They glared at each other across the table, eyes locked in visionary combat. What had begun as a friendly dinner with a couple of friends had degenerated into a battle royale. In her anger, Marge forgot all the obligations of a guest, drilled into her by her mother since her first invitation to a birthday party. At four years old, she had not understood why she couldn’t push the birthday girl who was annoying her. Now, at twenty four, she should have known better.
“That’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard!” her girlfriend Shelley spat at her. Their dates sat back in their chairs, trying to pretend they were not a part of the ever increasing imbroglio.
What had started out as a congenial discussion of Facebook vs. MySpace, had suddenly descended into vituperative name calling when Shelly proudly stated she had twenty five hundred friends. To stick a pin in her bubble, Marge proceeded to tell her about an article she read, in which a noted anthropologist said the human brain could only handle one hundred fifty friends and acquiring thousands of them like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the winter was a meaningless and futile exercise. Shelley had rolled her eyes and waved her hand in Marge’s face.
“Well, I think it’s true,” Marge said, mainly because she had not even reached the one thousand friend mark.
“You would,” Shelley shot back. “If I remember correctly, you are virtually friendless. Why don’t you try joining another network; perhaps one for … book lovers. I can give you the name of a few, if you like.”
Marge folded her arms and cocked her head to the side. “Thanks anyway. I believe I know as many social networks as you.”
“Oh really?” Shelley sat back in her chair, her mouth twisted in a smile of disbelief and distain. “Name just one that has foreign members.”
“Qzone.” Marge raised one eyebrow, challenging Shelley to top that.
Shelley’s foot started tapping under the table. “BIGADDA.”
Leaning slightly forward, Marge countered with “Badoo.”
Almost audibly grinding her teeth, Marge said “Virb.”
“Oh, so you’re going there, huh? Okay. Friendster.”
“That one is so passé. Keep up with the times. WiserEarth.”
Shelley grimaced as if in pain. “Who told you about that one, your 'noted anthropologist'? Do you know about Taringa?”
Neither of them paid any attention when one of the guys cleared his throat. Shrugging his shoulders, he signaled to his friend and they both got up and went into the kitchen for drinks. The combatants didn’t notice.
“Now I see how you got your twenty five hundred friends,” Marge said nastily. “You trotted around the globe in search of them.”
“Well, at least I didn’t have to beg the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend to befriend me.”
“Yeah, right. You know all of your two thousand plus 'friends' personally!” Marge gave a snort of derision.
Shelley’s cat, Twitter, chose that moment to jump up on one of the chairs that had been vacated. Shelley reached over to stroke him, but was so agitated that she rubbed too hard. Annoyed, he nipped her finger and jumped down, stalking off with his twitching tail held high.
Marge watched Shelley sucking on her injured finger and was suddenly amused.
“Well, I guess you can cross him off your list. Now you’re down to twenty four hundred and ninety nine.”
Shelley looked at her girlfriend for a moment with narrowed eyes. “Why don’t you check out Phooeyonyou.com?”
Then, as the ridiculousness of their interchange struck her, she smiled. The smile was followed by a chuckle, which turned into infectious laughter. Pretty soon both women were almost hysterical with mirth. They stood up, as their dates, hearing the hilarity, came back into the room.
The guys glanced at each other and then at Shelley and Marge, who were grinning widely and holding their pained sides.
“What’s going on?’ one of them asked. Marge and Shelley just shook their heads and chuckled. Then he made the mistake of asking, “Isn’t all of this rather silly?” and watched helplessly as the ladies started laughing again.
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