j.j. toothman

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Month: June 2008

True Stories From Social Media

This tweet from Ryan Kuder reminded me that it’s time to tell a recent story of reconnecting and discovery.

It started back around March, probably.  I started following Chris Perkett (@missusP on Twitter). I’m not exactly 100% sure how it started, but it was probably due to a reply that Aaron Strout (who I had met at SXSW) tweeted her way about the Red Sox.  I’m pretty much a sucker for any kind Red Sox chatter, online or offline, so anyone talking Red Sox on Twitter is someone I’m going to start following. 

My virtual friendship with Chris evolved from there. Reading and commenting on a blog post or two that she wrote, a nice exchange about what Superman and/or Clark Kent would be tweeting if they were online, friending each other on Facebook…you know how it goes.  One day you’re exchanging tweets, a week later you’re sharing pictures of your kids with each other.

I’ve yet to ask Chris about how the next set of events were initiated.  Holding out because I’m traveling to Boston in September and hoping to hear the story in person at that time. But a couple weeks ago I received a Facebook new friend notification in my email inbox.  Turn out it was from Chris’s husband and it said:

Hi JJ, I see that you’ve connected with my wife and her PR firm…small world since we graduated from GHS together in ’89…hope all is well”

Yup, turns out @missusP is married to Rich Perkett, who I went to school with in Glastonbury, Connecticut and graduated from Glastonbury High School with in 1989.  It was that same year Rich and I got into a police chase while trying to perform some silly senior prank and only escaped Johnny Law by hiding motionless in the woods for about a half hour.  At least, that’s sort of how I remember the story. 

  Glastonbury HS, Glastonbury, CT

So yeah, small world huh?  OK, that’s just the first part of the story. 

Second part of the story starts with Rich’s Facebook profile and discovering that there’s a network setup for Glastonbury High School.  Who knew there was high school networks in Facebook? Certainly not me.  So I start navigating through the pages looking to connect with some forgotten friends only to see the name of another person who I recently met at SXSW. Who at the time, I had no idea I went to high school with.  Who just happened to graduate GHS in 1990, a year after Rich and I did.  The Queen of Twitter herself, Laura Fitton, aka Pistachio on Twitter is a fellow GHS graduate.  

Laura, I remember meeting you in Austin, but sorry…no idea if we crossed paths in Glastonbury.  Who knows?  Maybe we were in a class together.  Maybe we were on the same U.N. Club bus trip to New York City (that club was all about getting out of school for a day to go to NYC, right?).  Or maybe there was a boring Glastonbury Saturday night that we were all in the McDonald’s parking lot looking for stuff to do.  I know Rich and I spent more time than we would care to admit in that lot doing absolutely nothing.

We’re all starting to have similar stories of reconnecting.  As much as I’m enjoying making friends in far away places like Bucharest and Tokyo, the emergent possibilities of reconnecting with social media tools like Facebook and Twitter are equally, if not more, satisfying. 

It has me thinking of Rob Gordon in High Fidelity.  If Rob had Facebook and went to find the members of the “all-time, top-five most memorable breakups” group, he wouldn’t have to use the phonebook to find Charlie Nicholson.

Lakers vs. Celtics

There’s no way for me to avoid watching the NBA finals that start tonight and flashback to my 80’s youth and watching all the memorable games between the Lakers and Celtics.  And of course the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.


magic and bird

In fact, I’ve been rooting for Lakers – Celtics final this year for the sole reason that it means a ton of highlight of those games from the 80s.  We’ll be saturated with the obvious ones – Magic’s baby hook, McChale’s clothesline of Rambis, the Heat Game in the Boston Garden – but I’m also anticipaitng to see glimpses of Worthy’s tomahawk dunks, Chief’s rainbow jumpers.

