Social Media Marketer – Shoot Or Strangle?

Image By: Arbron

(Excerpt From Facebook Ate My Marriage.  Republished with permission from Hell Bent Press and the Author)

Chapter 11:  Social Media Marketing

(and not strangling a presenter)

“Good morning, you great big, half-crazed, pill-stealing druggy, controlling, murderous rapist,” was my morning greeting.

You might wonder if this was from a cell mate or a sadistic guard. No, I was not in prison, nor have I been – though all possibilities must be considered in a variable and largely random universe, as I will explore later. No, this was my morning wake-up call to get around to drive to Orlando for the required continuing education that all licensed professionals must attend to renew their licenses. The messenger of this wake-up call being none other than our oldest son, Bryce, whom I instructed to wake me for my meeting.

No great respecter of privacy, or personal space, Bryce had a shift through my collected correspondence and found a copy of his mother’s initial filing for an Order of Protection From Abuse (PFA). He found it such an amusing read that he called up his younger sister, Kaylee, who is studying art in Rhode Island. Being true Lynns, they considered the filing on both its factual and artistic merit and had one hellacious laugh.

“Pop, when did you find the time to get up to all of this? You’re working 12 hours a day! We were living on top of each other in a three-bedroom house during all of this,” Bryce laughed, in that peculiarly sadistic laugh that only an oldest child can laugh.

“Ah,” I said, tempering another growing grievance with my oldest son with the knowledge that, his having seen the offending document, he at least could see the irony of it all.

“Pure Kafka! Kaylee says you should file a PFA for all the times Mom attacked you, yelled at you and was generally an unbearable bitch,” Bryce smiled.

“Did she?” I asked.

“Sure. Good God, Pop, how many times did you lock yourself in the bedroom to get out of the range of her shouting jags? Hell, I took the kids out enough times to get away from Mom’s ragging rages. Never knew she was permanently riding the red tide or was just getting screwed in the head,” Bryce said in a matter-of-fact tone that drove home the full level of my personal denial of how bad things had really been with DeeAnn the last few years before she left.

“What about the pills?” I asked.

“Oh, that. Mom was telling all of us you were stealing her pills. Course, we saw Mom in the afternoon, when she would say, ‘Weather’s pretty bad, feel it in my neck, maybe just a half more.’ We figured she was forgetting how many she was taking,” Bryce explained quite calmly.

“And you didn’t mention any of this to me?!” my grievance no longer being tempered by the knowledge of my eldest child’s understanding of my predicament.

“Calm your murderous temper down!” Bryce cautioned, with a cherubic grin that invited a punch in the mouth. “First, it was all a ‘secret,’ you know. ‘Hush, hush, don’t tell daddy, he might get angry. He is trying to make me think I am crazy. He will kill us all in our sleep.’ Second, what good would it have done? Last time we told you about what Mom was doing and saying, she called us liars and you took her side.”

This being the great credit card event, when accounts were mysteriously being opened in our minor children’s name, for no apparent reason. Bryce had three cards before he was 17.

The need for domestic tranquility, particularly when that need flies in the face of all available evidence, is a debilitating thing. The blinders necessary to see the holidays, the family gatherings, and the events of our lives in a productive light are painful when they are forcibly removed.

“Buck up, Pop. At least Grandma and Grandpa Lynn are happily married and productively insane. After all, can you name a single Cadwallader that wasn’t divorced by age 45? Most of them were divorced at least twice by that age,” observed Bryce, whose sage and highly rational assessment of half his extended family had placed yet another wedge in my delusion of domestic expectations lost.

“Pop, I know you think you are logical and rational and all, but how old were you when you met Mom?” Bryce asked.

“Seventeen,” I found myself answering involuntarily.

“Exactly, and I have seen pictures of Mom back then. She was hot, so you weren’t exactly taking an inventory of the Cadwallader clan’s general domestic state or genetic predisposition, now were you?” Bryce said, with a conspiratorial wink.

I found myself unwilling to answer that question.

“My point is, buck up! So you’re screwed, Mom is a lunatic, and you’re going to be divorced soon. But think about us kids,” Bryce said in a serious tone.

“I have been, that is all I have been…” I began, feeling a rush of emotions I had bottled up for the last few months.

“No, not that shit – kids of divorce, broken home nonsense,” Bryce said rolling his eyes, moving his lips in a parody of the seriousness of the word he was speaking and sending back the emotional tide I felt waiting to break. “No, Pop. You see, you are 100%Lynn, through and through. A few divorces in the family, a couple of shady characters, Henry the VIII, so a bit dodgy, but in general, stable. You have always been stable, like Grandma and Grandpa Lynn. But us kids are half Cadwallader – divorces, allegations of pedophilia, fraud, the whole nine yards. We have to wonder if there will be a moment when a genetic time bomb goes off and we end up like Mom,” Bryce said, shrugging his shoulders.

