4th Grade TomOne of the services I offer to reading clubs as an author is that, if we can work out the scheduling, I’ll meet with groups who have read Inheriting the Trade in person, via Skype, speaker phone, or I will respond to questions/comments that clubs send me in advance of their meeting. I’ve thus met with reading clubs as far away as Denver and Tulsa, and as close as my home town.

A few weeks ago I received a list of questions from one such club in Chicago. The final question had nothing to do with Inheriting the Trade. A woman asked if I remembered Gary and Greg, twin brothers from elementary school in Pomona. Of course I did! I remember not being able to tell them apart. I remember them going to each other’s classes to fool their teachers (this may be my imagination but I think it happened).

I’m now Facebook friends with both Greg, Gary, and Gary’s wife Debbie (the member of the reading club) and we’ve been catching up on each other’s lives since we last saw each other more than 40 years ago. We went to different junior high schools and then they moved away. Here’s a photo of Greg and me with all our 4th grade classmates:

4th Grade class

Cute, huh? That’s me, front row, third from the right.

The point of this is that I LOVE Facebook. I love how technology has advanced to the point that connecting with people is easier than ever before in history. Cell phones, Skype, e-mail, and all sorts of social media hold the promise of connection, of relationship. An online chat cannot replace face-to-face contact any more than “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, how are you?” “Fine” can replace a deeply authentic relationship. It’s all in how we choose to maintain and enhance our relationships.

No, I’m not saying that I’m best friends with each of my 700+ Facebook friends. Most are people I’ve never met. But as in all of life we have significant relationships with very few people and, hopefully, passing, respectful, and mutually beneficial relationships with many others.

And all this technology has allowed for so much more access to travel, communication, and information. Whatever we want, it seems, is at our fingertips. Last week on Facebook I posted a video of a guy talking about how “Everything is amazing and nobody’s happy.” You have to see this. I’m certain you will be amused at how silly and spoiled we have become.

Everything IS amazing!