are you crazy? you’re going to get yourself killed out there!

just a few hours before the beginning of the year 2011, i took a look at my facebook friends list and said “gee, who ARE all these people?  and when was the last time i saw any of them?”  i made a resolution to meet and spend time with each and every friend–all 325 of them–before the end of the year.  it was quite a year.

but something i heard over and over from people was “are you crazy?  you’re going to get yourself killed!”

catherine barnes, 32, of ohio traveled by herself to wales to meet some facebook friends for the first time. she disappeared in january and her frantic family spent many a night believing she might met an awful fate. the swansea police located her in february. what a relief!

whenever i met a facebook friend, if it was for the first time, i always made sure i had a chaperone or that i was in a public place.  i NEVER met someone in my home or in their home.  only one time was there an exception. . . .

one facebook friend, who was mutual friends with a girlfriend of mine, kept insisting that we should meet at my house and that he would be such a gentleman as to bring a bottle of wine. for a full year we went back and forth on this issue, and i would always decline. or we would make arrangements to meet in a public place and he would cancel at the last minute. finally, one day i relented and said "sure, come on over" he was on his way! and when he called to say he was ten minutes away, i reminded him that i had houseguests--pictured here--zeeb and beth feywood. the facebook friend never showed up. he's part of the ten percent i never got to meet!


so i wasn’t completely surprised by the news that the brooklyn orthodox jewish girls school beth rivkah asks its students to not use facebook.  students who are discovered to have facebook accounts are ordered to delete them and pay a one hundred dollar fine. a firestorm of publicity has ensued in the past few weeks because several girls have been kicked out of the school for not adhering to the rule.

“girls are getting killed on the internet,”  school administrator benzion stock told the new york post.  “that’s the reason for it.”

he also added that facebook “is not a modest thing to do”, claiming the internet ruins marriages and families.  i agree.  girls are getting killed by people that they meet on the internet in unsafe situations.  some marriages and families are destroyed by affairs that are begun as simple facebook friendships.  but by that logic, we need to immediately get rid of other forms of communication, starting with . . .

the post office? telegraph? carrier pigeons? semaphores? what are we thinking about??? any of these things could be dangerous for marriages, families, our very lives because they foster communication!


maybe instead, people need to set up safeguards for themselves.  which brings me to f2fb friend #309, the not at all dangerous martin ruffner.  ruffner is a gentleman and, as such, it wouldn’t even dawn on him to ask me to meet him outside of a public place.  in this case, libertyville’s jamaican hawaiian irish english restaurant firkin’s, for lunch.  we arrived separately.  we enjoyed a meal together and we talked about our children.

i have two sons and so does martin. he has been following my blog and my story in part because he identifies. . . he has been through a rough patch but he has found comfort and strength in his family and friends--some of whom are on facebook!

during last year, i was grateful to the many chaperones who made the trips possible!  now i am on my way out the door to visit with facebook friends for whom i feel honored to pay it forward!



9 responses to “are you crazy? you’re going to get yourself killed out there!

  • siggamag

    yep in this day and age, we somehow need to be more careful about what we say and what we do and who we meet and where. However, this technology has enabled me to “meet” you and experience your life through your eyes, I also have a ‘friend’ who was a teacher in Japan and is now in Thailand on her way to her water world in Mexico, where she will hopefully fulfill her lifelong dream of travelling on her own yacht (which she has had for a number of years), “knowing” you and her has made my life that much more interesting…. I get to live vicariously through your adventures, your ups and downs….

  • martinruffner

    Great advice to be careful wherever you go! Worldly and grounded articulate and amusing Arlynn is quite amazing.

  • Harold

    Always good to be safe.

    I give my wife tips too. Like carrying a second set of keys to the car in your pocket. If someone stops you for the keys (and/or yourself) throw them as far away from you and the car as possible and run the opposite way, hopefully towards help. Then you still have another set of keys.

  • howardlovelyjr

    GoodMorning Arlynn,…

    There are several themes in this post that I like such as: openness, vulnerability, general trust, wisdom, good judgement, willingness and risk taking.
    If we think about it for a minute,….we do all these things without thinking at an intersection while driving a car or walking across the street. That is to say,…we generally [trust] that other drivers are paying attention, we make ourselves [vulnerable] by stepping off the curb and into the cross-walk.
    We take risks every day in general in so many ways from the food we eat to crossing the street.
    Because I intellectually understand the above mentioned concept, this is in part is why the [anxiety] component of my Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder(PTSD) tends to be so baffling and frustrating in terms of how my brain chemistry works.

    Arlynn,….your entire article reminds me of something Marianne Williamson said once:
    “It’s never safe to be open and vulnerable,….but it’s [always safe to YOU],….You can be open, you can be vulnerable and you can be simulataneously smart, wise and savy”.

    She says it something like that anyway….

    Howard Lovely, Jr.

  • Nancy

    I am glad you are being careful in your journey . There seems to be a lot of crazy people around today but if you do not reach out to people you miss all the fun too. Go forward or you go backward no one stands still.

  • arlynnpresser

    sig always good to hear from you. harold that’s a great suggestion! howard, i think marianne, you and me should have coffee. and nancy, thank you so so so much!

  • howardlovelyjr

    Make that celestial-season cinnamon apple spice tea,….. and ya got yourself a deal…!!!
    Now if we can just figure out how to get Marianne to join us…???
    That will be some kind of gathering to say the least,…I’ll pick her brain like a chicken on a farm!!!

    I have a dear friend in the Chicago area and several aquaintances but I have’nt visited the area since 2008 for a wekend long men’s-healing workshop. My friend Yvonne from Chicago visited me twice last summer though.

    Howard Lovely, Jr.

  • Tony Tyner

    I once heard that a very wise elder native American Indian said, “The Internet was a ‘Gift from Spirit.'”

    As with all tools we are given, they are neutral. It’s how we use them that makes the difference. Is Facebook good? Is Facebook bad? As with everything, it just is.

    This truth allows us the realization that Facebook is a tool.

    Some people are out to build. Some are indifferent. Some are out to tear down.

    Congratulations for focusing on using this tool for great, amazing things! AND congratulations for not ignoring the realities of the not so good.

    “Amazing Things” by Megon McDonough and Jana Stanfield

  • Julia Kovach

    Insightful and well done, Arlynn. Thanks for taking me along on your adventure! xoxo

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