Darrell Huckaby - 06/17/09

My name is Darrell Huckaby and I am addicted - to Facebook.

I know. I know. It's hard to believe, isn't it? So let this serve as a warning shot across the bow. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone. Quite frankly, however, this latest addiction is just another in a long line.

Remember when "cellular" phones first came out? They were generally called "car phones" back then and generally came in satchels that were roughly the size of the saddle bags Pony Express riders used to deliver the mail from St. Joe to Sacramento.

"How pretentious!" I used to say. Over and over and over I said it, usually adding, "I'll never buy one of those things. I don't want people to find me when I'm out in my car."

I didn't buy one either. But Stan Harris threw one in when I bought my third or fourth Dodge Caravan from him. All I had to pay was the monthly service charge.

"I'll only use it for emergencies," I promised everyone who would listen.

Right. And Barack Obama will never raise taxes.

I also was not going to carry a cell phone in my pocket, own a computer - I'm on my 10th or 12th, I lose count - and would never, ever, ever try to send a text message to someone instead of dialing their number and talking to them. (I sent 1,500 last month, according to AT&T.)

So despite all the boasts and promises I tend to make concerning technological innovations, I usually succumb to the latest trend, and sooner rather than later. Like Facebook.

Now if you are even less technologically savvy than I am, Facebook is an Internet networking site. My kids have had Facebook pages for years. I never really understood what the whole thing was all about, to tell you the truth, and the whole Facebook phenomena seemed to have a language all its own. I would hear my kids talk about "away messages" and "status updates" and things people "wrote on their walls" and being "tagged" and "friended."

I never pried or tried to see their pages. I trusted them to use good sense because I raised them right and, quite frankly; there are some things a father just doesn't want to know. About all I knew about Facebook was that it was originally a way for college kids to keep up with one another and that it had finally trickled down to high school.

But guess what. Facebook isn't just for kids anymore. In fact, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is now old fogies like me. Baby Boomers are doing Facebook, y'all.

My first indication that you didn't need a student ID to make a Facebook page was when my lovely wife, Lisa, started talking about "posting" and "friending" and "writing on walls," just like the kids had been doing for years.

I rolled my eyes and ridiculed her for trying to be a kid again. And then my boss - not Lisa, my other boss - starting singing the praises of the online phenomena. "You've got to get a Facebook page," he kept telling me, insisting "It's fun and you can connect with old friends and keep up with your current friends."

"Not me," I insisted. "I don't need keeping up with or connecting with."

I lasted just about a week. See how dangerous peer pressure can be? After five or six days of hearing my cohorts talking about pictures that had been posted and comments that had been written I came home and had one of my kids make me a Facebook page, too. My lovely wife Lisa became my first friend. I put a 10-year-old picture on my profile page and started communicating with the rest of the Facebook world.

It took me maybe 36 hours to become totally hooked. My boss was right. Facebook is the bomb! I log in every morning, as soon as I get up, to find out what my ever-growing community of friends has been up to. I talk on a daily basis with people who are local and with people who live on the other side of the world. I have renewed friendships with people that I haven't seen in 30 years and made dozens of new chums.

I get to swap quips with jokesters like Bob Bradley and watch Caroline Ingle's garden grow and be taunted by the lucky folks, like Debra Pollard and Lorie Scroggs, who get to go to the beach all the time while I slave away over the keyboard here at home.

And once in a great while I even get a short cryptic message from my favorite writer, Aimee Jones.

Like I said. I'm an addict. But I wouldn't say that's a bad thing. So far my addiction hasn't caused family conflict - in fact I can keep better tabs on my family now - nor has it interfered with my ability to make a living.

So if you haven't discovered Facebook yet, try it. You might just like it. I'll be your friend.

But what's up with this new-fangled Twitter? I guarantee you, I'll never get involved with that!

Darrell Huckaby, in an effort to offer equality to fathers everywhere, will be signing copies of his books at Evans Market in Conyers, on Saturday, June 20, from 10 am until 2 pm.