CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Facebook Isn’t My Cup of Green Tea


(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on June 29, 2011.)


I have a problem.  Nothing like Anthony Weiner’s, but these days everything I do is sort of magnified, if you know what I mean. No sense in getting philosophical about how you eat an ear of corn. With me it’s left to right, three rows of kernels at a time or four if I’m really hungry. Or why not be concerned about which foot goes first climbing stairs or descending on an escalator (me left-footed.) I mean, shoot, those of you who visit with CR2S every Wednesday on Page 3 aren’t exactly concerned about my woes; you have your own concerns and worries.

But how about allowing me to play the pobrecito, poor fella card today. Explanation first:

Crossroads to Somewhere, as most regulars are aware, isn’t exactly a hip/hep/with-it kind of guy; a good while passes before we catch on with what’s current and popular.  Examples: First car ever owned was a Studebaker (you didn’t know if you were coming or going.); had two Nehru jackets, (although one was a gift);  bought Stardust Hotel #1 stock from a guy named Antonio; collected 78 rpm records like they would become oil stock.

When Facebook craze excited the e-crowd several years ago, oldies like me sat back in awe and wonder and bewilderment. Just as we did earlier when the cell phone, BlackBerry, texting, iPod et al were introduced. (I don’t say overwhelmed because you have to understand before being astonished.) With the introduction of every new gadget and gizmo I would devote time to read up on them, have everything patiently explained by my boys, cluck and nod my head in apparent understanding, and then forget the gobbledygook. I mean, look, I still have a box of carbon paper!

Then it became time for the social media phenomena. Unsurprisingly, CR2S is playing catch-up, again; the reason for my current dilemma.

Way back in my newspaper editor days, I established a no-affiliation policy.That meant not joining the JACL, VFW, Chamber of Commerce, Li’l Tokyo Businessmen’s Association, JA Optimist Club, *ad infinitum. There could be no hint of favoritism if not a member. I was free to cover, comment, criticize. (*I did make an exception with VC, Visual Communications. Besides believing in the ambitious startup, I took delight in supporting a fledgling org that had no qualms about using the initials of the Viet Cong!)

Facebook may be an anomaly but it has an overwhelmingly popular mass of joiners who are as pleased as punch and peanuts, searching for ever more friends and contacts.

Well, folks, I ain’t no big deal and am quite pleased with the current level of Rafu Shimpo readers and correspondents. Since I make a practice of being nonplussed and unembarrassed to be a public piñata on occasion, I find no need for a Facebook page or signing on with its ever-expanding masses.

Thus, finally, we come to the dilemma referred to in the opening paragraph:

I’ve been invited to become a Facebook supporter by a variety of great friends and acquaintances and have been looking for a way to gracefully decline all offers without  being misunderstood, appearing callous or alas, hai-seki (being an a..h…). I mean, hey, we’re all friends to begin with, some longer than others, so where’s the need to add CR2S to your roster of confidantes? You can see why I’m having difficulty trying to get my point across without being a total * (it’s in the dictionary).

I’m not the greatest conversationalist on a cell phone, let alone a land line or in person. My electric typewriters have been put to pasture, forcing a comfort level with computer writing; email hasn’t completely taken the place of slo-mail. (There is still that personal warmth of a signed letter.) Twitter is as foreign (and distasteful) as an ill-edited column filled with typos, misspellings and mea culpas. Texting belongs in there someplace, too.

What I’m having difficulty explaining is that I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by declining well-meant invitations. It’s that I harbor no feelings of faux importance or significance in this declination. I just ain’t no big deal, bruddha/sista!

Other than pictorials, immediacy, updates and commentary, what has FB got to offer that we don’t have already? CR2S can’t survive without strawberries, peanut brittle, See’s caramels, saba-shio and tsukemono, Sinatra and Sirius radio, email from friends.

So we won’t be Facebook friends. Big deal. We have each other. S’nuf!

“How much do I love thee?  Let me count the ways . . .” [With apologies to Liz B. Browning:  Many, many, many . . . ]


W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached via email. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.





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