When I lived in Pittsburgh, there was a wonderful Jewish restaurant that served delightful and unique (for me) meals and desserts that were better than delicious. Those desserts bordered on erotic in the way they set your senses afire. Triple -layered chocolate cake is the dessert than comes to mind. Take a bite and your eyes automatically roll and close. Eat it slowly at first. Taste the divinity of chocolate fudge layered within and good luck in savoring because you just can’t get enough. You become a chocolate nymphomaniac. Before dessert, though, try the meal called “Meshugana.” It is layered. A potato pancake is on the bottom, then lean corned beef, then homemade creamy coleslaw, and it’s all topped with a wonderful Russian dressing. I had asked a waitress once, since I ordered this meal frequently, why it is called “Meshugana.” She said that it’s a Yiddish term for ‘all mixed up.’ Okay, that completely made sense and I proceeded to dive fork-first into my meal. Before writing today, I looked up the term on the Internet. I’m Irish. What do I know? The definition there said, “Yiddish for crazy, mad, insane.” And then I thought about social media.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Sometimes I dive headlong into Twitter and Facebook. I savor the posts, the friends, the faux friends, the information, the art, the writing, anything and everything it has to offer. It spikes my appetite for news, commentaries, interesting photos, or new books. The list is endless and I can be on those sites for hours before my appetite is satiated. Then something happens, and as my real friends can tell you, I disappear myself from all venues. Social media can be a smorgasbord of interesting items, not unlike my meal called “Meshugana.” There are so many layers, each more interesting than the one before. It can be as addictive as the divine triple-layered chocolate cake and you want more and more. But one in a while, I see things that ruin my appetite, upset my sense of decency or downright make me sick.
On one of these venues, and this happened about six months ago, a girl of about 17 years of age had been following me. She began leaving messages and saw me as an answer person. Me. The one who is often Meshugana. My background in social work kicked in, though, because she was telling me about how she was being bullied in school and on social media. We chatted back and forth for weeks but the bullying by her peers had reached a disgusting pitch, and she said she wanted to die. She threatened suicide in two different messages within the same day. I do not know this child nor why she attached herself to me. But I do know that any threat of suicide should never be taken lightly. I contacted the venue, gave them her name and asked that they read her messages to me. I feared for her life. There is a procedure on social media sites for such an event. I would suggest that anyone who frequents social media sites become familiar with the procedures. Just in case.
I did not hear back from the venue, but several weeks later, I did hear from the girl. The venue had contacted authorities, who had contacted her mother, who then got her child some much-needed help. Her mom had no idea how desperate her daughter was. Look, I’m no savior. I can barely keep myself together at times, but I do have a heart. It is my heart that feels the pain I see occurring at times on social media, and my brain goes into overload while my psyche kicks into flight. There is no fight or flight. It is not within me to fight, ever. I don’t have the stomach for it. So I do what I call, “disappearing myself” when it all just becomes too much and my appetite for socialization is tainted by the food of rotten thought.
Yes, I am completely Meshugana when it comes to social media. It can be a fascinating tool for the world of interconnection. Think about how it has spread the word of valiant struggles in worlds far from the U.S. It can and is, however, often used as a weapon against the most vulnerable. One would hope that parents remain vigilant when their children are using these sites. It must be a daunting task. And for the rest of us, should we automatically “like” everyone and every issue put forth? We need discernment. We need to be cautious. And at this moment, I really need a slice of that triple-layered chocolate cake.
About the Author: Cher Duncombe
Someone once told me, “Used-to-be’s don’t count.” I have pondered this often and find that they do count. We are the sum of our life experiences.
I used to be an English and Speech teacher. There will always be a part of me that wants to teach. I used to be an Investigator, first for the government and later in my own private investigations business.
I will always probe beneath the surface of issues and people, looking for the gem-like quality hidden in the text of words and personae. Today I am a writer and all of the used-to-be’s are part of the continuum of this journey. br> View My Profile