“Are you willing to sprint when you don’t know the distance?”
My manager had me watch a short sports clip. The rest of the clip was good but that pithy last quote resonated. I liked it even though it was sports oriented.
Sprinting is running but not all running is sprinting. It is a commitment to go as fast as you can physically, as much as it is to focus your mind or go blank mentally and let your body do what it needs to.
There’s a lesson in there somewhere. It makes me think in multiple directions.
Just sharing it in case it causes someone else the same introspection.
A couple of social media friends inadvertently asked me to do something hilarious with the original photo. Instead, I had a moment imagining the morning. This is what I wrote and created:
The “Wake up!” shouted in her dream brought her instantly to consciousness. She stared at the small red aura of the clock in her peripheral vision for a few seconds.
It had been her own voice in her dream. She drove with her companion as he hung his head out the window, smelling the water and watching the scenery pass. She fumbled with her phone long enough to snap a picture of the moment. In her dream, she experienced a series of overlapping moments, each one of her through the course of her life. The last one was a picture she’d happily snapped one hundred and twenty-three days ago. She slowed the car as she came to a stop. The images flowed backward across time, carrying her from adulthood back to her infancy. The reversal repeated, bringing nostalgia and appreciation for the moment – and for all the moments she’d lived.
As the dream faded and its grip loosened, she wondered what it meant and what the day might hold. She smiled secretly as she lay in the shadows of the morning.
Note: I’m using PSA in this post to indicate “Public Service Announcement,” rather than “Prostate-Specific Antigen.” If you googled that and ended up here accidentally, you are really going to be disappointed.
I have two pieces of actually useful advice today.
First, don’t spit on the carpet, even if it is on fire. And even if you live in a trailer. And it is rented. (Unless you have a double first name.)
Second, almost all Facebook accounts that get cloned are because the victim has his or her friends list visible. There is no viable reason to have your settings permit other people to see your friends list. This is doubly true for women and those who are prone to buying things “As Seen On TV.” If you’re unsure if you are one of those two categories, look at your left foot. Not because it will help resolve your doubt, but because you listen to directions.
Today, I accepted a friend request from just such a cloner/hacker. The person attempted to get me to take the bait regarding the 2020 MUSL grant. I assume that’s something I’m dying to get in on the ground floor. Naturally, I wrote them an increasingly bizarre cascade of replies.
I’m certain that by the time the person read them all, they themselves had become MY victim.
I have two-factor authentication turned on. And I changed my password from ‘password1’ to ‘passwrod1.’ They’ll never figure it out!
This PSA brought to you by Asa Hutchinson’s gardener.
I’m not a fan of a quick recap or drive-by. I want three shotgun blasts to the thorax, using words, just to be sure. I’m obligated to kill the “be nice, you don’t know…” meme – and bury it under an avalanche of words.
A popular meme and motivational cliché challenge us to be nice to people because we don’t know what invisible battles they’re fighting. (Maybe their anger, mistreatment, and lashing out is motivated by something else.)
That’s true for literally everyone, each day – unless we’re surrounded by sociopaths and mean people. Most good people swallow reactions to misbehavior constantly, without comment or repayment. As an outsider, you don’t know how many times someone might have overlooked being treated rudely or mistreated. We only see the consequence and not the long hill of effort to be kind that preceded an outburst.
It’s reciprocal, though, that expectation of kindness or overlooking someone’s inexplicable mean behavior that affects you. You’re not logical if you extend the benefit of the doubt to one participant without also extending it to the other.
People secretly fighting invisible battles should stop blame-shifting honest reactions on the people who are unaware of the circumstances.
We are all jerks; luckily, we’re just jerks on differing schedules.
Reciprocate and assume that I might have a bad day, bad life, or a particular circumstance myself.
Be honest with me and I’ll probably tolerate you lighting my toes on fire.
Like all clichés and generalizations, it’s almost meaningless to ask people to assume that all misbehavior results from an unseen struggle. We’re all going to say and do stupid things, especially hurtful things that we might not have intended to be so harsh.
Most of us are around a few people who lack basic decency. They gaslight and lash out regularly, then use any of our honest reactions against us. They’re the worst. They prey and thrive on the drama.
I’m around two of the worst sociopaths I’ve ever met on a routine basis. They’re toxic, angry, and abusive. They are masters at manipulation. It’s exhausting and needless. They always have an excuse to pardon their horrendous behavior.
P.S. I know this post is potentially contradictory, accusatory, and perhaps upsetting. Maybe I’m having a bad day, though.
So do as the memes demand and give me a break.
You don’t know what’s going on in my life.
