Facebook and the First Day of School

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SONY DSC

Facebook Posts About Little Girls on The First Day of School:

  • “Ready for another exciting year at Taft Elementary! Our little Kimberly missed all of her friends!”
  • “Gracie loves her Paw Patrol backpack! So psyched about kindergarten!”
  • “Third grade, here we come! Kelsey is growing up so fast!”
  • “No fears about second grade. Sophia couldn’t wait to get on the bus!”
  • “Math is fun! Here’s a video of Olivia explaining the Pythagorean theorem. Look out, first grade!”

Facebook Posts About Little Boys on the First Day of School:

  • “First day of kindergarten for Tyler. Wish us luck.”
  • “This is the best photo we could get for Jacob’s first day of second grade. We practically had to drag him out of bed.”
  • “If nose-picking is a 1st grade subject, Declan will sail through with flying colors—all of them gross.”
  • “That blur you see is our son as we attempted a back-to-school pic. Prayers for his teacher and classmates.”
  • “And, so it begins…”

Sad boy

Three Ways to Tell Who Really Likes You

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Friendship

Lost among this week’s media coverage of the latest asinine comments from Donald Trump was an intriguing New York Times article titled, “Do Your Friends Actually Like You?”

The thrust of the story is that not as many people truly like us as we imagine. Most “friends” are really just casual acquaintances. Others are friendly to us for their own selfish, manipulative reasons. The article quotes various academic experts who seem to agree that most of us each have, at best, four to five true friends who carry no agenda. These friends simply love us for who we are, and they genuinely enjoy our company.

I had hoped that the Times would provide some constructive ways to weed out your phony friends and identify the ones who really care about you. The Times is usually more than willing to tell people what to do with their lives, but this time it fell short. There were no tangible “next steps” for categorizing and managing one’s friends.

So I came up with some exercises that might help. Here are three simple scenarios you can create that will help you identify your real friends:

1. Have a Child

This exercise is particularly effective if you are among the first in your social circle to try it. Just get married, have a kid, and watch in amazement as interactions with some of your closest pals trickle down to an exchange of text messages every two or three months.

At your child’s first birthday, make a point of counting the number of non-relatives who call regularly, occasionally stop by to help with the baby, remember the baby’s name, and listen patiently as you ramble on about the baby. If you need more than one hand to list those friends, you’re doing better than most new parents.

2. Move Out

Plan to move to a new home or apartment. DO NOT hire professional movers. Instead, ask your friends if they would mind helping you out. Make a point of not packing any boxes before they arrive at your place at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Also, make it clear early on that you are running low on cash, and you won’t be able to provide free pizza or beer after the move is complete.

Those two or three people who are still around four hours later to help unpack your grandmother’s china? Those are your real friends.

3. Do Something Crazy

Invite all your friends to meet up for drinks after work. Excitedly explain to them how you are going to quit your job, sell your possessions, and dedicate the next three years of your life to traveling the country in search of The Perfect Cheeseburger. Sure, you only have $530 in the bank, along with a mountain of debt. But you’ve got a pup tent, your trusty 1989 Honda Civic, and a list of the best burger joints along the East Coast. Anyway, life is short. It’s time to follow your dreams.

Those people smiling and nodding as they try to wave down the waiter for their checks? They aren’t your friends.

The handful of people who are with you four drinks later, calmly asking if you’ve really thought this all the way through? The ones who remind you about your spouse and kids, and ask what happens to them during your quest for The Perfect Cheeseburger?

Those people are your real friends. They always will be.

Your Password Has Expired

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Hand reaching for the sky

    Dale followed the light, which is what they always say you should do. His body was catapulted into some kind of cosmic vortex, where he floated around for what seemed like days.

    Finally, he landed, his Timberland work boots touching a marble floor. Up ahead were six massive, ivory columns that reached into the clouds. A man with a long, white beard and a flowing gown approached him, and smiled. Dale knew he must be St. Peter.

    “Hello, Dale,” he said. “We’re glad to have you.”

    Dale nodded and blinked. Everything was very bright up here in the clouds.

    “Just go over to one of the kiosks and sign yourself in,” St. Peter advised, extending a cloaked arm toward a battery of silver-plated work stations with glowing LED screens.

    Dale walked to one of the kiosks and typed in his name.

    “Do you have your confirmation number?”

    “My what?”

    “You need a confirmation number,” St. Peter said. “We sent it to you in a text message before you arrived. Do you have your phone?”

