The Internet is, of course, mighty freaking big! One is tempted by its very nature to refer to it as endless. An often heard valid complaint is that the World Wide Web is too impersonal, that it discourages real interactions between people. You may pride yourself, for example, on having more than three hundred friends on MySpace or Facebook but can you name them all? Would you have any idea who they really were even if you could name them all?
Me, I look at the Internet like the Fantastic Four’s Negative Zone. It’s a vast and virtual place where anything can and probably has or will happen. Perhaps the real problem with the whole controversy is in ourselves and our own pre-conceived notions. Time and time again, we hold on to cherished notions long since antiquated and in essence deny or at least delay the benefits of the future we’ve long craved. Reality encroaches on our day to day existence faster than we can redefine it within ourselves.
Maybe it’s past time to rethink the concept of "friends" and redefine the word in less restrictive terms. On the ‘Net, one can meet a lot of people, many of whom are already defining themselves differently than their own physical realities. You want them to like you so perhaps you recreate yourself in a form you’ve always seen yourself in your own head. Next thing you know, you have a group of people that you may never actually meet, see or spend any time with except online.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is that this blog—my own personal little online expression of what I find interesting in pop culture—is read from time to time by some of my own personal heroes. Creators whose work I’ve read and admired in some cases since the 1970’s have commented or sent me emails. In some cases we’ve even become close. In some cases I now consider myself friends with them and I believe they consider me a friend, too.
The incident with our dog, Precious, that I wrote about last week is what brought all this to mind. We were desperate, scared and disheartened and suddenly someone appears out of the blue and saves the day, just like the superheroes we write about here every day. This person was someone I had exchanged a few emails with since starting this blog but I’ve never physically been in their presence. It was, to put it mildly, unexpected and amazing to my wife and I that this could happen. This person I consider to be a real friend. This person I consider to be our own personal superhero.
Precious’s surgery is now scheduled for Tuesday. I think that because of this incident I feel closer to all of you reading this right now. Maybe I can’t touch you physically but maybe I don’t need to do that to call you all friends. Have I thanked you enough for being there with me these last couple of years? If not, I thank you again…friends. Let’s go play with some more cool stuff!