Ever since I've been allowed to hurl my musings at The Nervous Breakdown, expanding my readership beyond my usual four, now that I have the potential for an audience of at least five, my brain has been taking it out on me. I am not in my comfort zone. I have been skillfully and assiduously avoiding a public face on the internet since, oh, forever. I've written extensively, but my name has not been attached. I have kept the innocent and the guilty alike hidden in my dedication to anonymity. I'm comfortable with that.
Perhaps it's my name. If I didn't have such a whacked-out name, I wouldn't think about it so much. Search for "Angela Smith" on the intarwebs, you potentially face a long haul finding the "Angela" you're interested in. But "Quenby Moone?" Yeah. There's only one of those.
Megan DiLullo and I were discussing my future here on TNB, and she told me I should get on Facebook. It was a good way for people to contact me, make a face for myself. Really? Why in God's name would I want to do that? So my psychotic ex-boyfriend can find me and ask me how my kid is?
But Megan is nothing if not clever, so I entertained that she might have a point. I've been pretty well-insulated until now, but if I had any hope of having a readership beyond my father, who has a genetic investment in my successes and failures, and my other three (possibly paid) devotees to my inner brain queefs, I would probably have to go on Facebook and mingle.
I summoned no small part of bravery to sign up for an account. And I totally punked it, since I went by my white trash handle, Tawny Bouté. I poked Megan to show that I had the guts to be there, and then I poked my husband. I had two Facebook friends.
Not bad, really.
I don't know how it happened. I don't know how someone I haven't spoken to in 22 years found me on there, buried under my white trash nom de plume, but there it was: a friend request from someone I hardly remember. And it wasn't that I didn't want to have him as my friend, I just didn't know why he wanted to be mine. I panicked. I worried about it. I thought about "friending" him (a gerund which drives me nuts), and realized that it was the first step down a long road of friends I hardly know all friending each other. It's so weird, and nosey, and slightly voyeuristic.
But I know that it's great, too. I know that people have discovered each other and re-kindled long dormant relationships to the benefit of all parties. And why am I so vain as to believe anyone would even care about finding me again? What makes me so special? Who, exactly, do I think I am? Miley Fucking Cyrus?
Then the self-flagellation set in.
So what if this was it? What if I had my two friends and died tomorrow, the pathetic woman with only her husband and her fellow TNB'er there to witness I was ever on Facebook at all? "I'd better go get some more friends," I thought.
I found one hidden under a pseudonym and gave him a webby shout. Now I had three.
As a percentage, it was a marked improvement.
But what if one of my real-world friends discovered that I wasn't their Facebook friend? Maybe they wouldn't realize that I only had three Facebook friends, and would think I was actively shunning them. Would they de-friend me in real life? Maybe I should go and find everyone I ever knew and make them my friend. But what if they don't want me as their friend? What if I discover I'm an undesirable on Facebook? What if I am actually a member of the lowest rung of the Facebook caste system: The Untouchable?
I couldn't believe this was the inner monologue of someone who turned forty this year. Tawny deleted her account five days after she created it.
But the fact remains: Quenby Moone has never put a face to her writing, and now she's been graciously accepted into the cabal of "The Nervous Breakdown." And my inner masochism is no longer about Facebook, but about what to publish here. "I know. I'll publish one about my boobs," I'll think. "Boobs are always a popular subject." But then I'll realize someone recently published one about her boobs, and it was probably ten times funnier than the one about my boobs.
"I'll mix it up; I'll send the one about the chickens." But maybe I'm the only person who thinks a quixotic relationship with barnyard fowl is funny. "Maybe the one about my nervous breakdown? That would at least be name-appropriate. But maybe cliché. Maybe too cute and affected. 'See what I did there? Huh? I wrote about a nervous breakdown on a site called "The Nervous Breakdown?" Clever, huh?'"
On and on it goes. So here we are. At the end of a piece about neither boobs nor chickens nor nervous breakdowns, but about my inability to decide what to publish on "The Nervous Breakdown."
Think of it as an exercise in post-post-modernism.