Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)

Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)
"A curious and wonderful work of great human value by a Danish master." Sebastian Barry, Man Booker finalist (Click on the picture to go to the book's Amazon page)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Addiction to Facebook. (Will Somebody Help Me, Please?)

My role model was Francis of Assisi until that faithful day in May ...

I'm addicted.

It's not something I'm proud of. On the contrary, I'm ashamed of myself. You have to understand that I'm a deeply spiritual person. I pray to God every day, I meditate on Francis of Assisi, and most important, I'm a student of Eckhart Tolle - this German friend of Oprah's who has invented the now. But I'm still addicted, there's no way around it.

It all started May 31. My girlfriend introduced me to Facebook. I'd heard of it several times before, of course. Through the last couple of years, many people had told me, "why don't you go on Facebook, Peter? You can tell people about your books and you can introduce your blogs ... actually, you can make a total fool of yourself in front of millions of people instead of those eleven who show up for your readings."

I listened to my friends. I felt the great love they had for me and I decided to go for it. So May 31 I started my new life on Facebook. My girlfriend introduced it to me. She's a darling, she knows I'm technically challenged, so she explained the basics like she was talking to a retard. We set up my profile and I picked a picture from my collection of five thousand portraits.

"Do you have to look so fuckable?" she asked when I chose one from last year where I'm laughing like a madman.

"I can't help it, baby," I sighed, "but at my age, it's important to be attractive. In a few years, I might not have a body."

My pale beauty started to cry and I promised her I wouldn't let any woman be my Facebook friend unless she was incredibly repulsive.

"Thank you," she said and kissed me on the cheek.

Before my addiction ....

After ...

Then I went to work. I filled out all kinds of information about myself: how I love Crowded House and mountain lakes; how my favorite films are E.T. and Deep Throat. But the first thing I saw was a sentence in my profile that took my breath away - a sentence of such unbelievably cruelty that I sank into a deep depression. It said: Peter has no friends.

"But baby, how does Facebook know that? How come Facebook is aware that I don't have a true friend in the world and never will?"

My girlfriend explained to me that I shouldn't take it personally. It simply meant that at this point I didn't have any, but I would get many later when I found old class mates and shady loan sharks in the listings.

"About thirty million are on Facebook", she explained, "so there's an outside chance you know one or two".

Boy, was she right. Ever since that day my life has changed.

I've gotten in contact with lost aquaintances from the nineties, with old lovers from the eighties, and with coke heads from the seventies. Strangers in Brazil want to be my friend, women in Tuscalusa are lusting after my body - I'm online 24 hours a day. Actually, I've refused to leave my computer since May 31, I haven't eaten a single time; my new friends won't allow it.

"I hate what Facebook has done to you," my girlfriend cried and lashed out at me with a broom stick.

She left me yesterday because I'm only able to relate to her online. I find it very confusing when people have a body, I just want them to have a profile.

Very soon I'm going to be on Messenger as well. And on MySpace. I'm maintaining two blogs, Danish Accent in English and Forfatteren Peter H. Fogtdal in Danish. Right now a friend in France wants to make a website for my French books and has asked me for material. With a bit of luck I'll never have to write a novel again. Who needs it, it's hard work. This is so much more fun!

And in the future I won't need anything as gross as a real girlfriend. I can just stay online, the safest and most wonderful place on earth ...

Even my gorgeous niece Thyra in Denmark has told me I blew it ...

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