched the sunset,  having a glass of red wine while listening to Paganini. I tried everything. Nothing worked. This was not a life anymore.

You see, while doing all of the above, I only had one thing in mind: Get back quick and Share it with you, My Friends! I promised myself, when I’d be happy again, when all this de/re-activation issue was solved, I’d buy the fastest connection and choose the most open Profile in the world. I’d share my Profile on Internet and the Fazebook-linked applications, no matter how silly or ridiculously dangerous they looked. I’d share my DNA, my School, my Career, I’d upload nude pics of mine and tag them with my real family name, I’d accept all Cookies and even put my phone number and bank accounts plus Pin codes on the net. And I’d publicly document how on that day I had told my boss I was sick, I was in reality having a ball downtown Brussels with a bunch of alcoholic weirdos. I’d do anything just to be like the other ones. You, My Friends.
But first, before asking the reactivation of my old account, I had to deactivate my new, second and illegal account…
To do this, I decided to play it safe and use another PC, just in case Fazebook compared IPs. I had to at least try and protect my privacy, and I promised God this would be the last time I find myself in such a mess.

And so it is that one night, I pretended I had a stomach ache, left my bed, took my car and drove to probably the filthiest Internet café in Brussels, in a place resembling more downtown Tangier, in a café where I knew they don’t ask for IDs, mainly because the usual customers don't have any.
As discreetly as possible, I chose the most distant computer to do what I had to do. It had a cathodic screen, the keyboard was yellow and sticky and the place stank like an X-movie booth. Rough manual workers were playing billiard behind me at 03.00 in the morning, but I did not care, more important things were at stake.
I logged in. Nothing unusual happened. Refreshed, nothing unusual either. Could that be that Fazebook ignored my dark deeds? That I was trying to deactivate my second, newer but prohibited account in order to reactivate legally my first, deactivated account?
I went on, pushing buttons, until the Option came, Do you want to completely erase your account?
There was Yes and No as an option. Strange. I hesitated…
I mean, OK, I drove to a suicidal place in the middle of the night to Erase my account, but on the other hand, doing it felt like self-mutilation. Press Yes, and a part of me would just disappear in some computer in Palo Alto. Press No and I could not get back to the deactivated account, the one my Friends knew.
I ordered a beer. Then another one. Beer is strong in Belgium. Sometimes that helps.

Oh, what the heck, let’s do it, I thought after a while.
And I clicked YES.
“Are you sure you wanna do this?”, another message window appeared.
This is going to be a slow death, I thought.
“YES”, I clicked.
Then another message came:
“Oh, I think I know what you’re afraid of: that we’ll store your personal data, then use them, sell them, abuse them and expose you just when you’ll be divorcing or asking for a promotion, ain’t it? But don’t listen to them! We never do that! We’re a bunch of straight guys, we just have that thing about Sharing, that’s all! So, what do you think?
Marc? I thought. Marc who?
A Comment window opened: God, or Marc, was giving me one more option to share my thoughts.
“Have we met? Do you have rather log eyelashes?”, I wrote. I somehow felt Marc was the guy tormenting me in my sleep.
“Yes. And a college sweater as well. I am not asking you though. I know everything about you. Actually, what the hell are you doing in this shit hole? Does your wife know about that?”
“Oh, no! Please don’t do that! I beg you!”, I wrote, tears coming in my eyes.
Oh, of course not, Awethor. See, I’m just a good guy. Possessing all the details of your personal life is not bad. Sharing them is good. And you’re a free guy. Do you really want to shut us down? Please be honest. We know everything in the end, so just be frank from the beginning!
He knew my real name! Awethor was my real name! This was turning into a nightmare.
“Yes, Marc. I admit I was going to shut this account…”, I typed.
No problem mate! Just check that you have read the Disclaimer, and you’ll be off in seconds. I have to go now. I have a mission to fulfil. Byeeeeeeee!
And off Marc was.
Abashed, I started reading the Disclaimer:

“I hereby declare that I am aware of all the dangers that I subject myself to after erasing  my Fazebook account.  When I  realize I can't hook on with my Friends anymore as a result of my rather poor decision taken among a bunch of primitives in the small morning hours under the influence of alcohol. I am aware that  Fazebook users never, ever drink by the way. Fazebook does not accept any responsibility for mental illnesses that can and will occur after erasing my  Fazebook account. Fazebook cannot be responsible for suicides, homicides or other violent acts due to the feeling of being left out. By clicking on Continue, I basically accept that I am an old fashioned faggot without a life. Continue?”

