There are certain critical moments in human history at which, had events unfolded differently, our lives today would be changed, changed utterly, beyond all recognition.
Assassinations of heads of state. A break in supply lines to the front of a battle between warring empires. My decision to buy a pair of pleated pants.
What’s that you say? One of those three things is out of place? 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 “hip.” After standing on the sidelines of pleated pantdom for years, watching used car salesmen, maitre d’s in 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. The next day pleated pants were drastically marked down across the nation, and pants-futures traders who had “gone long” on the pleated variety were wiped out and suffered from underemployment as bike messengers for years.
The same with restaurants. Take your Boite 29, your 34 Park Street, your Gnu and Turq and Bimboni’s. As soon as they laminate the restaurant review declaring themselves to be the hottest bistro in town, I–square that I am–walk in the door. An audible gasp is heard from the bar, where slender blonds had been pressing themselves up against the groins of venture capitalists. “I guess this place is over,” someone finally says, and seeing-eye dogs are crushed in the ensuing race for the door.
“Oh God–look who just walked in!”
But all of the past has been prologue, a mere shot fired in the air compared to the latest notch on the .45 caliber revolver of my uncoolness. I–and I alone–killed Facebook.
In case you’re a Japanese soldier who’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 won’t get into Harvard. Facebook is the subject of a book and a movie and last week, an initial public offering that was the third largest in history. It had a respectable 150 million users in January of 2009, but by the time it went public it had 800 million. If Facebook were a sovereign state, it would be the third largest country in the world. It had everything it needed to achieve world domination by, say Thanksgiving Day. And then it got me.
I had 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. Six days later I found an article on msn.com titled “Is Facebook Past Its Prime?“ It was the beginning of the end.
I didn’t use the account much, but recently I’ve started posting my paste–I mean pasting my posts–onto my “wall.” I learned that when you “like” somebody on Facebook it’s not like you’re fifth grade boyfriend and girlfriend–you don’t have to hold hands during Saturday matinees.
Then Facebook decided to go public, but the investment bankers and their hordes of lawyers forgot to check to see what I was up to. In between the initial “road show” and the end of the “quiet period” I’d learned how to send somebody a message and had even joined a group–Ghostbusters Fans. (I wasn’t a philosophy major for nothing.)
The shocking denouement? FB shares have fallen below their initial offering price, and the IPO is widely considered a failure. Fingers are being pointed, poking people of average height in the chest or, if they’re significantly shorter, in the eyes.
It’s nice to know that, after all these years, I’ve still got my style-killing mojo.
Gotta run. I’m going shopping for a pair of plain-front slacks. You’ve been warned.