    “Why would I have my phone?” Dale asked.

    St. Peter shook his head. “People usually bring their phones. It’s okay. Let me help you.”

    The apostle walked to the kiosk and moved his pale, perfectly manicured fingers across the screen.

    “Can’t you just let me in?” Dale asked. “You obviously know who I am.”

    “I do?”

    “You called me by name when I got here.”

    St. Peter looked at him dubiously. “That’s because it’s on your shirt.”

    Dale looked down at the ironed patch on the left breast of his shirt. Dale had forgotten he was at work when the end came. His last conscious memory was scrambling across the floor, crab-like, as the underbelly of a Toyota Prius tumbled over him.

    St. Peter squinted at the kiosk screen. “We just upgraded to a new system,” he explained. “To say that it has a few bugs would be a bit of an understatement.”

    Dale nodded. He was extremely tired.

    “What’s your gmail address and password?” the saint asked. “That might do the trick.”

    Dale tried to remember his password. He gave St. Peter a combination of his first pet’s name and the year he graduated from high school. It didn’t work. Dale gave him the name of his first girlfriend and the year he lost his virginity. Still no luck.

    “Cheese and rice! This new system! I wish I could just wave you through, but I can’t,” St. Peter said. “Look, it’s getting late, and you’re exhausted. I’m going to book you a night at a place near here, and we’ll try this again tomorrow. Sound good?”

    St. Peter reached into his gown and pulled out an Android phone. He made the arrangements. Dale checked into the Pearly Gates Lodge, which billed itself as “The Closest Thing to Heaven.” The bed was rock-hard and the remote control didn’t work, but he was too tired to care. The breakfast buffet the next morning was pretty good, although the eggs were a little runny for Dale’s liking.

    “Hello, Dale,” St. Peter said, glancing at his shirt. “We’re glad to have you.”

    “I was here yesterday. I remembered my gmail password.”

    “Very good. Let’s give it a try.”

    They walked to the nearest kiosk. The password had come to Dale as he awoke that morning on the rock-hard motel mattress. FairLane#1968—it was the model and year of his first car.

    “Oh, heavens,” St. Peter said, after keying in the password three times. “Not good. Not good at all.”

    “What is it?”

    “It says, ‘your password has expired.’”

    “You gotta be kidding me.”

    Dale stood, a hand propped on his hip as St. Peter swiped through several brightly colored pages on the kiosk screen. Dale looked around. It seemed odd that he and St. Peter were the only two people at the entrance to Heaven. He crossed his arms and listened to a familiar melody playing softly over the PA system. After a moment or two, he identified the song as “Drops of Jupiter,” by Train.

    “So, what’s Hell like?” Dale asked.

    “Hell?” St. Peter said, still staring at the screen. “Oh, it’s a mess, total chaos. They run things on a paper-based system. It’s like being in the 1970s all over again.”

    “Yeah?”

    “The bars down there are all open until two in the morning, though. People need to self-medicate, you know, to deal with all the inefficiencies of being in Hell.”

    “Sounds like my kind of place,” Dale said. “How do I get there?”

    “The saint gave him a disapproving look. “You’re kidding, right?”

    “I think I’d like to give it a try,” Dale said.

    “Well, there’s no easy way to transfer you. If you’re really serious about going to Hell, you’ll have to fill out a few forms. It could take weeks to sort everything out.”

    Dale pivoted on the heel of his boot and gave St. Peter a wave as he walked toward the gold-hued cumulonimbus clouds.

    “No thanks,” Dale said. “I’ll figure out a way down there myself.”

    What Clint Eastwood Knows About Trusting Your Gut

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    Clint + Monkey = Cinema Gold

    Clint + Monkey = Cinema Gold

    In the late 1970s, when Clint Eastwood read the script for the movie, Every Which Way But Loose, all of his business advisors urged him to turn down the role.

    “My lawyer begged me not to do it,” Eastwood recalled in a recent interview with Esquire. “’This is a piece of shit. It’s not the kind of thing you do.’ And I said, ‘It’s not the kind of thing that I’ve been doing—all these pictures where I’m shooting people. I want something you can take your kids to.’”

    Eastwood ended up doing the move, of course. And while Every Which Way But Loose was hardly a cinematic masterpiece, it became a commercial hit. It did not ruin Eastwood’s acting career. While the decision to do the movie seemed risky at the time, Eastwood liked the story about a rough-and-tumble trucker and an orangutan named Clyde. It was something different.

