I am not the Poster Child for Perfection. I have laughed at others’ misfortunes. I have walked past the legless man begging for a bit of change (although, in fairness, today I bought him a chicken salad sandwich). I have walked a block out of my way to avoid the Greenpeace kids in front of Whole Foods beseeching me to protect the environment.
Perfect? Me? Not even close.
At times I am thoughtless and sometimes I speak before I’ve considered how my words might sound to another. In other words, I’m human. I’m no more caring, compassionate or spiritual than my neighbor. But, like my neighbor, I’m trying. I’m trying to reflect on how my choices, my words and my actions impact the lives of those they reach.
And that’s why it has occurred to me that we might want to sit back and take a moment to contemplate how we use social media.
A well-intentioned friend who thought I would find it funny first delivered the joke to my inbox about a year ago. About six months later, a new version of the same bad joke showed up, this time sent by a student. And then, just a few days ago, a yoga teacher and friend whom I admire decided to post the joke on his Faeebook wall.
And that’s why I wish I’d spoken twelve months earlier.
I guess you’d consider the joke a sight gag. On one side there are a series of photographs taken of yoga practitioners in various postures looking beautiful and calm and aligned. These are juxtaposed by stolen images (I say stolen because it’s obvious the subjects did not know they were being photographed) of men who appear to be living rough. They may be drunk or on drugs. They are all either sleeping or unconscious and their bodies have fallen in a way that mimics the postures being demonstrated by the yogis. I don’t want to post a link. If you’re curious Google “drunk yoga”.
My family was touched by alcoholism and drug dependency and maybe that’s why I can’t laugh. I can’t laugh at something so cruel and heartless. Something that demonstrates an unbelievable lack of compassion.
Then again, it could be that with all my imperfections I’m also a fuddy-duddy with no sense of humor.
Either way, maybe we should sit back and consider what we pass around on Facebook. How often have we reflexively shared a post, an image or a joke? Do our posts speak to who we are? Are they a reflection of how we relate to the world and to one another? Do they add something to the dialogue or are they cheap shots?