Whatever it is, though, it’s my responsibility to throttle my misbehavior, angry words, or discourteousness before asking you automatically to give me a pass. I expect the same from you. It works 99% of the time.
So, enough with the “Be nice, you never know” positivity memes. They’re vacuous and defy the complexity of human emotions and interaction.
Good people need not be told. Bad people don’t care. And sometimes, we can be both.
—NOTE (Below) : Misleading Title from a worse Facebook page—
The fake posts by social media users abated. Inexplicably, I had TWELVE repostings between today and yesterday. I don’t know whether people suddenly became more stupid or if those running the conspiracy and fringe social media sites upped their game. It could be both – and often is. It’s no secret that people are often both stupid and lazy. How they could have missed the countless debunkings though, is beyond belief.
I don’t know why I’m still so surprised that otherwise smart people don’t check what they share. By uploading an image to Google Images, I can usually see what portion of its usage occurs on conservative vs. alleged liberal media. If it’s mostly one side, it’s probably drivel, whether shared by liberal or conservative.
The picture with this post was debunked a couple of weeks ago. Despite this, those who can’t or won’t use their critical thinking skills continue to share it as it makes its way around the internet. There is no media bias, at least not as pictured. I’m not a fan of the NY Post, given its owner, but they used a properly credited picture of the beach. The other FACEBOOK page operated by News Break aggregated the story. The FACEBOOK posting used another image from the same website. The NY Post website did nothing incorrect here – and neither did the News Break FACEBOOK page. A few politically-influenced social media sites have continued to improperly report the juxtaposed images in support of the incorrect and erroneous claim that its proof of the elusive media bias that evidently occurs everywhere. In turn, people who are inclined to believe such claims outright, even in cases that are demonstrably not evidence of media bias, share these posts ad infinitum.
What the picture does expose is the ever-growing need for people to use social media to share their own words or ideas. It insulates them from being ‘had’ by the very media they claim they can either trust or not trust. By continuing to share such incorrect stories, they themselves become guilty of what they accuse others of doing. By presenting every word and image on their page as their own, the worst that can be challenged is their opinion. Posting/sharing what others produce exposes them to scrutiny and being fooled by partisan or cause-oriented falsehood.
If I sound a bit irritated, it’s because many of the people who are shouting the loudest about ‘fake news’ or the unreliability of the media quite often use questionable sources to get their ideas, especially social media sites. No matter how often I point out that they are being victimized by their choices, they, of course, get irritated and angry. No one enjoys being asked to correct provable wrongs. On the other hand, that’s what responsible people do: they correct errors and push back against ego preventing them from saying, “Oops.” Sooner or later, we are all going to repeat/share/post something that is literally wrong. How we respond when someone points it out is the single biggest determinant of whether we are capable of discourse and conversation. Along that line, the safest thing to do is to avoid sharing something that you didn’t create. Doing so and then digging in when it’s pointed out that it’s wrong tends to lead people to the conclusion that discovering what is essentially true or right isn’t high on your list of priorities. Above all, always be very cautious about sharing an alleged news post from a Facebook source. They are notoriously unreliable. I have hundreds of them blocked, both conservative and liberal alike. Likewise, I use LeechBlock on my browser to block a huge list of websites that are prone to extremism.
Granted, even though I meticulously pointed all this out, the odds of the outright false post being taken down approach zero. The people who make the “fake media” claim tend to ignore such requests at a rate much higher than their crazy liberal friends. It’s a hallmark.
P.S. Many users aren’t aware that some of their posts are flagged by Facebook as “FALSE” as they post them. If you show the poster that Facebook has done this, they’ll invariably shout, “BUT you know nothing Facebook says or does is true.” And then I’ll point out that the fake post they are arguing about was itself a Facebook post and that they are contradicting themselves. It’s a sublime moment; one of joy for me and seething anger for them.
I know I’m an idiot. In my defense, I don’t use other people’s websites or links on my pages. What you read is my opinion and interpretation. It’s not poorly-expressed as objective truth. It’s opinion.
Apparently, many Facebook users are unaware that they can easily block messages from a person WITHOUT also blocking them on Facebook.
Think of it as being able to go out and meet a friend without worrying about them calling you at midnight – or when their cat needs a taxi. Because they can’t. That’s how blocking on Messenger works. You choose. You don’t have to rip your phone out of the wall if you’re not giving people your phone number to call you.
Let’s face it, we all have a few friends who can’t resist sending the modern equivalent of chain emails via Messenger. They probably need to read the directions for a box of toothpicks. They just can’t help it. You can’t change them. Others, for whatever reason, seem to be prone to sending viruses to us, or getting hacked/cloned and sending malicious links with titles such as “Video Of You I Found!” or something politically charged like “Obama Killed Your Grandfather” to grab our attention and make us click the link before we turn on our brains.
