Think about the word “Thread.” Got it in your mind? Good. Now, what did you think of? Some of you probably pictured a thin colored string used to weave cloth, make fabric items, repair clothing, or sew that annoying guy across the room’s mouth shut. Although the thing you’d use in that last application would actually be called a suture. A suture is medical-speak for thread. Wow! All this and a medical terminology lesson as well. Is there no end to the wisdom being spewed out here? Now, where was I? Oh yes, thread.
I developed this technique when I was a teenager. My parents were very big on literacy so every time I needed a break, I would tell them I had to go to the bookstore. Mom would give me money and I was on my way. I could spend my afternoons leisurely perusing comics in the stores café and no one was the wiser. I probably shouldn’t have said that. Mom my read this someday. Oh well.
Others might have seen the word as the concept or series of ideas, running through a larger story. Blah blah blah. Webster’s dictionary said I had to mention it but let’s face it. Nobody actually thought of that. Did they?
I’m quite sure most of you thought about a series of back and forth messages on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Some of the more intelligent threads I have seen recently go something like this:
He is a maniac
Oh no you idiot He is a hero
What do you know? He’s completely wacko
If you want to talk about wacko, look at your profile picture
Yours is worse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Go to H*** you communist
Ooh, a big word. That turns me on
Wanna get lucky?
No, it didn’t make much sense. But frankly, most of them don’t. But you see, I don’t read much further than this because I usually have better things to do, like look in the bathroom mirror and watch my eyebrows grow. You see, threads usually go much longer than this piddly example. This sample only contains four back-and-forth’s between two people. In Social-Media-World, this is nothing. In that virtual haven of free-speech, a thread can go on for miles, especially if the subject is juicy and the participants remain anonymous.
Anonymity is key to all the really long threads. It’s the only way folks are brave enough to spew the correct amount of argumentative stupidity. If you talk to someone, who is sober, face to face, the conversation will usually end at about five responses before politeness set in. If the participants are drinking, it’s about twelve rude retorts before the arguers have either changed positions, decided they really agree on the topic, or have fallen face down on the floor. Unless, of course, the people are my dad and my uncle Bob. Drunk or sober, they have better arguments than Facebook ever dreamed of. But I digress.
The reason I brought this up is that last month an amazing thing happened. I was part of a record-breaking thread and we all agreed on the topic. That’s pretty incredible. Two-hundred-sixty-one responses, and absolutely no conflict. Allow me to explain.
Remember, this story is true. The names have been shortened because, frankly, I can’t spell most of them. Anyway, my friend A asked B if he wanted to get together for lunch. B thought it was a great idea and decided it was time to get the old gang back together. A Facebook message was created and sent. A storm of agreement ensued with everything from a simple, “I’m in,” to the ever popular, “What a great idea,” all the way to, “Do I know you people?” M did a lot of recreational pharmaceuticals in the past. Hey, no problem, there’s on in every crowd.
So, F suggested we all resurrect the great Cubano sandwich search. D agreed and sent out four separate posts suggesting some very good, but very hard to find, places noted for the sandwiches. Of course, there are several posts trying to decide Where to meet. E lives the furthest east, S wants something more south and G would rather it be west. I would have used W but I don’t have that many friends. Nobody wanted the meet-up north of the city. There’s a lake there.
Well somewhere around fifty posts everyone has agreed to go and we’ve decided on where. That’s when the horror question is asked. What day and time? In less than five minutes the posts double. C wants Wednesday, R wants Friday and J doesn’t care, but he can’t meet before two-thirty because of his new job. M has finally admitted to knowing us, and has agreed to join us at the water park.
The posts came in so fast it was difficult to keep up. I happened to be online when the frenzy started so I just kept watching. The order of the entries was amazing. Questions and answers are all out of order, and reading them in a line just makes it more confusing. I actually sent the message, “Everybody stop typing and start reading for a minute! The answers to your questions are in the thread if you only read it. That prompted twenty posts of folks telling me not to be so bossy.
Well, after several days of people arguing on Facebook, all the details are decided. The only issue is, P and Q can’t make that day and they were vocal about it. A through H apologized over and over, but Ohh! didn’t care. I never did mind my P’s and Q’s. Either way it was a success. You see A and C hadn’t been able to make it with us the last few times so we were all looking forward to seeing A C.
The next few posts were to get solid information. B wanted to get a final count. It was going to be a large group and he wanted to call the place with a reservation. This was slow going and took several days. Probably because we’re not very outdoorsy, and most of us are afraid of B’s. In the end, arrangements were made for twenty. Deciding this did not stop the parade of posts. G started insisting the sandwiches could never be perfect because the only good ones were in Cuba and Miami. N was annoyed. After a few posts N shut him down by saying Oh G.
The thread went quiet for five days. And then about a week before the big day, tragedy struck. H and I had been denied the day off. There were a few missives from those who would miss H and I. They wanted to say hi. E was suddenly out. There was no word about why on the thread, but what can you do about a silent E. Then, more and more messages showed up about letters not arriving to their destination. Until it was only six that showed up. We were sad for all the letters not there but it was hard to form the words.
M had a very nice time. He decided to have a fish sandwich… At the aquarium… Don’t ask. You don’t want to know.