Monday, June 23, 2014

Training Day

I was just minding my own business scrolling through my Facebook news feed one day when I saw that one of my friends, Ashley Devine, had posted some romantic photos of her and her husband, Alan.

"Aww, how sweet and wonderful to be young and in love," I thought to myself as each new picture trickled down my scroll...

That is, until I got to the picture of the two of them posed lounging across a railroad track, a photo which struck me as particularly alarming.

Now, I don't really know Ashley that well, or for that matter, at all.

One of us had posted a FarmVille2 neighbor add-me request somewhere quite some time ago, one of us then added the other on Facebook pursuant to same, and that's how we became Facebook "friends." 

But we'd never chatted with each other or anything, and to be honest, I don't even think she plays the game anymore.  Come to think of it, I don't even think she ever visited my farm. 

Yet despite all this, I still felt compelled to warn her about the dangers of sitting on a railroad track.  

I mean, it's like walking down the street and seeing a dog locked inside a hot car on a sunny day.  You don't just let the dog suffer simply because you and the dog don't happen to be close Facebook friends, right?  No, you try to save that poor little animal, even though it is basically just a stranger to you.

On that basis I decided that I must try to save Ashley from what I perceived to be impending doom.

I loaded up the picture of the Devines on the tracks into my special image enhancement software to get a better view of what was going on. 

Once the image had been enhanced, my worst fears were confirmed...


I quickly posted the results of what I had found and warned the two lovebirds of the imminent threat bearing down upon them.

James Byrd (the "J" in "J&A Photography") posted in reply, immediately demanding that I "take that photo down" because his watermark was on it.

I innocently protested that I was not the individual responsible for placing his watermark on the photograph.  I didn't understand what the problem was.  These people's lives are in danger, and this guy is complaining about a silly watermark?  Seriously?

Then Ashley herself chimed in, not to thank me for trying to save her life, but to ask me to take the photo down because James Byrd didn't need my help with his nice family photos since he does "a fine job by him self (sic)."

Can you believe this ingrate?  I try to save her life and this is the thanks I get?  Some people, huh?

I tried to explain to Ashley that I was just trying to help, but she said she wasn't in any danger and admonished me that "it's not right to put things on someone's work."

So I'm thinking, "HA!, tell that to Marcel Duchamp, why doncha!"  Which is funny, because he's been dead since 1968.

Then her husband Alan gets into the mix and also demands that I "take down the photo."

At this point I'm feeling a little bit unappreciated and also confused about why they keep asking me to remove the photo.  Don't these people know how Facebook works?  It's their post I'm commenting on...  They can delete my comments at any time!

But I took the high road.  Since the watermark appeared to be what was bothering them, and since they had now reached the point of "all seriousness," I dutifully complied in its removal.


So now James Byrd gets back on my case, and this time he's complaining that I removed his watermark!  Can you believe this guy?  First he's mad because his watermark is on the picture, and now he's mad because it isn't!  What do you want from me James Byrd?

You just can't win with some people, ya know?  There is just no pleasing them.

So I'm about to ask James which is it... Watermark or no watermark?  When all of a sudden he posts another message before I can even respond...

Did James Byrd just insult me?

Did this guy seriously just call the picture into which I spent about 93 seconds cutting and pasting a train, a "crappy job Photoshop?"

Naturally, as would any serious artist whose masterpiece had just been insulted, I completely lost my mind at this point and threatened to sue him for defamation.

The next thing I know, the entire message thread was deleted, and Ashley Devine had unfriended me!  I even went back to Ashley's Facebook page to confirm that she had unfriended me and sure enough she really did! 

After all we had been through together, after I went out of my way to save her life and that of her dear husband, she repays me by unfriending!?

The nerve of some people!  Can you even believe it?

While I was there on Ashley's page I saw another post about the pictures, so I left her and Mr. Byrd with one parting comment of advice.  

Why?  Because even when people don't want or appreciate my help, I can't help being a helpful guy.  

It's just my nature.  

I'm a giver. 

It was a link to an article entitled, "4 Reasons You Shouldn't Take Portraits on Railroad Tracks." (Summary: 1. It's dangerous, 2. It's illegal, 3. It sets a bad example, and 4. It's a tired old cliché)

Apparently, mister professional photographer James Byrd was either unaware of or unconcerned with any of these things.  Go figure!

I had enough Facebook for one day, so back to the farm I went...