Tag: Facebook

Fortune Favors the Old

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I mostly take it for granted now that I’m a bitter, bitter old man, but being younger wasn’t easy. For those of you who’ve never been young, in fact, I can tell you that it made almost everything harder. And…wait. What?

How is that even possible? How were some of you not young? I feel like this is a far more interesting story than the one I’m about to tell.

Anyway…

All that aside, it’s only in hindsight that I sort of see the benefits of going to college later on in life. Of course, it wouldn’t be all that useful since it wouldn’t help you get a good job. And if you go late enough you’re the old person in class that people whisper about finishing a degree as part of your bucket list. Not to mention that waiting fifty years to go to college probably means paying about four to five thousand percent of what you would have right out of high school…

You know what? I take it back. College isn’t easy for anyone of any age.

But I’ve never been an old person at college. (Though I was starting to get close by the time my fifth year rolled around.) So let’s focus on what I’m familiar with – how hard it was for young people to do almost anything.

Everything from setting up a back account to getting a first job to avoiding credit card scams is a learning process. Luckily, I’m sure you learned all about that in hypothetical fantasy senior year in high school. You know, the one where you actually learned how to find work or do taxes instead of learning the math where they ran out of numbers and letters so they just started using made-up symbols.

“Couldn’t you just look online?” you ask, about ten years too late to be helpful. “Wasn’t there a YouTube video on it or something? Maybe a Facebook discussion group to ask for advice?”

It would be about there that I’d cut you off in the middle of your list of things that didn’t exist in 2002 by saying that, well, those things didn’t exist in 2002. The Internet in general wasn’t nearly as helpful as it is today. (Though there were a lot fewer advertisements.) For the most part it was just random blogs and personal pages where people complained about not having a unified social media platform where their complaints could reach all their family and friends at once.

But, as I do so often it may as well be the title of this story, I digress…

I at least had the foresight to have a bank account set up in advance. Unfortunately, the bank I’d been using since I was a teenager was located about a mile and a half off campus. Since walking that far even to be handed money was out of the question, this meant finding one on the main street where – and I wish there were more context to this story – a man in a clown costume ushered me into a PNC Bank.

Say what you will about their pitch, but that account had no fees and no minimum balance. Plus it came with a free savings account. I’m still using that account to this day. And in the case of the savings account, I even have money to put in it now.

A lot of other students weren’t so lucky.

I want to give people a little more credit. I really do. But far too many conversations began by someone pointing out they’d just gotten a free shirt. This was generally followed by a sly grin and a comment along the lines of, “All I had to do was sign up for a credit card for three years!”

Yeah. Score.

The talk would generally trend downhill from there when they explained the terms of the agreement. “Well, all I have to do is make purchases with it once a month. The rate is 11.97%. APB? APR? I think they said something about APR. Is that bad?”

I didn’t fall for the college credit card scam. In fact, I’ve never had one. Why? Because they somehow prey on the assumption that your poverty is a situation temporary enough that it’ll probably end in the next 30 days so you can pay off the balance interest-free. But not so temporary that you shouldn’t just wait to make the purchase with real, actual money that belongs to you.

I only learned sometime later that, yes, “APR” is bad. APR is the financial equivalent of writing “jk” after a text. “Your interest rate is 0%! Just kidding. It’s actually 17.99%.”

Or, in the case of “variable APR,” “Jk and sometimes I’m jk-ing more than others.”

And sure, it’s easy to judge those students. (I certainly did.) But how were they to know any better? Like your older relative who just can’t grasp that they need to stop opening e-mails from senders they don’t know to avoid viruses, this was entirely new information to them.

You could argue that anyone should have the common sense to stay away from questionable people giving away free shirts in exchange for signing financial agreements. Then again, if I hadn’t taken financial advice from an actual clown – who I can only assume worked for the bank in some capacity – I’d have been walking a mile and a half every time I wanted to deposit a check.

Okay. I’m rereading it again now. And part of me thinks that maybe there is something more to that clown story.

But it’ll have to wait, since my last point segues nicely into the last hard part of being young. Well, not the last point. The last non-clown point…you know what I mean. I speak, of course, of getting your first job.

Which, now that I think about it, is a topic so large I couldn’t possibly cover it in a separate section about being young only tangentially related to it.

No Comments for Old Men

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Okay. So I’m in my very early thirties and more or less grew up with the Internet, social media, YouTube, Facebook (and to a far lesser degree, Myspace) and, as the children call it, electronic mail. Strictly speaking, I’m not exactly an old man.

But the comments section is starting to confuse me.

I understand why people wouldn’t even bother scrolling down these days. (“I just watched this insightful video. Now what does the Internet’s asshole think about it?”) There’s quite a bit there not to like, and it can be off-putting to some. (“That was a really cute baby video. Let’s see how many comments it takes before I see a racial slur.”) In short, I started this paragraph defending why I even look, and I’ve already forgotten.

The best I can say is that you’ll occasionally find a diamond in the rough, as it were. While 99.9% of what you read is the waste material that’s accumulated from the worst parts of human nature, sometimes you’ll see, you know, a funny joke or something.

The only trouble is, outside all the racism, offensive hate speech and other, more horrifying kinds of racism, it’s starting to get weird down here.

Here are few of the weirdest examples:

Why are people posting comments as celebrities? Every now and then I’ll watch a video and find Joss Whedon posting about how much he loves a particular Nightcore song. And that’s all well and good. Joss Whedon is free to enjoy any sort of music he likes. Only, it isn’t him. (I refuse to believe the real Joss Whedon has only two subscribers and a channel consisting of techno music played over anime fight scenes.)

Some random guy is just using that name and picture. Sometimes they’ll say something like, “This is a great song! Almost as good as Firefly! Lol!” Other times, it’s more along the lines of, “I’m Joss Whedon, and I approve.”

Is this some new, lame form of live action role-laying, or what? I don’t get it. And Joss Whedon wouldn’t explain it to me.

Why are people posting comments as random characters? It’s sort of the same as the last one. Only, someone is just posting as Naruto. No explanation as to what he’s doing there. No backstory. It’s just Naruto…commenting on a video about Boko Haram.

The weirdest part is that these people randomly show up to respond to comments about their show or character. How do they find these? Is there a hidden comment search function I don’t know about? Or is someone really just reading the comments on every single video ever made looking for mentions. You know, between educating himself on militant groups in Nigeria and stuff.

Okay. And here’s just a comment from the show “Knight Rider.” Seriously? The show is commenting? Sigh. You know what? Let’s just move on…

(Note: I stopped it here, but I honestly found someone commenting as the memory expansion pack from the Nintendo 64 shortly thereafter.)

If your only contribution is a picture or GIF, could you not? I realize that not everyone has anything insightful to add to a conversation. That’s okay. What’s not okay is saying nothing at all but putting in a random meme that’s only vaguely related.

“I don’t think the Hunger Games was a good adaptation. They should reboot it.”
“Ugh. Enough with these three-year gaps between reboots. There are too many as it is.”
And then some genius comes in with:

Meme

The only thing worse is the person that does the same, except every captioned picture is an attempt to sway the conversation to politics. I get that you think you’re being insightful when you post a picture that says, “Vote Hillary – And You’ll be Seeing the Hunger Games up Close in Two Years.” But you have to understand that this sort of behavior in the real world is literally the reason our species developed throat punching in the first place.

If anyone could explain this to me, I’d appreciate it. Then again, it would require using the comments section. And then people might start getting clever.

For now, I’ll just keep private messaging Joss Whedon.