    “If you make a couple decisions where your instincts worked well, why would you abandon them?” Eastwood said.

    I remember one night in the fall of 1988, walking to the mailbox and pulling out a brochure from the University of Missouri. I was a high school senior at the time, and I was looking at different colleges to attend. Missouri wasn’t on my radar at all. I had never been to the Show-Me State, and didn’t know much about it beyond Harry Truman and Mark Twain. In fact, I still have no idea how the people at the University of Missouri got my contact information.

    Nevertheless, as I sat down at our kitchen table and flipped through the glossy brochure, I got excited. Something about the place just seemed right. I filled out the application that night and mailed it the next day. Ten months later, I was a freshman in Columbia, Missouri, more than 700 miles from my hometown.

    I had practical reasons for choosing my college—I wanted to go to journalism school, and Missouri had a good one. Mostly, though, my decision was based on instinct. It just felt like the right place for me.

    I think it was a good decision, and it has directed almost everything that has happened in my life since—my career, the woman I married, the city we live in, most of my friends. All of that would have been completely different had I chosen to attend, say, the University of Georgia.

    I am grateful for following my instincts that night in 1988. The life that has unfolded since has been a good one.

    As we get older and pick up more responsibilities, it becomes harder to act on a hunch. Often, we choose the safer route because we have so much more at stake than when we were young. We aren’t high school seniors anymore, and we certainly aren’t movie stars who can afford to take a chance on making a goofball truck driver flick.

    But our instincts are still there. When is the last time you listened to yours? How did that decision work out for you?

    Sometimes, our instincts lead us to do strange things.

    Sometimes, our instincts lead us to do strange things.

    Mike Teavee and the Chocolate Factory

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    Charlie

    Have you ever read a book that profoundly shaped your life?

    I have. The book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When I read it for the first time in the second grade, I promised myself that I would never, ever behave like those awful, beastly children that accompanied Charlie on the tour of Willy Wonka’s factory. I would not be spoiled like the little peanut heiress Veruca Salt. I would not be sassy like the gum-chewing Violet Bureaugarde. I would not be gluttonous like the greedy Augustus Gloop. Finally, I would not watch television all the time like the vacuous Mike Teavee.

    As a new reader and an eight-year-old, I loved the subversively dark humor of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was turned down for being in poor taste by several publishers in the 1960s, even though Roald Dahl was already a successful author at the time. But I also understood the book to be a cautionary moral tale. When children behave badly, bad things happen, was the lesson I took from it. I was determined not to become one of those bad kids. For most of my childhood, I think I succeeded.

    A few months ago, I read the book to my six-year-old son over the course of several bed times. I thought he would enjoy the book, as I did. Perhaps he’d also appreciate that the hero of the book was the humble, good-hearted, impoverished Charlie, not the loud-mouthed brats who won the other four Golden Tickets to the factory.

    My son did enjoy the book, especially the songs that the Oompa-Loompas sang each time a child met some grisly fate. The moral component seemed to be lost on him, though.

    “What do you think this book was trying to say?” I asked him after we finished the last chapter.

    “Always follow the rules,” my son said after some thought.

    “Who was your favorite character?”

    “Mike Teavee!” he said without hesitation.

    “Why Mike Teavee?”

    “He loves television and I love television. And I love my iPad,” my son said, leaping off of his bed and reaching for his digital device. “I want to be known as Mike iPad.”

    I could barely hide my disappointment.

    A few days later, when I was signing him up for a summer reading program at our library, the librarian asked what password we wanted to use on our summer reading online account (because God forbid we actually tabulate the hours on a simple sheet of paper).

    “What password do you want to use?” I asked my six-year-old, who was busy trying to balance a Magic Marker between his upper lip and nose at the time.

    “I want my password to be ‘TV!’” he said.

    “You are killing me, man,” I replied.

    So my son’s password for his online summer reading log is “TV,” and his literary hero is Mike Teavee. Somewhere, out there, Roald Dahl is shaking his head. Or maybe he’s laughing wickedly.

    The Next One

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    About five months ago, I completed the manuscript for my second novel. There will be a few rounds of editing ahead, but I’m confident that the stack of 324 pages in my downstairs office reads cleanly and is largely free of embarrassing typographical errors.

