On Human Connection

The day came in my life when I had enough of Facebook. I told Mr. Pennington, “I have had enough of Facebook.”

JJ Redick deleted all of his social media accounts.” Mr. Pennington said back.


Former Clipper JJ Redick used to be my Clippers boyfriend, third in line after Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. If I had known JJ had the cojones to wipe out his presence on social media, he would have been my #1 Clippers boyfriend. But then Steve Ballmer got rid of all of them, without warning. One game, they were just gone. Booo! Now who do I ❤️ ? [Editor’s Note: this is not exactly what happened. She is not a serious sports fan, she just wants to look good and have fun. - Z.P.]

Below, I am with Mr. Pennington and LA Clipper Boban Marjanović. Two of the three people in that picture have a connective tissue disorder.

Ballmer just got rid of Boban, too. He cleaned out the whole team, and we had a great season! Go Clippers!! [Again, not quite what happened, but it was an awesome season. -Z.P.]

Is anything in this world lasting? Oh yes, my stupid disease Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. And Clippers superfan Clipper Darrell, so famous he has his own Wikipedia page. He’s there at every game yelling. No one will ever get rid of him. I ❤️  you Clipper Darrell!

Go Clippers!

At work a few guys make fun of me for being a Clippers fan. They LOL at me. They’re all Lakers fans. “The Clippers just borrow Staples Center from The Lakers, ha ha ha,” they tell me.

But I just roll my eyes and say, “The Lakers, ugh. So 1980’s. Irrelevant now.”

My favorite things about going to Clippers games is dinner at The Stocking Frame before, where you must try the pastrami tacos and the gold foil burger. Their wine selection is excellent. DTLA is still emerging and lots of restaurants cannot survive and close down. We pray for the continuing existence of The Stocking Frame. Please give them your business.

My other favorite thing about Clippers games is the chance to look fabulous. Basketball games at Staples Center is one destination for which the schleppy people of Los Angeles do get dressed up. Not everyone, of course. But a lot do. I love seeing what the ladies wear. Here I am glammed up and looking fabulous in my shimmering Zac Posen coat, taking a post-game pic center court. The gushing compliments from strangers do not stop, and I’m finally not freezing in my seat.

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The Clippers are good to the loyal fans.

Once per year we are invited to the Clippers training facility to get drilled and yelled at by the Clippers coaches. It is so f*cking awesome! Sweating on the same court the Clippers practice on. Dribbling their practice basketballs. Yeah!!!

Here I am trotting gingerly on my injured foot, which is doing much better now, thanks to excellent physical therapy at Evolution.

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Ah, basketball. I love these full body moves, reaching, throwing and jumping. So natural and healthy. Excellent for shoulder position and stability. The hand-eye coordination is relaxing and stimulating.

In pics I can see if I am using my joints poorly. Because my body is so stretchy, my brain gets inaccurate feedback about itself. I must look with me eyeballs, in mirrors or at pics. I must deliberately practice correct posture and not over-extending.

Mr. Pennington, always serious about his game.

Nothing is stable in this world, not my joints, not the stars of your favorite team, and especially not a conversation that exists only on the internet, which is not a conversation at all. People all riled behind their keyboard, poking furiously, deeply offended, brimming with indignation, longing for a sense of control, typing things they would never say face-to-face. It’s hard not to feel outrage over nothing and type anything on Facebook without a thought because there is no one standing in front of you reacting to you.

Guess JJ had enough. And why should he stay on social media? He’s gorgeous and a great player. Who should he have to answer to? It’s downright commendable that he got off it.

Being a professional basketball player is a lonely life. All that fake human interaction via social media would make it feel more lonely. He explained it on this episode of his podcast with another great Clipper Ballmer got rid of, Chris Paul. [Sigh. -Z.P.]

Human connection IRL is way different than anything electronic.

My Problem With Facebook

Facebook is a platform devised by an autistic person lacking enough mirror neurons to relate to others easily. Imagine being severely color-blind except about perceiving other humans. Likes and typed comments would make a lot of sense to such a brain.

For me it was not the notifications. I hardly look at them anyway. That is one way I tolerate Facebook.

It was not the vacay pics or the dog pics that got to me. That’s what I came for.

It was not the Ehlers-Danlos groups erupting with negativity. They have always been like that. I have to feel desperate and lonely to click on them. Sometimes I do. Not to be unkind to my people. Any serious illness support group tends to get dominated by the most self-pitying and lashing-out members. Nothing makes you crazy like being stuck at home unable to live your life. I am speaking from experience.

It was not seeing that I have friends who voted for Trump, or who are working hard to get the word out that magnesium cures cancer. I am a grown-up, so I can ignore all of that.

It was just overall annoying. IRL if someone is draining to talk to, I tune out and find a way to make my escape.

IRL if someone yells at me, I pretend I don’t hear them and move along.

But on social media, you have to read it and understand it before you can block it out, and by then you’re all wrapped up in it. That’s a big non-consensual emotional investment for nothing that has to do with my RL. Am I ever going to see this person again? Have we even met? Do I care about this topic? I’d rather invest in someone who can give me a hug because they are standing in front of me. Hugs are better than Likes.


I took Sketch Comedy Writing at The Groundlings, not that I want to write Saturday Night Live stuff, I sure don’t. I was just desperate to write something, anything, besides EHLERS-ME-ME-ME-DANLOS.

Oh the terror of writing something different. I would wait until the day before class, clean and reorganize the house, go on a candy bender, then sit down to write my sketch around 9:00 p.m. Truly inefficient, but at least I always did my homework. How much easier it is to blast away commenting on the internet than think or write something else.

I wasn’t the only coward.

We all paid a lot of money to be here. Half the class dropped out.

Every class we passed out copies of our sketches to be read by aloud. I would wait to go last, having heart palpitations and cold sweats, hoping for nuclear war before my turn. I never got any laughs, just awkward giggles, which makes me proud.

All of us chickens were afraid to say our opinions, and completely mortified at hearing our own work out loud.

Face-to-face, it just hurts to expose yourself and to give or get feedback. Or even hear it said to others. The internet… whatever. It’s just not the worst getting too invested in such non-human connection. Right? Right.

Applause to you, JJ. I ❤️ your The JJ Redick Pocast on The Ringer.