I did not want to, but I had to. What if Marc in the end realised why I was erasing this account? At least until now he seemed unaware of my true motives. Rather get done with it quick, now that he was away, I thought.
Continue, I clicked.
And then she appeared on the screen. “The girl on the elephant will miss you!”, it read.
And I swear to God, it seemed real. For a fraction of a second, I thought she really would! Tears came in my eyes.
You see, the girl on the elephant is an ex. I tried to get back in contact with her through my newer account, but she never reacted. And now here she was, telling me she’d miss me! Our relation could have been over, all it would have taken was a click and I would have lost this magnificent girl forever! The fact that she nowadays lives where elephants live, that she most probably never liked me or never pushed a bloody button to say Hi when I wrote were mere details. She had realised her mistake, and here she was, sad that I was about to shut her out of my life!
But hey, I thought, I can always get in touch with her when I reactivate my old account. Then she’d realise even more her mistake, how we almost missed fate once again,  and actually beg me to join her for an elephant ride through eternal friendship . Thank you Fazebook, thank you!
No, I clicked, I did not want to Continue. I never could stand the sight of a beautifil woman begging me to not go away. I could not harm her and feel guilty for the rest of my life. A sense of responsibility filled me up to the ears. I shut the PC off, paid and went home. Ce n'est qu' un au revoir, I thought.

Next day, I pretended I still had a stomach pain and stayed home.
As soon as everybody left, I rushed to the PC. It took ages to boot, or so it seemed. Then I logged in FB. Actually, I created a new, third account, that I promised myself would be the last one, the good one. I would not come close to the first, deactivated account, or the second, prohibited account, just in case FB was watching them. I'd start anew. I created a new account that would bring me real happiness and acknowledgment , acknowledgment for who I was and how much I mattered to all the people I was going to befriend in just a few clicks.
I uploaded half my hard disk. Pictures, songs, bills, mails, my sites, my blogs, everything. And I gave my real name, but a new email. I uploaded a real face picture of my good self.

And then the time had come to have fun. Start life all over again.
I typed "Girl on the elephant" in Search.
And my world started to shake…
“Ze girl on ze elephant does not wish to share all her detailz wiz a middle aged man like your persona. Add her as a Friend, if you like, but we frankly cannot guarantee that she’ll ever like you, or even answer to you, because we suspect you are a person with problems”, it said.
This is how it must feel losing all your money, I thought.
I clicked another name. Another ex that never actually loved me either and nowadays is happy with another man, as usually is the case, only he IS uglier than me. Hard to believe, but trust me.
There was no hit.
No hit? Come on, Marc. She was there just a week ago! I mean, her profile was as open as a rose in September! I saw her friends, the friends of her friends, her Wall, her silly motto on life,  her everything! How she greeted all her other ex’s, how she still pretended to be a normal person actually, I saw her pics. And basically, I saw in her eyes she was waitng just for me. How come she’s not there anymore?
Then I Searched another one. And another one. No hit either. Now, that was really strange. Was everybody Blocking me or what? What had I done? I was just a normal guy! OK, a bit curious, sneaky, but who isn’t in FB?
I Googled my problem. There was a time we talked about our problems. This does not happen anymore. Talking takes time, you have to find it and other people have to find it as well and it never happens in the end, because everybody's on Fazebook. Googling is there in a nanosecond. Google is my best friend. Please don’t take it personally.
Anyhow, the answer I got was exactly what I just said. Don’t take it personally. They may have just limited their profile for everybody, not just you!
Yeah right… An ugly war had started, and no one wanted to admit it… And in war one has to play the game. Surprise the enemy.

And I had my secret weapon. My little red booklet.

Where I keep track of the Friends of my Friends! If I could find them there, this would mean they had limited their profile to their Friends. If they were not there either, if I could not see them at all,  this would mean they had blocked ME. And revenge, my revenge would be ominous and overwhelming, I promised myself. Now I know you thought I am a rather naive person, but you must admit that I am the foreseeing kind of naive person. I always have a B plan. And a Musi red booklet.
I went in the accounts of my ex friends' friends. People I had never met in reality, or even heard about. People who still had a common point with me: Knowing people I actually spied upon. Sad, how relations end, ain’t it? How you suddenly are cut-off from people you actually smelt, how you suddenly are reduced to a non friend, with just a silly booklet bought for 1.5 £ in Oxford street! But this is life, I did not choose war, they did, and they’d have to pay the consequences!