But let’s not kid ourselves and think that this year’s final will emulate those great games of the 80s.  First of all, the teams aren’t nearly as good.  Kobe and KG are greatness.  Gasol, Pierce, Allen, and a few others on the current teams have careers to be proud of.  But those 80s Lakers and Celtics teams were just STACKED.  How many hall of famers passed through that rivalry?  Plenty.  Bob McAdoo was a hall of famer on the Lakers who didn’t even start!  Same with Bill Walton on the Celtics.  Get past the star studded cast of Kareem, Magic, Bird, Parish, Worth, and McChale.  The support players on todays teams don’t hold a candle to the role players on the Lakers and Celtics of the 80s – guys like Dennis Johnson and Jamaal Wilkes.

Anyway, if you want to see the greatness that passed though that rivalry in the 80 check out the boxscore of every game that Larry Bird and Magic Johnson played against each other.  There should be a DVD box set that has all 38 of these games. 

As for who I’m pulling for this year, it would be the Celtics.  I’ve always gravitated towards players, not teams, in the NBA.  For whatever reason, the abilities and styles of the individuals is what drew my attention.  This is unlike other sports that I follow, where team accomplishments in college basketball and baseball are what I admire.  In the 80’s I was a Magic Johnson fan.  In the 90s, it was Tim Hardaway and Hakeem Olajuwon.  This decade, its Kevin Garnett who I admire.  Go Celtics.

Hey Jude

Note: this is a letter that I wrote to my unborn son (due early August) last week.  It’s my sole contribution to Keturah’s baby shower.

Hey Jude,

You’re going to hear those two words A LOT.  I’m not kidding, either.  So many people are going to say lines to you such as “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad” or “Hey Jude, take a sad song and make it better.”  They’ll do so thinking that they are being witty and original.  In fact, as this letter is read to you for the first time, some of those people may be in the room right now.

But rest assured, there are couple good things about this future trend in your life. As your father, I am confident that there are two positive outcomes from your Mom and I deciding to name you Jude, thus sticking you with an eternity of “Hey Jude” references. 

First, there’s a very good chance it will spare you from a lifetime of people finding out what your last name is and asking “are you a dentist?”  From personal experience, I can tell you that I am simply stunned beyond belief when people say that to me and think that they are the first person to ever come up with that.  To be succinctly blunt…those people are dumb-asses.  There, I said it.

Second – and perhaps most importantly – “Hey Jude” by The Beatles is a really, really, REALLY good song.  It’s spectacular and that is not an exaggeration. When people hear that song on the radio, they turn it up so they can sing along.  They smile.  They laugh.  “Hey Jude” makes people feel wonderful.  There is no way you can listen to the song “Hey Jude” and not be filled with feelings of extreme joy and happiness.  Similarly, those same feelings of joy and happiness are what your mother, I, and countless others will feel when you are born and every time we think of you.  A simple song by The Beatles has brought so much joy to so many lives and your life will do the same thing.  

It is very important for you to know that you aren’t being named after a Beatles song.  I can’t stress that enough.  I only bring it up to prepare you for what’s ahead.  Don’t worry they’ll be plenty of other Beatles songs in your life, too.  I’ll make sure of that.  And they’ll be plenty of music beyond the Beatles.  Like I did with your older brother Mason, I’ll fill your early years with Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, and Beethoven.  By the time you’re walking, we’ll add in Dylan, Wilco, The Grateful Dead, and Motown soul. 

Your life will also be filled with is sports.  There is a lot of sports watching in our household.  In the winter, we’ll huddle inside watching college basketball.  March is especially a fun time for that.  When that season ends, we’ll fill the spring and summer with Red Sox baseball.  In the fall, you and your Mom can enjoy college football Saturdays. 

We’re a family that likes to get outdoors so they’ll be time play plenty of sports, too.  Building sandcastles on the beach, playing catch in the yard, and hiking up a mountain are all activities we look forward to sharing with you. 

There’s so many good times ahead.  I can’t wait to get started.  Neither can your mother.  And neither can your older brother Mason – whether he knows it or not. 

So let it out and let it in.  Hey Jude, begin.

Love Always,

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