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May 07, 2014

how a bad pun becomes a passion

This is a cautionary tale of how a pun can become a passion.
On Sept. 9, 2013, I decided to “like” every Facebook post on my feed. I was “liking”: “I'm an E#, What note are you?”; “Are you a Hermione, a Ron or a Harry?” ; “I just bought four new cows in Farmville”. I “liked” every top score on every game, every share of unlistenable music; every mention of every event.
I “liked” blurry overexposed snapshots of daffodils, daisies and day lilies. I liked pictures of meals I would never touch, served in restaurants I would never step foot in, in cities I have no desire to visit. I “liked” kittens and puppies and babies; new shoes and freshly painted bedrooms.
I “liked” every meme of every inspirational sunrise, and every sappy phrase about what a “beach” life can be.
I “liked” every inane comment on heavy traffic and praise of the godliness of Friday. I “liked” “At the gym”; “Ready for a nap”; “Need coffee”; “Too much coffee”; “Lunch at Chipolte”; “Dinner with Aunt Doris, hope she doesn't serve pork chops again”.
I even “liked”, “In bed all week with the flu”; “Laid-off today” and “Lost my dear Aunt Doris last night. She choked on a pork chop bone”
In the midst of this “liking” frenzy, I was struck by the irony of how enjoyable it was. I was really liking wasting my time “liking” stuff. And I'm sure every poster liked my “likes”. Facebook only exists for self validation.
“Every one “likes” stuff”, I thought. “How hilarious to “like” the act of “liking” itself. The liking of “liking” stuff.
And thus was born the Facebook page: Liking Stuff  https://www.facebook.com/likeyouknowlikingstuff
The initial posts were simple puns:
Q) “I have a friend who likes liking stuff. Can my friend “like” liking stuff?
A) “Yes we like anyone who likes liking stuff””
and, “Likers of Loathing Liking Stuff need not Like” (which I now realized is far too exclusionary, everyone is welcome in the big tent of “liking stuff”)
But soon a philosophy of “Liking” was born:
Like it or not, the Age of Enlightenment has long since past, we now live in the Age of Enlikement.
In this age, our passions are limited and there are but few things we dearly love. But we do, you know, like a lot of stuff.
So I say, "Fess up!". Be a man (or woman) of the times. Wave your liking flag high, (well kinda high- you don't have to get too carried away) and like stuff with vigorous resolve (well, not too much)!
We all must dive in (or take the stairs by the shallow end, if it's easier) to this new age. Let us envision a world where we are all enlikened. We must gather the like-minded around the globe to sit in front of their computers;look at their phones; click their “invite” tabs and tell their friends ( and casual acquaintances) to like “liking stiff.” We will, one day, make this fairly mundane world rather more pleasant and dare I say, more likable!”
Unfortunately, my dream of a few thousand “likes” fell short by a few thousand. It was time to chide my likers into action:
Fellow likers of liking stuff,
What? You got no friends? You're tellin' me you don't know anybody who likes liking stuff?
I must say, I'm a bit disappointied, nearly on the verge of unlikingness.
You must believe me when I tell you, there is stuff going unliked every day. This is a travesty that can only be amended by an army of likers, liking with a passion that could burn down Atlanta.
For the rights of the unliked everywhere, we all must like. And we all must sacrifice, like it or not. We must like every picture of last night's dinner, and every slogan about tomorrow's salvation. We must like every detail of every party and ever cell phone capture of every sunset.
We must like!
We must like every band and every business in every neighborhood. We must like, like a child's first discovery of the tasty goodness of ice cream.
We must like, like, like: like the sun likes the day and the moon likes the night. Sure, you'll have to like “Car accident last night: In hospital, is Mom okay?”, and “My dad just died”, but you'll delight in liking “Too Much Cake for Toddler”, and “Uh-Oh In Grandpa's Pants!”
However, this is not a cause for the weak. Many will perish. Many will be unable to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous cat pictures, and take up arms against a sea of unlikeable acquaintances, now called friends, and say ”Yes, I like this (or Meez am Like Stuff)”, so we must make our numbers great. We must recruit and unite! Unite, likers, all! Join me, all ye likers of liking stuff, and we shall bring about a world of all-liking where no stuff remains unliked, ever again!”
My dream of a nation of likers has yet to be realized. To this day the page has less than 100 “likes”.
But my obsession was only starting: “What do I like today?”, “What did I like about yesteryear?”, “What will I like a tomorrow and how do I express it?” and “How do I get people to read it? (more self validation). And like it?”.
It became so cathartic that one little gateway pun led to mainlining liking.
On Jan. 5, 2014, I took likingstuff out of the Facebook closet, and exposed the skeletons for the world to see. So came these musing: a mish-mash of fond memories and flights of folly with, hopefully, a peppering of insight.
I still don't have an army of likers (barely a platoon) but I do have readers in Australia, Germany and France (The French were particularly fond of “(the epic saga of) The Mothman Festival”). And I have a great time doing it. I truly like likingstuff.
I've never been a hater. I've never held an unbridled passion for much of anything. But I can tell you, I have become completely and totally enlikened. It's an easy path: looking for stuff to like, and getting others to like stuff.
My hope is that someday long in the future, long after my eminent demise; some cyberarcheologist will dig through the mindfill of the past and come across one of these posts, and like it. Then I will have achieved true immortality.