They were there, all of them, my ex Friends. I could see them through their Friends. She on the elephant, the other one with the beatific smile as well and so on. OK. I had for a moment avoided total defeat. My issue did not seem to be personal. But… There was still something bothering me. I mean, what, were they not aware that by limiting their profile I would not ever again be able to see them? Contact them? That they were shutting the door to a wonderful person they had wrongfully neglected? Was not ME the reason all these people were on Fazebook? Reality had arrived closer than my shaving mirror, and once again I had to admit, no one gave a shit about me. It was personal indeed.
Imagine you’re out there, at war. And then you realise you are invading an already abandoned village. Or a church. This is how I felt. But I promised myself I was going to correct all this.

The days that followed were hell. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t eat, could hardly think. My Friends had abandoned me and I had no more secret weapons. Moreover, in my third account I had uploaded even my underwear to Fazebook, trying to be a honest and exposed average Fazebooker, in vain. I lived like a ghost, like someone who has lost his family. I realise of course, many people would like to have my life. A wife, a house, healthy kids, a job. But these people have usually no PC, no fast connection, not Friends as I had. How would they possibly understand what I was going through?

It all started soon turning around in my head. Fuck you, I said. I am going to limit my profile as well. Then you’ll see. Next time you’re going to try and see how I am doing , because I know that secretly I am the reason you opened your bloody accounts in the first place, that you are spying upon me even more than I do upon you, you’ll realise Awethor has left you. Awethor spat upon you. Awethor has limited his profile and has cool, intellectual chats and soon a first rendez-vous with somebody ELSE, younger and infinitely more handsome than you (and your elephant)! Take that, you closed-profile, Friends-only unsocialites! And be afraid, be very afraid, prepare to suffer intense pain, the kind you can never talk to your husbands about!


Then one night I had a dream. It was God. Rather old and weary, with this I-have-seen-this-all-before look and with long eyelashes once again. Frankly, it could have been Marc, an older, beta version of him. He was looking at me. I always had an issue with people who like to dress up:they seldom look what they dress to be. So I was looking at Him. And for the first time I realised he did not look as healthy as in my primary school religion book. He looked worn out, more like an Albanian shepherd . He actually looked like a disguised somebody-else who played God. But why would a disguised somebody else come as God to visit me? I kept looking at him and said, no, I am not going to talk first. You came and sat there in front of me, a freaky thing to do in the first place, when you know I am not in the mood for visits, especially in the middle of the night, YOU speak first.
And speak He did.

“Dude, your perspective on life sucks!”, he said.
“And you’re overrated”, I said, without blinking. Sort of speaking, of course, I was in the REM sleep phase, during which eyes do sort of blink.
“Are you gay?”, he then asked me. “Why are you giving me non-stop winks?”
“You made us this way, remember? I was in my Rapid Eye Movement phase of sleep when you chose to bother me  with your silly questions. Eyes move rapidly indeed. And I’m not gay. Are you, by the way? I always wondered.”
How dare you?”, he thundered. “I can destroy you in no time! I can cut your connection. I can banish you from FB for this life and the next!”
“Yeah… So what? I don’t have friends anymore anyhow. Why would that matter?”
“Cut the crap. You know, we all do, that you care. And give me a break with your REM sleep phase! REM is a music group, you deactivated moron! And you were not asleep when I came. You were suffering with your eyes closed. You think God cannot distinguish when people sleep and when they just look at their closed eyebrows from the inside?”
Admittedly, God had an argument there, despite a serious gap in general culture…
“Listen”, I said, “the reason you visited is probably because you have to say something important in a grave, fatty voice. So just spit it out, I’d like to go on staring at my eyebrows from the inside, as you said. Am I dying? Where is the tunnel, the light?”
A silence came. What an actor, I thought. He knows he needs a silence to make what he has to say more important!

And after a while, he spoke indeed:

“Thou shalt have no Friends. With a big F”.

And puff! He disappeared.

I was not all that much impressed by that visit, I must say. My life was not what it had been anymore. And he was probably right. My perspective on life sucked.  But what was the meaning of that phrase, “with a big F”?

In the days that followed, I logged in to my new, third account. Checked if my ex Friends had changed their minds, had gone Public again. Had realised their mistake. The false manoeuvre they had made, the wrong button they had pressed. But no. They were not there. Life was as usual for them, while I was receiving ambiguous messages in my sleep.

Of course, I could have invited my ex Friends to become Friends again. But could I suffer loss again? Being turned down again? Be possibly reported again? No. My position was weak. Moreover, if they had limited their profile, I was not supposed to see them any more. And to ask somebody to be Friends you have to see them in the first place. They would know I had spied upon them, that I had noted their Friends’ Friends names. Then they would definitely report me to Marc, and I would definitely have to face eternal exclusion, social isolation and a long, agonizing death.

