Long before there were American Girl Dolls, shout out to Kirsten (rest in peace), there were Cabbage Patch Dolls.
They were the Tickle-me-Elmo of the Christmas craze one year. (I just used an old reference to explain an older reference. Let me try that again.)
They were the Wii of the Christmas craze one year. (Still not relevant? Last time.)
They were the Quitter of the Christmas craze one year. Everyone wanted one, much like the book Quitter this Christmas, and people got in shoving matches over these simple dolls.
The story behind them was that the dolls were born in a cabbage patch, delivered by nurses and then brought to your house via a stork. At the Cabbage Patch headquarters in North Georgia, you could actually go see the dolls born and delivered by people dressed as nurses. That sounds a little weird, but kids loved the experience and flocked there in droves.
One day, my friend and her husband brought their kids to the Cabbage Patch hospital. When their young daughters weren’t looking, they bought a doll. Their plan was to hide it in the trunk of their car without their youngest daughter seeing it, then give it to her a few months later on Christmas. Bad idea.
The “nurse” who “delivered” the cabbage patch “baby” walked out to “the” (sorry got on a roll there) car to see the family off. When the nurse saw my friend’s husband put the Cabbage Patch doll in the car, she freaked out.
She ran over and said, “You can’t put that baby in the trunk. She won’t be able to breathe!” Stupified, the dad responded, “Uh, it’s just a doll.” But the nurse wouldn’t budge. “She won’t be able to breathe,” she repeated.
Finally, the dad tore an air hole in the plastic bag the doll was in, appeased the nurse and slowly shut the trunk. Then he walked to the driver’s side of the car and never looked back.
Can we all agree that lady was a little crazy? I mean the kids were already buckled in the car. The “doll can’t breathe” performance wasn’t for them. That’s at least a smidge crazy, and I should know because sometimes I think I might be crazy too.
I bumped into that possible reality recently while looking at Twitter.
I created a list of friends, so that in the melee of thousands of tweets a day, I can specifically see what 10-20 people I know are up to via their tweets.
But in the midst of doing that, I’ve realized something rather pathetic, insecure and crazy of me.
I’m getting really jealous of my friends. As I scroll through their tweets, here are a couple of things that pop into my head:
“Oh wow. That friend hung out with that other friend and they did something amazing together. Huh. Why didn’t they invite me?”
“Whoa. That friend just announced, ‘I had a great time seeing people I love in Nashville, time to fly back home.’ Weird, he didn’t even tell me he was going to be in town.”
Then I sit in this ridiculous pity party, which eventually mutates into me coveting a life other than my own.
I want those adventures.
I want to be invited to those events.
I want to be as cool or as interesting or as funny or as anything as my friends.
I covet 2.0. And in discussing this with my wife, a few things came to light.
1. When I covet my friends, it’s really hard to love my friends.
My friends aren’t doing anything wrong. It’s me and my insecurities. But by dwelling there, I build up all this residual frustration with my friends, and that gets in the way of my ability to love them. I want to be someone who celebrates his friends, not someone who covets them.
2. This makes me like a seventh grade girl.
My wife doesn’t struggle with covet 2.0, but says she understands it because she “used to be a seventh grade girl.” In the cafeteria on Monday mornings in middle school, she said it was hard to hear about sleepovers and events you hadn’t been invited to. Why was it hard? Because she was a slightly insecure seventh grade girl. Which is apparently much like me.
3. This isn’t how it always was.
Ten years ago, you didn’t know about all the amazing things your friends were doing. No one called you and 300 other people on the phone and said, “Hey, I just saw an amazing sunset, went on a hot air balloon, got invited to a secret concert and had a brilliant lunch with somebody who won’t return your calls. Just wanted to make sure you knew.” The phenomenon of tracking the movements of all our friends is new. And the weird thing is that, ten years ago, I swear I never said, “I wish I knew what everyone I know was doing constantly. I could see that being really healthy for me.”
4. The Internet is a “Best Life” snapshot.
When you read somebody’s tweets or scroll through their photos on Facebook, you’re seeing a snapshot of somebody’s best life. Sure, some people share raw/honest moments moreso than others, but no one shares everything. (If you share everything and don’t hold back something personal for you or your spouse, you eventually become a “performer,” not a person.) People share vacations and sunsets and parties. And then you sit in your own very normal, messy life with boringness and ups and downs and think, “My life is no good.”
This isn’t a Twitter or Facebook issue. I am a huge fan of social media and have personally seen the tremendous good that can come from both. But right now, in my own life, I’ve turned my Twitter friends list into a place for me to hide and get jealous and covet 2.0.
If you’re my friend, sorry about being so silly. Covet 2.0 snuck up on me, and I’ve spent the last few months acting like I’m in the seventh grade. And since Chess King is closed, Color Me Badd is not on the top of the charts, and I’m not wearing Z-Cavaricci’s right now, I know that’s not where I’m supposed to be.
Have you ever experienced covet 2.0?