    I do not want to give away too much about the new novel until I have more clarity on how and when it will be published. Let’s just say that the book draws from my personal experience of being part of a weekend rock band with a few of my middle-aged buddies. If you enjoyed the wry humor of my first novel, A Plot for Pridemore, I think you will appreciate the new book. Even though the characters and subject matter are quite different, the style of storytelling is very much the same.

    It’s been two years since Pridemore came out, and my original goal was to complete a second novel by January 2015. That proved to be a bit ambitious, as much of my writing time is relegated to late nights after we have put our child to bed. I finished the initial draft last fall, put it through a couple of rounds of edits, then shared it with a handful of readers who provided me with some excellent advice on the story’s tone and structure. After implementing many of their ideas, I reviewed the manuscript one final time earlier this year.

    I’m excited about the new novel, and a little bit proud of myself for completing it, albeit a little later than planned. I believe the new work is a topical, engaging, uniquely American story. Hopefully, it is a forward step in my life as a fiction writer, which I would love to turn into a full-time endeavor one of these days.

    I will be sure to update you as soon as I have any additional news to share. In the meantime, be sure to check out A Plot for Pridemore if you haven’t already. You can find it here, along with many other fine works on the Mercer University Press website.

    Blue Light Special

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    Police lights

    Kids who grow up in the city don’t know how good they have it.

    Provided you have transportation and a little disposable income, you can choose a different activity for every single day of the year if you live in a large metropolitan area. In the city, there are museums, aquariums, zoos, amusement parks, professional sports, shopping centers and even dinosaur-themed restaurants from which to choose. In the city, there is no excuse to ever be bored, even though my son might sometimes disagree with me.

    For kids who live in smaller towns, it’s different. Sometimes you have to make your own fun. Sometimes, that fun may be ill-advised.

    I was luckier than most. I grew up in a mid-sized town called LaGrange that had a four-year college, a large recreational lake, golf courses, tennis courts and about 10 months of good weather each year. When I was in high school in the late 1980s, they opened up a six-screen cinema in my town, which was a social and cultural game-changer for me and my peers. I saw my first R-rated movie in that theater (Fatal Attraction with Michael Douglas and Glenn Close), even though my friends and I were under-aged. The new Cineplex brought a little bit of big-city daring and decadence to the town of LaGrange, Georgia.

    Still, it could get boring at times. We had to make our own fun. My friend Jason and I swore off drinking for our high school careers, and we didn’t quite have enough nerve to swing though the school parking, where a lot of our classmates hung out on Friday and Saturday nights. Some evenings, we just drove around town in Jason’s Volkswagen Jetta, blasting U2 on the tape deck and somehow hoping that Bono’s words would inspire us to drive into the high school parking lot and talk to the cool kids.

    One night, just to try something different, we grabbed a flashlight, a roll of duct tape, and a large, blue plastic cup from Jason’s house. Our hope was that, by taping the cup over the flashlight, and turning the light off and on rapidly, we could simulate the kind of pulsing blue light that police officers mounted on the dashboards of their patrol cars. To test our experiment, I stood on the side of the street and watched Jason whiz by in the Jetta a few times, his right arm holding the flashlight over the dash and turning it on and off just as fast as he could. Sure enough, it looked a lot like a police light.

    When you are a pair of bored 18-year-olds who suddenly have invented your own police light, your next move is obvious. We hit the road on a warm Saturday night, patrolling the unlit rural routes that wound around and across West Point Lake. At about 10 o’clock that night, we pulled behind a red Chevrolet pick-up that was going about 10 miles above the speed limit. Jason turned the volume down on the Midnight Oil album we’d been listening to. Riding shotgun, I turned on the blue light and held it to the windshield, my thumb doing double-time over the switch to create the perfect effect. I might have even been whistling siren noises at the time.

    After a quarter mile or so, the truck slowed and stopped on the gravel shoulder. Jason and I stared at each other in amazement. Did we just pull this guy over? What do we do now?

    Jason gave it half a second of thought, then stomped the accelerator. The red pick-up was a blur as we sped by. Jason did not slow down until we entered the city limits. Along the way, I looked nervously in the side-view mirror, expecting to see the Chevy’s headlights cresting the hill behind us, its driver furious at being snookered by a pair of skinny, wanna-be cops in a 1985 Volkswagen Jetta.

