The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 108
More likely to change all that would be an unauthorized biography of Kim K or Donald Trump or some other preposterous “brand.” But Mike—a published writer of some pretty decent fiction—convinces me there remains a place and an audience for literary nonfiction. So I sign up with Facebook.
Not to the exclusion of Ello, however. I keep it going, advising readers of the first 18 chapters that if they want to continue following the story, follow it on FB. I’ll make it a public feed so they don’t have to identify themselves or “friend” me. Doubtful many will cross over, Ello being the anti-FB of social media.
Can’t blame them. Jesus. Welcome to corporate retail surveillance, ad bombardment, constant AP updates and celebrity gossip.
And let us not forget political correctness.
F*ck instead of fuck.
Fuck. What have I done?
Oh. I see what I’ve done. Not only have I signed up on my birthday—a day of much guilt and forced politeness on FB—but people are “friending” me like crazy because Mike, following a silly, but sweet, profile of who I am—I’m “a groove,” apparently—and an equally off-truth intro, has requested they do so.
Only one name is familiar: Joe Frank, the longtime “artist in residence” at KCRW radio station in Santa Monica, an NPR affiliate. Good. He’s as literary as it gets. Additionally, he’s got just under the max number of friends allowed on FB: 5k.
Good again. I’ve been thrown a few bones, and…
people are devouring chapter one.
Personal messages—nonexistent on Ello—“likes” and comments from LA, NYC, Canada, Europe, Asia, come rolling in. I put the computer on mute, avoiding a ceaseless string of “dings.”
“Happy Birthday, Robert!”
“Love it! Strong and intense writing.”
Joe Frank comments: “After reading this, I realize my life is empty.”
“Yeah?” I respond, “Maybe we can arrange a trade.”
Something I’ve done for many consecutive birthdays since discovering its presence on YouTube—this birthday included upon escaping the FB site and closing gmail—is travel back in time via video to October, 1974. The Heavyweight Championship of the World. Ali vs Foreman. Zaire, Africa.
God, I remember the real time moment so vividly. Our side had finally won a major victory months earlier with the resignation of Nixon. The Rumble in the Jungle sealed it in blood. Nothing would ever be the same. Such an overpowering triumph of the spirit, the heart, of integrity over that creeping, metastasizing deal with the devil known as capitalism and all its insidious tentacles.
But, well, insidious happens, slowly and silently sucking up memory nectar during sleep, replacing it with fog. And so, 20+ years after that night in Zaire, midway through my coffeehouse barista period, sitting outside at an umbrella covered table one afternoon with Danelle—she reading the entertainment section of the LA Times, me the sports page—I was less than stunned to read that Foreman, of all the celebrity product endorsement guys on earth, was the highest paid: