I have a definite love-hate relationship with Facebook’s Brainbone. You know, the kind of love-hate relationship you have with someone who doesn’t even know you exist, like a random celebrity, a robot, or one of the bitchy popular girls from middle school.
You really WANT them to like you, for them to think you’re cool and smart, but on the other hand, you sort of want to swagger by and act like you don’t care, too.
Still, you can’t manage it. You attempt a swagger, but you end up stumbling over your bookbag as it falls off your shoulder when you try to fling your hair back, casually but ungracefully, incurring the laughter of the entire seventh grade class.
So that’s where love-hate gets you. Absolutely nowhere but your knee socks tangled in your bookbag straps, and your hair in your beet-red face.
Why doesn’t someone tell you out of the gate that you only get cool when you stop caring about being cool?
Oh. Wait. They do. Only it’s your stupid, retarded, dorky parents, so what the heck do THEY know? Especially when they put it this way:
If everyone else jumped off the Empire State Building, would you do it, too?
Which of course, in middle school, you absolutely would. No questions asked. If it were that, or being hideously embarrassed? Off the ledge you would sail, like a ground-bound dart.
That’s how Brainbone makes me feel.
It doesn’t help that growing up, my sisters and I each had labels plastered on us. Actual labels, practically, with “Hi, my name is” strips on them, only mine was: “The Smart One Who Plays Guitar Really Well.”
I have two sisters. Theirs read: “The Pretty One Who Sings Really Well” and “The Quiet Skinny One.”
This kept life fairly uncomplicated for my parents. Nice for them, but confusing for us, since all of us were fairly skinny, all of us were actually pretty, and the quiet one only SEEMED quiet because she was, for the most part, virtually ignored.
As far as musical talent “assignments” went, turns out the One Who Played Guitar could Also Sing Pretty Damn Well, Too, and the One Who Sang Rocked on Keyboards – and the Quiet One, to whom no one paid any Damn Attention To At All signed her own damn self up for piano lessons when she grew up and ALSO Rocked The House on the Good Old Piano, inspiring the mother with the label-maker to trade in said label maker for her OWN piano, with lessons to go with.
Ah, how much more comfortable life is without all that sticky label adhesive.
Yet another reason I get a frisson of horror whenever Facebook’s Brainbone application asks me if I want to show my Brainbone stats on Twitter, or my web site, or anywhere public at all.
Show my Brainbone stats? Are you kidding? Why not also show my weight? And record me Confessing my sins to my local parish priest, while I’m at it, as a global podcast?
(Presuming I ever actually WENT to Confession… “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been… er…. it’s been… well, Padre, I think it’s been since second grade – you know – when they MAKE you go, in order to get your First Holy Communion? I think THAT was the last time I made my Confession. Wait – wait – <<insert sound of me sailing like a cannon out of the booth>>)
Yeah, I’m about as likely to show my Brainbone stats as I am to show off my untidy living room to unexpected company. (Wait: I do that.) Okay – as I am to show off my untidy living room to my mother, unexpectedly.
Because here’s the thing: I never realized how deeply I internalized that whole “I’m the smart one” thing. Every time I get a Brainbone question wrong, I feel deeply rattled, as if I should know this, somehow. Why I think I should know which country the city of Timbuktu is in, I don’t know, but somehow, I do.
Why I feel smug when I guess right is another mystery. I know I only guessed randomly, but when Brainbone rewards me with an exuberant “That’s correct!” I still feel like: “Boo-yeah!” As if I really earned it, instead of throwing dice.
Because I’m stupid enough to still feel like “the Smart One.”
Even though according to my percentages (SEE, Brainbone? I’m GOOD at math!) I’m technically FAILING Brainbone.
And because of this, I relentlessly answer the “Day’s Question,” for the sole purpose of upping my percentage to AT LEAST a passing grade.
THEN – and ONLY THEN – would I dare display my stats.
Because then EVERYONE could see, that of course…
I’m the smart one.