    Fortunately, we got away. Jason and I took the blue light out on the road a couple more times that summer, but we made only half-hearted attempts at enforcing the county’s traffic code. My friend and I were just a few weeks away from going to college in different parts of the country. Neither of us wanted any trouble when we were so close to our first tastes of freedom.

    I sometimes think about that summer and how we might have been charged with a felony if we’d been caught using a flashlight and a plastic cup to transform Jason’s Jetta into a Georgia patrol car. If that happened today, of course, we’d be on the six o’clock news, and all over social media. Our lives would be ruined, at least for a while.

    That’s why I feel for the kids growing up in the smaller towns, and maybe even the kids in the cities, too. The tolerance level for teen-aged mistakes is a lot lower these days, and the amount of public shaming is at an all-time high. One act of stupidity, and a kid could be in serious trouble. And who hasn’t done something stupid when they’re young and bored and aching for a little bit of adventure, like pretending to be a patrol officer for a night?

    Ali, The Poet

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    ali
    I’m not old enough to remember when Muhammad Ali was in his fighting prime, but I’ve always enjoyed watching old film clips and documentaries about him in those days. I especially love the poems he would write and share with the press before big fights. In addition to being the greatest boxer in the world, he was a genius with words and phrases. Ali coined “Rumble in the Jungle,” and “Thrilla In Manila,” the phrases we use to recall two of his most pivotal bouts. Grantland Rice would have been hard-pressed to come up with better catch-phrases than those.

    Ali wrote the following poem, “I am the Greatest,” when his name was still Cassius Clay. He was 21 at the time. National Public Radio featured the original audio recording of the poem earlier this week.

    Do you know any 21-year-olds who have the self-assurance to read a piece of verse they wrote to a large gathering of strangers? Do they also possess the skill to make the piece boastful, but humorous and playful at the same time? And do they have the charisma to read a poem called “I am the Greatest” without coming across as an arrogant jackass? Finally, how many 21-year-olds do you know who could back up that performance by actually being the greatest at what they do?

    It has been written many times that Ali was a one-of-a-kind, and that is true for many reasons. For me, his charisma stands out as something totally unique in the dull, calculated, humorless world of sports. Can you imagine Tom Brady or Peyton Manning sharing poems they wrote before an upcoming Super Bowl?

    Here’s the poem. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

    This is the legend of Cassius Clay,
    The most beautiful fighter in the world today.
    He talks a great deal, and brags indeed-y,
    of a muscular punch that’s incredibly speed-y.
    The fistic world was dull and weary,
    But with a champ like Liston, things had to be dreary.
    Then someone with color and someone with dash,
    Brought fight fans a-runnin’ with cash.
    This brash young boxer is something to see
    And the heavyweight championship is his des-tin-y.
    This kid fights great; he’s got speed and endurance,
    But if you sign to fight him, increase your insurance.
    This kid’s got a left; this kid’s got a right,
    If he hit you once, you’re asleep for the night.
    And as you lie on the floor while the ref counts ten,
    You’ll pray that you won’t have to fight me again.
    For I am the man this poem’s about,
    The next champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.
    This I predict and I know the score,
    I’ll be champ of the world in ’64.
    When I say three, they’ll go in the third.

    So don’t bet against me, I’m a man of my word.
    He is the greatest! Yes!
    I am the man this poem’s about,
    I’ll be champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.
    Here I predict Mr. Liston’s dismemberment,
    I’ll hit him so hard; he’ll wonder where October and November went.
    When I say two, there’s never a third,
    Standin’ against me is completely absurd.
    When Cassius says a mouse can outrun a horse,
    Don’t ask how; put your money where your mouse is!
    I AM THE GREATEST!”

    My Piano and Me

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    Piano

    One of my unrealized dreams in life is to learn how to play the piano really well. As a kid, I took piano lessons from the 3rd through 8th grade, but I didn’t enjoy it. I never really learned how to read music, and I played most songs by ear.

    As I grew older, I began to think about how gratifying it would be to just sit down at a piano and play whatever sheet music was in front of me. Shortly after we married, my wife and I bought a cherry wood upright Yamaha that we put in our front living room. For a few years, I would plop down at the piano and play the 10 or so songs I knew by heart, and work my way through a few new ones. I fantasized about having friends over for dinner and leading late-night singalongs from my Yamaha, playing the hits I knew from the Beatles, Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin, Coldplay, Billy Joel and Elton John.