I could see his point.

“Anyway, enough of this. I’m going long boarding in Sarasota,” Bryce announced and promptly left.

“Don’t lose too much skin,” I called after him.

I was left to wonder whether it was a Lynn or a Cadwallader impulse that lead my oldest son to take up skateboarding in parking garages in Sarasota. I was also left with the horror of my children considering questions of their own genetic compositions and if they were genetic time bombs waiting to go off in spectacular psychiatric melt downs. At least Kaylee had chosen an appropriate profession if this was, in fact, the case.

We have not spoken about the divorce or my wife’s allegations since that conversation, aside from Bryce’s running banter about my proclivities. But I have been plagued with questions of Mendelian Genetics and punted squares ever since.

These thoughts, and where the distributive nature of genetics was likely placing all of our offspring, and how nurture could be distinguished from nature – in view of the fact that three of our five children were now under the sole supervision of DeeAnn in Media, Pennsylvania – plagued me as I drove the two and a half hours to the Orlando conference.

Fortunately, continuing education for professionals is a mind numbing experience. It has been – since it was first conceived of as a way to extort more money from professionals while providing the public the nearly transparent promise of a well trained, well educated, licensed class of professionals – an excuse to hang out in hotel conference rooms and take in the local sites. For families, this is an ideal arrangement. For a single, soon-to-be-divorced dentist, with mounting legal bills and an associate’s income, this is a miserable event. Given the choice between the hotel room I could not afford, or the gas, which I could barely afford, I was forced to commute the two days to the conference.

Here again, I mention this not because of a wish for sympathy, but to illustrate the nature of certain aspects of the divorcing life. You see, when I was a fresh, green dentist, full of piss and vinegar and a vision of perfect teeth extending throughout my community, I was deeply offended by the older doctors who would sit in the back of the classes reading the paper or balancing their ledgers while the paid speaker imparted pearls of clinical wisdom that I jotted down in sweaty anticipation of applying them to my fledgling practice.

If I was offended by those doctors then, I loath them now, the lucky stiffs. With the advent of scanner badges, and time monitored attendance records that are digitally entered into databases, even a bathroom break is nearly impossible to take on anything other than the “scheduled and allocated break times.” Now people still sit in the back of the class, but there are no newspapers to be seen. Instead it is laptops, with movies, solitaire or company spreadsheets on display. While attendance monitors may make disapproving faces at their colleagues, they have as yet to cut off that particular form of idle distraction, and believe me, you need some sort of distraction. After you’ve sat through your 12th lecture on “HIV, Hepatitis and Universal Safety Procedures,” presented by the same nurse who has been sponsored by a national malpractice carrier, you not only can move your lips in time with the presentation, but you consider puncturing your eardrums to relieve the monotony and canceling your coverage with that carrier.

Fortunately, in a bit of unusual creativity, our association managed to get continuing hours approved that included “Risk Management and Marketing.” The “Risk Management” course had always been a mandatory continuing education course; the “and Marketing” bit was something new.

So, for this one lecture, that started at 8 and ran until noon that day, I planned to be front and center, a decision I immediately regretted. The presenter, Dr. Lakefield, D.M.D., of Roanoke,Virginia, was a nationally certified “Risk Management” consultant and a “Recognized Authority on Guerilla Marketing.” These two credentials would appear to be mutually exclusive – marketing by definition taking us into the realm of violation of Risk Management practices, while Risk Management precludes almost all forms of useful marketing.

But what made this lecture absolute torture for me was Dr. Lakefield took as his subject matter in marketing “Social Network Media Marketing Your Practice.” You guessed it: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace. Four hours, with bathroom breaks, entry and exit scans, and Dr. Lakefield extolling the virtues and necessity of having a Facebook account for yourself and your practice, how to use hash marks to move your Twitter postings up in the search engines, and other tips to grow your practice through this media.

I snapped in half two pens trying not to strangle the speaker. If ever I wanted to rush the podium, seize the mike, and announce a revolution, it was that morning in Orlando at the dental conference. Yes, it would have meant a rubber room and a straight jacket. But to stand on top of the glib moron while proclaiming that the revolution has come and we are going to bring down Facebook and all of the other media that destroy human intellect and humanity itself would have been worth it. But it was, of course, an impotent pipe dream. I collected my required continuing credit hours and left the conference Sunday in a sullen silence.

 

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