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Younger Crowd Going Crazy for Farmville

Years ago someone told me I should always have younger friends. They'll look after you when you get older, the advice went.

Another perk is they'll look better than friends our own age - something pleasant to look at.

I took the advice and now have friends 30 to 40 years younger than I am. I've discovered they also keep me up with the times.

One of my younger friends is Susannah, a high school senior. I see Susannah every couple of months, and I always make a beeline to sit next to her, not just because she's pretty to look at but to catch up on what's really going on.

I asked her, for instance, where Lady Gaga fit into the great scheme of things. (It's always good to talk to someone whose taste in music did not stop with the Beach Boys.)

I know who Lady Gaga is - a singer/performance artist - and what she looks like - a blonde who likes to accessorize - and what her celebrity status is these days - hot! What I wanted to know was if Lady Gaga was on her way up or on her way down.

Susannah assured me I had not missed the Lady Gaga era, that she was at the top of her game and had not yet begun her descent.

So if I dropped her name at a Christmas party, people wouldn't laugh, the way they would if I mentioned, say, the Pussycat Dolls, who were hot such a short time I missed them entirely? She said they would not.

All the while Susannah was talking to me, she was staring at her phone or her iPod or whatever it was in her hand. One of the less appealing features of younger friends is they rarely actually look at you.

I asked her what she was doing. FarmVille, she said.

FarmVille, for those unaware, is an online game in which you "run" your own farm. It's hot, Susannah said. Hot as Lady Gaga.

I went home and joined. Within minutes I was receiving messages on my Facebook page.

One "friend" warned me that FarmVille was addictive. Another said I'd "drunk the Kool-Aid."

Within hours I received more than 100 FarmVille gifts, everything from plants to trees and cows. Complete strangers showed up, wanting to be my neighbor.

A few days later I "visited" my farm again and discovered that someone named Pam Schrieffer had fertilized my crops and that I could plant a Christmas tree if I wanted, then have my new neighbors put presents under it.

I don't have a clue what's going on here. To be honest, I find this all a little scary. I grew up on a farm. No one gave us a cow. Strangers never fertilized our crops. We knew all our neighbors.

I think I'll go play with someone my own age for a while.

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