    This never came to pass. Not quite, anyway. One Saturday, my friend Brad and I had plans to drive up to the College World Series in Omaha. We were going to meet very early in the morning at the home of a mutual acquaintance I didn’t know very well. When I arrived at the house, the man and his wife invited me in, and we chatted while waiting for my friend to show up. I admired the upright piano they had in their living room.

    “We just got it,” the man said. “Neither of us knows how to play, though.”

    “Brad told me you play,” his wife said sweetly. “Would you play a song for us? We’d love to hear how our piano sounds.”

    They looked at me, smiling expectantly. I nodded and slowly made my way to the piano bench. It was about 6 o’clock in the morning.

    I played a few chords from “Piano Man,” which is one of the easiest tunes I know. I began singing, because the song sounds sparse without the familiar words that are drunkenly crooned in every American piano bar every single night of the week. The couple gamely sang along. I missed a few notes. It is hard to play a musical instrument and sing at the same time, especially in front of other people. After the second round of “La-da-da-da-da-da-daaa,” my friend showed up at the front door, and I was allowed to stop.

    “That was really nice,” said the husband, whom I have come to know better over the passing years, but who has never asked me to play the piano again.

    Today, our busy family life means I no longer have time to play the piano. The cherry Yamaha mostly gathers dust in our living room, except for the occasional moments when our six-year-old wants to bang a few notes on it. I have tried to teach him “Chopsticks,” but he doesn’t have the patience for it. I would love for him to take lessons someday, but I think he would rather play guitar, if anything.

    I feel guilty not giving such a nice piano the attention it deserves. I haven’t gotten it tuned in a couple of years. Someday, when things are less busy (maybe retirement?), I tell myself that I will sit down, re-master the handful of songs that I know, and learn a few more. Then we’ll have that dinner party with friends, and everyone will gather around my piano to sing along to a string of 1970s hits.

    The Mind-Altering Effects of Facebook

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    If you’ve read the news lately, you know that Facebook has been accused of manipulating the content it puts in front of 1.6 billion users, instead of providing them with a healthy, balanced diet of objective, well-researched information.

    Facebook, some people argue, is cynically skewing the way we see the world, as if the social network bears the responsibility of some sort of public service instead just being a free, digital place where you can write “happy birthday!” and share photos of your adorable children and pets.

    The company I work for sometimes buys Facebook ads that appear on the newsfeeds of people we think might want to use our services. One of these people sent us an angry message recently, telling us to “stop spreading spam!!!

    “I didn’t like you,” he wrote. “Get off my page!”

    Lucifer in the flesh? No, wait--that's Ted Cruz.

    Lucifer in the flesh? No, wait–that’s Ted Cruz.

    It’s not really your page, I wanted to tell him. You don’t own it or pay for it. The page, and everything on it, belongs to Facebook. But instead of getting into an argument about privacy rights with an upset truck driver from Thief River Falls, Minnesota, I gently instructed him on how to disable our ad with just a couple of clicks in his account settings.

    Regardless of what Facebook’s role is or isn’t, any organization with 1.6 billion members has enormous influence. In an effort to test this power, I spent a full week using Facebook as my only source of news and information, just to see what it would do to me.

    Here are the 11 most important things I learned from my week on Facebook:

    • That no one posts about the presidential election anymore, either because they’re sick of hearing about it or too depressed to comment on it.
    • That Winston Churchill was famous for uttering the phrase, “You’ve got to fight for the right to party.”
    • That a pooped puppy and a tired police officer fall asleep at an animal shelter, and you won’t believe what happens next!
    • That my friend’s wife likes to paint her toenails aqua before going on a trip to Cozumel.
    • That when you scroll across a link promising photos of serial killers when they were children, you cannot help but to open it.
    • That because you once listed To Kill a Mockingbird as a favorite book, Facebook thought you might be like to buy a To Kill a Mockingbird T-shirt or perhaps an Atticus Finch beer koozie.
    • That a photo that captures someone in the crowd holding up a smartphone at a Mike Tyson fight proves, finally, that time travel exists.
    • That you feel kind of dumb for commenting—again—on a post that a friend re-posted from three years ago.
    • That you really want to tell Hillary Clinton, “Get off my page! I didn’t like you!”
    • That when you scroll across a link promising embarrassing pet photos, you have no choice but to open it.
    • That most people want to just post pictures of their kid graduating high school or a good-looking sunset, or they want to wish someone happy birthday—which is what Facebook was designed for in the first place.
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