So I limited myself to spying. But in the end, spying has to have an end, a goal. Spies, real ones, get paid. They believe in an ideal. They have unsolved issues with their mother and their shrink, they hire people to write their "autobiography", produce a film about their inflated ego, or they drink cyanure and die before they surrender to the enemy. Which was my ideal?
The more I thought about it, the worse it became.
I was a dude whose perspective on life sucked, as He had put it. I had no Friends. I was kicked out of the lives of people, and the fact I did not know, or hardly ever had known most of them seemed irrelevant: my pain was intense.
And even if one of them tried to contact me, I thought, they could not. Not since I had recently limited my Profile to 0 in the new, third account, trying to remain hidden from Marc and his big brothers, but also to make my Non Friends suffer and understand what they were missing by not being able to find me on FB, while they knew I was there before. Like a Scorpio, I had bitten myself with my own sting and stood there wondering why I was dying slowly.

“Thou shalt have no Friends. With a big F”. He had meant of course Fazebook Friends. That was his curse. He did not mean friends, he meant Friends. How could I have not thought about it before?
Or was he just trying to protect me? Was this an omen, a prophecy or a warning? Because, in the end, Friends IS the weak point of FB. I mean, you can limit your Profile as much as you like. As long as you have even one Friend, people can see you through this Friend’s account! Your friend can post your pics, tag them, sell your reputation real cheap and let us all see them, against your will. You can shield yourself in the front, but your Friends can always stab you in the back. Was this not what I was doing actually? Exploiting my Friends' Friends open profiles? Because one can chat perfectly with anyone and as long as you are not officially Friends with them, no one will ever be able to trace you through them. Becoming Friends with someone is like marriage. It comes with dangers and responsibilities. Having no Friends is like screwing around. One profits from the best, while avoiding divorce and lawyers.

It felt as if I was coming to the end of a long investigation. With the help of God I had understood the meaning of it all. In Fazebook, one should have no Friends. "Thou shalt have no friends". The only means to keep your privacy. Of course, an oxymoron in itself. FB is  about friends. About how people will find YOU. If you shut yourself off, how will they ever find you?

Friend or Foe? Trick or treat? A hard question, but we all choose Friend, ain't it?

In the weeks that followed, my alertness grew. You see, Marc has this habit of making Sharing All into the default option. And I read somewhere that when you visit someone’s profile, then they get your picture, your profile, name and all, on their screen, and they are asked if they would like to Add you as a Friend, while at the same time they realise you have been there, sneaking. I almost died that day. This would mean, the girl on the elephant, the other one carrying the mall in her sack  and the one with the winners' smile and the ones with their backs turned (very trendy lately in FB) have actually known all the time I had been there, curious, sniffing like a dog for Non-deactivated buttons . The absolute humiliation. Point 0. Game over.

For some time, I avoided completely my PC. Fazebook and all. Anf for a moment that did not last, I thought I was cured.
Until I had a fresh idea. What if I opened a new account with a false name, another email and an open profile that would make people feel at ease? Because there is nothing more unsettling than Fazebookers that have no friends, no profile and instead of their picture this silly Tintin head people that do not upload their picture get. My new account would be the fruit, the child of the former three accounts. My experience gained through pain. OK, Marc prohibits this, but who cares. What was there to lose anyhow?
And there it was, my new account.

It's easy to think that my procedure was weird. That I was slowly turning into a nutcase. I prefer to think of myself as a middle aged man in pursuit of happiness.

Months have passed since I created that fourth account. At some point I lost count of my accounts. Actually, I don't know anymore how many accounts I have. But even when I sneak in your account, you will not see my pretty face asking you if you want to befriend me. You’ll see  someone else you will not recognise, with a name that actually looks real, and a rather pretty face. Not mine. Life has become normal again. I mean, I'd still like us to be Friends, but I have actually forgotten under which name, account and password I want that. I may sound lost, but one day happiness will knock on my Fazebook account and then you'll see. I'll shut down all my accounts and live happily everafter.

Then I'll open a new one and share this happy moment with everybody.

There is this cartoon I particularly like, it's Pink Panther cleaning his house with his vacuum cleaner. Then he starts hoovering objects that disappear in his vacuum cleaner. Everything starts disappearing, furniture, then the house, and then he vacuums himself, the vacuum cleaner vacuums itself and everything disappears and the cartoon ends. Nowadays, I have added myselves, my accounts and my passwords in my red booklet as well. The day I lose this booklet, unable to log in, I will disappear in a big vacuum cleaner and no one will know I ever existed. But in the meantime don’t even try to find me. I’d prefer to live my solitude alone.  This should not surprise you, after all you’ve put me through.


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Listen to what God has to say