“Harry, my cyberspace honey,” said Dearest Duck. “Get me off this Facebook!”
“Certainly, my Duck,” said I. “I promise. But first…”
But first I must scribble a few words about George Eastman.
Hold the ponies, even before speaking of Georgie I must look farther back in time and say a thing or two about Louis-Jaques-Mande Daguerre, inventor of the…Wait for it…of the daguerreotype process.
I bet your breath is bated.
Daguerre more or less invented photography. Yes, he did.
Ages ago, in eighteen something or other, if you were fortunate enough to have a snap taken of your glum visage, after a long spell of waiting for the daguerreotype developing process to happen, you could scravel happily home and show Mammy your image preserved for ever—or until it faded to yellow—on a sheet of whatever was used as photo paper in those days.
Unless you didn’t feel it was a fortunate occurrence to have your picture taken as in the case of some primitive people—Indians or Hottentots or whoever were the aboriginal folks in question. Those—dare I say superstitious?—characters believed being sketched off by a daguerreotype machine [camera], sucked out their souls, so they promptly proceeded to apply their war clubs heavily to the noggins of demon daguerreotypers [photographers].
Time dodged on.
Eventually, people and photography became more sophisticated. Thanks to George Eastman it became no longer necessary for the photographer to shuff a bloody big slab of slate or whatever into his camera and hide his head under a tarpaulin.
I’m not sure why those old timers stuck their heads under a tarp when snapping a picture. P’raps it was a feeble attempt to protect their noggins from Hottentots.
Anyway, Georgie E. invented and developed [!] “roll” film.
Off course, roll film required a receptacle in which to be inserted. Consequently, some of Georgie’s crowd invented the Brownie box camera.
Recognizing they were on to something profitable, and uncannily foreseeing the advent of the paparazzi, the Eastmans incorporated themselves a company—Kodak.
“Harry, you got me off that Facebook yet?”
“Soon, my Duck. Soon.”
Photography moseyed along and even the Hottentots overcame their fear of soul-sucking cameras.
Until the Polaroid contraption made its appearance. Its instantaneous ejection of one’s likeness confirmed like a stuck out tongue that original fear. Not only did the demonic device slurp up your soul, but also it brazenly spit it in your face.
Not long before the twentieth century expired, the most annoying descendant of ol’ Daguerre’s prototype arrived on the scene—the camcorder!
The camcorder, stuck to its owner’s eyeball like some alien Borg spyglass, made it commonplace that someone could film your actions long-distance and preserve them for later entertainment.
Sure, in public gatherings it wasn’t safe to pay discreet attention to irritated body parts for fear of, not necessarily of soul-sucking, but of the moment being captured live.
No more prudent booger mining. No more subtle butt pacifying.
All this—finally!—brings me to Dearest Duck’s anxiety regarding Facebook.
Digital photography has relegated all other picture taking apparatus to the Jurassic age. Nowadays all and sundry have digital cameras—waffle thin ones in their palms, in their cell-o-phones, in chummies clipped to their ears. P’raps—who knows?—they even have wee tiny ones secreted away inside some of those private areas of which camcorders made us so conscious.
Recently, I was savouring a herbal tea in my Lay-Z-Boy while Dearest Duck spent some computer time in The Study.
Suddenly—yes, suddenly—I heard Dearest Duck exclaim in the strident voice with which she sometimes bends my ear.
“Fudgestick!” I thought she said.
She sounded distraught.
I dashed to her rescue.
“Get me off this Facebook,” she said, punching the keyboard with her erstwhile typist’s fingers, hoping to hit delete, delete, delete.
On the monitor screen Dearest Duck was decked in finery—kinda—her likeness appearing in dozens of those Facebook icon thingies. I’m sure she felt her soul had been sucked out, multiplied exponentially and spread virally throughout the friend-friend-friendly pages of Facebook. Gently, I pulled her away from the computer and closed the browser.
“Yes, my Duck, I’m closing your account.”
Thank you for reading.