When used as intended, Facebook is not unlike a globe-spanning Freshman rush party.
As I remember them, barely, rush parties were noisy and chaotic affairs marked by skunky beer, sticky furniture, boorish guys, even more boorish chicks, shameless posing and transparently bogus biographical embroidery.
In the second instance, of course, the skunky beer comes in a 12-ounce aluminum can instead of a 7-ounce plastic cup, the furniture is sticky because the garden hose isn’t long enough to reach your desk, and you can massage your curricula vitae as vigorously as you like because there’s exactly no chance your boorish online associates will catch you in an apron and hairnet serving steamed peas and carrots in the dorm cafeteria and deduce you’re not really on a full-ride lacrosse scholarship. Then again, fiction is generally more interesting than truth, and if everyone knew you actually drive an ’87 Plymouth Reliant and how you really spent last New Year’s Eve you’d have no friends at all. What makes Facebook work is that everybody’s so busy pretending to be that fascinating white-bearded rogue in the Dos Equis commercials they don’t have time to notice that everybody else is, too.
In a bold spirit of glasnost, let me take this opportunity to state, here and now, for the record and for all time, that I am not “the most interesting man in the world”, although I’d like to think that if I ever find myself in a Bangkok casino I could bench press two native beauties if I felt like it. But if I’m not James Bond, James Dean, James Joyce, Jesse James and Susan St. James all rolled into one irresistible package, it’s because I don’t have to be.
I’ve got people for that.
A few months ago I got a friend-request from Steve Knapp. I assumed, as would anyone who can still remember the Blue Screen of Death, that it was a mistake; a little glitch in the system; the World Wide Web having one at my expense. I would have ignored it all together except the idea of friending myself momentarily tickled my funny bone. Sure, I thought, I’ll play along. I extended the cold hand of online friendship to myself, and quickly found out that I wasn’t me. I was Steve Knapp of Manchester, England, England, across the Atlantic Sea.
Turns out the estimable Mr. Knapp (since we’re like brothers, I call him Steve, or Steve-O, or Dr. S, and sometimes K-Dog) has been on a mission to friend everybody in the world who shares our proud and mellifluous moniker. He’s run onto 62 of us so far, every one a titan among men, and each equipped to supply one or another of my few and minor deficiencies.
Case in point:
I don’t know anything about cars, up to and including how to safely operate one. Steve Knapp, 23, works at Shuls Express Lube and Tire in the town of Olean, NY, where he spends 40 hours a week expressively lubricating and tiring automobiles. So if Steve Knapp couldn’t grease his car with a lard cannon at 10 paces, Steve Knapp could do it in 30 minutes or your next service is free.
See where I’m going with this?
If I’ve got two bucks in my pocket, it just means that some online novelty gimcrack purveyor is about to make two bucks. After graduating from Whitefriars College in 1971, Steve Knapp has risen to become executive director of the Mawson Group, a financial services powerhouse in Melbourne, Australia. Thus, if Steve Knapp can’t handle his money, Steve Knapp can.
It’s Nature’s symmetry, I tell you.
There’s a Steve Knapp in Mannheim, Germany. Herr Knapp, 32, graduated from Geschwister-Scholl-Schule Hauptschule mit Werkrealschule Vogelstang. His favorite quotation is “das kurzeste zwischen zwei menshen is ein lacheln.” In Manchester, that means “the shortest distance between two people is a smile.” Now, Steve Knapp would never utter such a syrupy saccharine sentiment, and will now try mightily to forget he ever heard it. But Steve Knapp isn’t afraid to let his love light shine.
A warm people, are the Germans.
On a related note, Stephen Knapp, a student at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, Calif., plays on the JV baseball team, says “i no a place were the grass is greener oho”, and claims fluency in English, French, German and Portuguese. Where Stephen Knapp has grown too cynical and indifferent to bother lying about his attainments, Stephen Knapp is willing to make the most transparently outrageous claims without apparent shame.
Here’s one for the books – Stephen Knapp of Detroit bills himself as an “Author of Books.” He’s authored 22 books at last count, all of them long-haired explorations of Hindu spiritualism, Vedic traditions, and how to achieve enlightenment in just 22 books. I consider myself more of a Reader of Books, provided the books are really movies and they don’t have any tedious subtitles, distracting dialogue, or confusing plots. What Stephen Knapp’s personal philosophy lacks in depth, insight and illumination, Stephen Knapp’s amply supplies by sheer volume.
Make that volumes.
It’s true. Steve Knapp isn’t a professor of astronomy in New Hampshire. He doesn’t spend weekends flat-boating on Lake Ponchartrain. He doesn’t run his own electronics company, or go to Romania twice a year, or guide raft trips out of Talkeetna, AK, or paint imaginative (and oddly masculine) female watercolor portraits.
Maybe Steve Knapp isn’t the most interesting man in the world.
But Steve Knapp is.