Friday, March 31, 2023

EDITORIAL: Should I Be Madder At My Mom Or The Facebook Algorithm For Taking Three Weeks To Tell Me My Sister Died?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following editorial written by Not Really.News’ public commentator, Dustin Pewpson, contains views that are solely Mr. Pewpson’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of the management of NotReally.News.

Don’t take me wrong — I love and enjoy social media as much as the next guy.

I don’t know what my life would be like if I lost the ability to semi-anonymously stalk my ex-girlfriends on Facebook. If I suddenly couldn’t use Twitter to tell a comedian I didn’t find a particular joke from their most recent Netflix special all that funny, I know my life would be certainly much worse for the wear. That being said, the recent death of my sister has given me an opportunity to perhaps reevaluate just how big a fan of social media I am, and in particular, I’m starting to wonder if, perhaps, living a life where we only get updates on what’s happening in them when a faceless algorithm decides what to show us is not a very healthy way to live after all.

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First off, I should say that by “recent” in terms of my sister’s passing, it was actually just over a month ago. However, I only just found out about it a couple of days ago from mother, Sharon. I should say that Sharon and I have not been on the greatest of terms for a while now. I can’t put my finger on it specifically, but it has seemed that ever since I told her that I thought her meatloaf tasted like someone dipped it in molten diarrhea and then rolled in ketchup, she has been more than a little icy to me. Maybe I was a little harsh in my criticism, but I’m sorry, don’t have a son that’s paid to critique and commentate if you can’t handle him critiquing and commenting on your absolutely abhorrent meatloaf, Mommy!

I happened to call my sister Lynette about six days ago, and I was off-put, admittedly, when Sharon answered.

“Oh, hi, Mother,” I said. I know was probably not sounding very pleased to hear her. “Can I talk to Lynn real quickly? I’ve got just a simple question for her about what temperature to set the oven for pot roast.”

Lynn is — was, I guess — a hell of a chef. She worked at some of the best restaurants here in town, and was the executive chef and owner at her pride and joy, Maison Explosion de Saucisse, a French sausagery. What Sharon told me next, I’ll never forget.

With her usual, cold ways, she informed me that I couldn’t speak to Lynn.

“No, I’m sorry, Dustin, but you can’t talk to Lynn, because she’s dead,” Mother said. “She died about three weeks ago. Hit by a bus coming home after dinner service at the restaurant. The funeral was last week. Beautiful service, actually.”

What the hell, I thought.

“What the hell, Mom? When were you going to tell me? This is so typical of you,” I said. I was shocked, hurt and angry.

For the next thirty minutes my mother and I argued, yelled, and screamed at each other.

I told her that this is just so very typical of her, to be so selfish and self-absorbed that she couldn’t deign to tell me about Lynn dying. She told me that maybe I’d get more family news if I didn’t treat them like they smell like shit and I’m better than them just because I write “stupid jerk opinion columns” for “some who-gives-a-shit online rag” and sometimes get free tickets to movies or the state fair or whatever.

I don’t think I’ll be speaking to Sharon much for a few months; that’s how this works. In fact, before this last call with her, where she told me that my sister died, I hadn’t spoken to my mother in about half a year. We had a falling out after a fight we had over which flavor of Jell-O is the best. I’m sorry, but if anyone comes at me with this “cherry Jell-O is the best” nonsense, I’m going to excommunicate them, even if I just happened to fall out of their vagina to start my life.

After slamming the phone down in anger and disgust, I casually took my phone out and browsed over to Facebook. There, right at the top of my feed, was a post from a mutual friend I share with my sister. The friend was heartbroken to hear of Lynn’s passing. The post was also from three weeks ago, but Facebook’s algorithm only just now showed it to me. You can imagine how dismayed I was to click over and see my feed was set to “Top Stories” and not “Most Recent.”

Apparently, to Facebook, my sister’s death was not, in fact, a “Top Story.”

I expect my mom to be the same icy, uncaring bitch she’s always been, but good God Facebook, can I see some news about my family member dying instead of how racist my old high school classmate is now? Maybe I’m wrong though. I doubt it, but it is possible my thinking on this issue is off. If you think so, let me know by dropping me a comment, or emailing the website and putting “Pewpson’s Ponderings” in the subject line.

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Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.

Dustin Pewpson
Dustin Pewpson
Dustin is a local DJ, artisan cheese monger, and professional pastry judge. He is a public commentator for several publications on his home state and elsewhere. Dustin likes dogs, hamburgers, and jazz.
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