There are certain critical moments in human history at which, had events unfolded differently, our lives today wouldÂ be changed, changed utterly, beyond all recognition.
Assassinations of heads of state.Â A break in supply lines to the front of a battle between warring empires.Â My decision to buy a pair of pleated pants.
Whatâ€™s that you say?Â One of those three things is out of place?Â What are you, the editor of Highlights for Children?
It is a fact established beyond a peradventure of a doubt that once I have adopted a style, it ceases to be â€œhip.â€Â After standing on the sidelines of pleated pantdom for years, watching used car salesmen, maitre dâ€™s inÂ snooty restaurants and over-leveraged real estate developers have all the pleated pants fun, my decision to finally buy a pair one Sunday resulted in a Pants Crash unequalled since the Pantaloon Panic of 1837.Â The next day pleated pants were drastically marked downÂ across the nation, and pants-futures traders whoÂ had â€œgone longâ€ on the pleated variety were wiped out and suffered from underemployment as bike messengers for years.
The same with restaurants.Â Take your Boite 29, your 34 Park Street, your Gnu and Turq and Bimboniâ€™s.Â Â As soon asÂ they laminate the restaurant review declaring themselves to beÂ the hottest bistro in town, Iâ€“square that I amâ€“walk in the door.Â An audible gasp is heard from the bar, where slender blondsÂ had beenÂ pressing themselves up against the groins of venture capitalists.Â â€œI guess this place is over,â€ someone finally says, and seeing-eye dogs are crushed in the ensuing race for the door.
â€œOh Godâ€“look who just walked in!â€
But all of the past has beenÂ prologue, a mereÂ shot fired in the air comparedÂ toÂ the latest notch on the .45 caliber revolver of my uncoolness.Â Iâ€“and I aloneâ€“killed Facebook.
In case youâ€™re a Japanese soldier whoâ€™s been living in a cave since the end of World War II, Facebook is a social networking web site developed by students at Harvard so your children will waste their time when they should be studying and wonâ€™t get into Harvard.Â Facebook is the subject of a book and a movie and last week, an initial public offering that was the thirdÂ largest in history.Â It had a respectable 150 million users in January of 2009, but by the time it went public it hadÂ 800 million.Â If Facebook were a sovereign state, it would be theÂ third largest country in the world.Â It had everything it needed to achieve world domination by, say Thanksgiving Day.Â And then it got me.
I hadÂ no Facebook account until 2009, and the day after I opened one, the on-line edition of Newsweek carried an article questionning whether Facebook could survive the next five years.Â Six days later I found an article on msn.com titled â€œIs Facebook Past Its Prime?â€œÂ It was the beginning of the end.
I didnâ€™t useÂ the accountÂ much, but recently Iâ€™ve started posting my pasteâ€“I mean pasting my postsâ€“onto my â€œwall.â€Â I learned that when you â€œlikeâ€ somebody on Facebook itâ€™s not like youâ€™re fifth grade boyfriend and girlfriendâ€“you donâ€™t have to hold hands during Saturday matinees.Â
Then FacebookÂ decided to goÂ public,Â but the investment bankers and their hordes of lawyers forgot to check to see what I was up to.Â In between the initial â€œroad showâ€ and the end of the â€œquiet periodâ€ Iâ€™d learned how to send somebody a message and had even joined a groupâ€“Ghostbusters Fans.Â (I wasnâ€™t a philosophy major for nothing.)
The shocking denouement?Â FB shares have fallen below their initial offering price, and the IPO is widely considered a failure.Â Fingers are being pointed, poking people of average height in the chest or, if theyâ€™re significantly shorter, in the eyes.
Itâ€™s nice to know that, after all these years,Â Iâ€™ve still got my style-killing mojo.
Gotta run.Â Iâ€™m going shopping for a pair of plain-front slacks.Â Youâ€™ve been warned.