Today my daughter is 15. It is difficult for me to, um, conceive of the fact that it’s been 15 years since I was in labor for the first time. She took about 22 hours to make her entrance into the world, and by the time she arrived I was exhausted and starving. After a nap and a double cheeseburger and onion rings from Burger King, I was reenergized and ready to face parenthood. Now she’s nearly grown — beautiful and smart and everything I could ask for in a daughter. Where did a decade and a half go?
It goes without saying that my daughter has a My Space page. She doesn’t spend every waking minute working on it, but she’s devoted to keeping her photos updated and to messaging her friends. There was, however, a feature of My Space with which I was unfamiliar until the other day. I was reading about a Top 8 list and realized that I wasn’t sure what the Top 8 list was. So, driving home from the high school on Friday with a van loaded down with teenagers, I asked them to explain the Top 8 list to me. The response was immediate and energetic, as they simultaneously told me about this ultra-special way to link to 8, and only 8, friends: how not putting someone on your Top 8 list can break up a friendship; how some people live and breathe for their Top 8 lists and their locations on other people’s lists; what a major and crucial My Space feature this is.
I had questions. “Why 8? Why not 10?” 8 is such an odd number. The answer: “Because that’s how many spaces fit across the page.” OK, so why couldn’t they make the spaces smaller, and let everyone display a traditional Top 10 list of friends? No one knew.
And, what if a person didn’t have 8 friends to display on their page? Chloe’s boyfriend had the answer immediately: “Then they’re a loser!” Much laughter from all. They all seemed to concur, however, that the concern over Top 8 placement is overblown. Several of them include fewer than 8 people on their lists, just to avoid upsetting multiple friends.
I don’t understand the purpose of including a feature that has the potential to harm friendships on a site that’s supposed to be all about making new friends. Why can’t users list all their friends without including an ostentatious label that these are Top 8 friends and all others are less worthy? It’s perplexing.
Around 5 years ago we got a ball python, because we thought our son’s allergies would prevent us from owning furry pets. Now, 4 cats and 2 dogs later, I became kind of iffy about feeding live rats to the snake, and it seemed like time to find her a new home. Today her new owners came and got her: a young woman, around 20, whose family has another python and an iguana. She’s extremely excited to add our big, beautiful python to her collection, and her description of the expansive housing and excellent care the snake will receive left me reassured that she’s going to a good home. But the tank is very dark and empty in the corner, and it will seem odd for a long time to not have a snake.