Prepare to be incredibly frustrated.
When 84-year-old Sharlene Coates joined Facebook earlier this week, it seemed it had all the makings for a perfect storm of internet hilarity: An elderly woman eager to connect with friends and family on a new platform with which she was wholly unfamiliar, using technology that has historically been a source of great confusion for people of her general demographic. Sadly, however, she has defied all expectations and taken to Facebook like a pro, using the social network with the competence of someone a quarter her age while avoiding all the humorous blunders so common among her peers.
Goddammit. What a huge letdown.
The list of ways Sharlene’s proficient use of Facebook has robbed the world of comedy gold is long. While you’d hope that her profile picture would be incredibly pixelated and either weirdly stretched or poorly cropped, it is instead a disappointingly well-formatted and all-around lovely photo of her smiling in front of a picturesque beach backdrop. And while you’d think that, like so many grandmas before her, she’d take to sharing spammy right-wing memes from insane clickbait pages with names like “Jesus Is My Lord” and “Daily Giggles USA,” so far she has only linked content from legitimate, trustworthy media outlets like The Guardian and The New York Times. Further, her status updates have all been properly spelled and punctuated, she’s refrained from leaving embarrassing comments on her grandchildren’s posts that she signs with her name as if writing a letter, and, worst of all, she perfectly understands how to navigate Facebook’s interface and has never once accidentally posted a personal direct message as a status update or written “Happy birthday” on her own wall instead of a friend’s.
Usually when you go through an old person’s Facebook photos, there’s at least a few blurry shots of piles of laundry or empty furniture that look like they were taken and uploaded accidentally. Unfortunately, Sharlene’s photos are all just pretty decent pictures of completely regular things like her garden and craft projects, all in clear focus and bearing accurate captions such as, “Zucchinis are coming in nicely.” It’s so boring! No gross close-ups of her dog licking peanut butter off of her hand, no selfies depicting mysterious skin ailments, and she doesn’t even do the thing where she regularly re-uploads the same low-resolution profile pic but with wacky new frames.
It’s utterly maddening. Literally nothing she’s done so far is funny.
It’s possible that she has some sort of younger family member showing her the ropes and helping her avoid the standard Facebook faux pas, and if so, curses on that person. But if she is indeed figuring it out all on her own, then she is truly an anomaly, because you just don’t ever see people born before WWII navigating social media with such savvy poise. Kudos to her, we suppose, for bucking all the ageist stereotypes and having her shit together online—even though it’s honestly a huge bummer for the rest of us.