I remember being in 7th grade. Each home room had to elect a president at the beginning of the year (I think the major duty was carrying notes to the office), it was a scary time. The first year of middle school — just out of elementary school. There were many new kids from other schools that I didn’t know that well and I was separated from my usual crew of beautiful popular girls so I was feeling a bit out of sorts. I never really did well apart from my friends… I was the token dorky jock in the midst of the cool girls.
So, there, I found myself sitting in home room with kids I didn’t know, in a school that was new — hoping desperately not to be noticed while at the same time striving to fit in. The teacher called for nominations for president — silence, of course, was the answer he received. I remember looking down at my paper and doodling — wondering when the bell would ring to release me back out into the hallways and the comfort of my friends, then, a hand went up… “Becky”, they said, “I nominate Becky”.
“Yes!” I screamed in my mind while still doodling nonchalantly on my paper.
“I second it”, another voice said from behind me.
“Yes, yes, yes!” I screamed even louder in my head, “They like me, they really really like me!” But wait… I thought. I don’t even have any lollipops with notes attached that read — Vote For Becky! How could I win without those lollipops?
A few minutes later, it was official… I was the president of the dorks, the note carrier to the teacher in the room at the farthest end of the hall — and proud of it. Fast forward to my sophomore year of college.
Homecoming queen nominations were being sought — the fraternity that my sorority was paired with was going over possible nominations. I wasn’t paying attention because tradition had it that a senior officer in the sorority received the nomination. Then… I heard my name in the distance, “Punky”, I listened closely with all the hearing power of the bionic woman. “Punky would win”.
I tried desperately to pretend to be paying no attention to the talks in the adjoining room but let my imagination cling to that thought a little too long. I saw my picture on posters, I saw me sitting atop a convertible riding through the stadium, I saw me standing in the commons area passing out lollipops with little notes attached that read — Vote For Punky!, I saw… “No, it needs to be a senior”…
Fast forward to now. There’s a game on Twitter on Fridays called “Follow Friday”. The premise is, you send a “shout out” to the people you find funny and interesting and profound and mysterious (not necessarily in that order and not necessarily all in the same person), you tell others they should follow that person as well — a great big classroom presidential nomination.
I don’t participate too often, I always forget to give a “shout out” to someone and then I feel bad that I forgot them and then when I go back later to remember them it becomes very aware that I forgot them in the first place. The neuroses accompanied by Follow Fridays is complex. And… I think all of the people I follow are funny and interesting and dark and mysterious — that’s why I follow them in the first place.
But, still… I find myself checking in on Friday’s a little too obsessively, just to see. Once, maybe twice or 14 times — to see if I received any of those “shout-outs”, to see if they like me… if they really really like me. I think I should send a disclaimer each Friday morning that says, “I’m caught between not wanting to participate to avoid hurt feelings and desperately seeking a nod in my direction — also, I have lollipops.”
Classroom presidential nominations… homecoming queen nominations… follow Friday nominations… and of course, Facebook friend requests go in there somewhere as well. The yin and the yang, the ups and the downs… the virtual :::sigh:::
I think I’ll go check Twitter for those follow Friday’s, right after I look in on Facebook for new friend requests. But first, I’m going to finish getting ready to go out to dinner with a really nice person who knows nothing of Twitter or Facebook or the failed anticipation of a homecoming nomination. All he knows is I have a big bag of lollipops sitting on my kitchen counter.
Follow Friday, friend requests, or dinner dates? I’m pretty sure I know which one I like the best — maybe I’ll share my answer in a few hours. What about you?
In case you haven’t met her… let me introduce you to the next classroom president, the next homecoming queen, the next smash of Follow Friday and Facebook friend requests — this is the coolest of the cool girls.