Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My life as a sitcom

TV sitcoms have been around for more than 60 years, and they continue to be a staple on American television. However, the longer a show runs, the more likely it is that at least one episode will use one of the following sitcom clichés: a character is given increased power at work or school and it goes to his head; a fat husband dating or married to a thin wife; the crazy or overbearing mother-in-law; the evil twin; the characters start a business; the husband forgets wife's birthday or their anniversary; a lie gets out of hand; the wife is having a baby NOW; a character unexpectedly finds out about a child he had in his youth; two people who allegedly hate each other but secretly love each other; a character needs money and there's a talent show with prize money that equals the amount of money needed; a character gets amnesia. And there are many others.

One of those clichés happened in my life (other than the evil twin one), and it's all because of Facebook. Facebook is a social networking site that allows a person to communicate with friends all over the world, some of whom he or she has never met in person, and let those friends know when he or she is taking a nap. :) But it's also a nice way to catch up with friends you've lost touch with.

And in my case, it's also a nice way to meet the daughter you never knew you had.

I have a female friend that I met back in the late 80's, and we dated for a brief time in the early 90's. We lost track of each other after that, and in the age before e-mail and cell phones it wasn't uncommon to lose track forever.

As luck would have it, I came across her name on Facebook and sent her a message. She responded, and we caught each other up on our lives. She has a couple of daughters, one of whom also has a profile on Facebook. As I was looking at the daughter's profile I noticed her birthday was listed as March of 1991, which is somewhere around the time her mother and I dated.

My mouth immediately dropped. Could this daughter be mine? Is this why we lost contact? Perhaps she wanted to raise the daughter herself, and understandably so. I wasn't exactly the most responsible person during my late teens and 20's. Or my 30's and 40's, for that matter. I wondered if the daughter was smart or funny. Did she have a lot of friends? And I thought about the past for each of us having consequences, even 20 years later.

As I was looking at a picture of my friend and her daughter, secretly thanking God that the daughter looked like her mother, I was reminded of another feature of Facebook: the minimum age for creating a profile. In order to create a profile on Facebook, you have to be at least 13 years of age. Looking at the picture, I realized that the daughter probably wasn't old enough, so she used 1991 to get past the age restriction. Even if she was older than 13, it was obvious from the picture that she certainly wasn't 20 years old.

So, my brief stint as a father came to a close, and thus ended the "sitcom" portion of my life. However, I have decided to start my own business. And hilarity will ensue. :)