Sidenote: for those of you who don’t know, it is always wise to start a new Messenger chat by using personal words that inform the recipient that it is from a ‘real’ person, rather than a bot or hacker. Something like, “Hey, this is X. I really like the idea of you wearing a sweater made of pink insulation” will do nicely.
There’s no reason you can’t use Messenger safely. It’s no different than being friends with crazy people. You don’t just yank open your mailbox without listening for a timer in there. Instead of throwing the baby out with the rose-scented bathwater, I suggest a more reasonable approach: block each offender as they send you nonsense, instead of punishing yourself and all your other friends. Get a suspicious message? Get 2,652 gifs that would give anyone a migraine or cause convulsions upon viewing them? Block the person who sent it.
I don’t know how many crazy and clueless friends you have, but I think it would take less time to block each person as they behave stupidly than it would to misuse the incredible communication platform that works on almost any platform or device, from anywhere in the world. We have our problems with social media, to be sure, but most of the consequences are our own fault, precisely because we aren’t using them as intended.
I could be wrong – but it seems like you might be over-reacting or not thinking clearly about how you’re dealing with this.
If you post “Stop sending me stupid messages on Messenger!” the idiots are not going to realize it is them you are referring to. That’s what being stupid does to us. It explains voting, comb-overs, and wearing tight clothing. They don’t get it. Stop preaching to everyone. Target each offender when they send you a message. It only takes once, and you’re done.
P.S. You can use Facebook to private message someone without using Messenger. All you need to do is post and set the privacy control to that specific person. Only that person will be able to see.
And if you’re going to say something ridiculous like, “But something could go wrong!” you’re already using the wrong platform. Something did go wrong. You’re making it hard for the rest of us to contact you when you should be only making it hard for the idiots to do so.
Another study supports the contention that social media can cause some people to experience lesser lives. The tendency for people to share only the glittering moments with their cohorts erodes the fundamental and inescapable reality that life is often a mouthful of houseflies. Not only do people share an incomplete narrative of their lives, but they also portray unrealistic body images. While people often lie, mirrors don’t. It’s half the reason we almost don’t recognize people when we encounter them in real space and time.
As for me, I try to prepare people for the inevitable letdown when they meet me by truthfully comparing myself to a taller version of Danny DeVito. The mistaken idea that we must be beautiful is a strange lie. Time bludgeons most people with casual disregard. It’s no accident that the people who we most often label as beautiful after a certain age tend to share the ability to laugh often and often at themselves.
Many people lose the ability to distinguish between daily reality and the personas crafted by social media. As we age, we discover that most people spend much more time on the couch than they admit and tend to suffer the effects of gravity more than they’d care to admit. Sure, people like frou-frou cuisine, but they most often dine on ramen noodles, hastily prepared sandwiches with the dregs found in the refrigerator, or fast food that looks like what a hungry teenager might request after a hangover.
I had stopped at the Harp’s on my side of town after work on a Tuesday afternoon after work. It was around 1 in the afternoon. Nearby, a mother and daughter were shopping for something for supper. I don’t know why the daughter wasn’t in school, but I suspect she might have been ill. I’m paraphrasing the conversation. And yes, I was eavesdropping. I was on the spaghetti sauce aisle, looking for light alfredo sauce. I prefer it because although it contains two million calories, the word ‘light’ in the name allows me to pretend I’m eating healthy.
I overheard a mom berating her daughter for posting something ‘negative’ about the family’s life. The daughter had posted something about hating her school schedule because of how mean several of her classmates were.
The younger daughter stared at her mother with a bit of incredulity. “So you’re saying ‘Be positive,’ right?” She asked.
“Yes,” snarled the mom in response. “All that bad news and negative energy drags everyone down.”
The daughter anticipated this sort of response. I almost applauded her, like an episode of Ally McBeal. “Then explain to me how you spent over an hour talking to four different people, complaining about everyone and everything. It’s the same thing. You’ve infected those people with your bad news and criticisms.”
The mom spoke too quickly. “Well, two of them were family members.”
“So, you’re saying that talking about negative things hurts people, yet you support your argument by telling me that it’s okay if you talk negatively in your family life, the very people you hold the closest? But it’s not okay for me to share less negative things online, with people I rarely talk to? What’s the point of social media if a bit of honesty isn’t ruining all the fun?”
“Keep it off social media, I said!” The mom had become a little pissed off.
“Well, keep it out of my ears, baby boomer. Positivity doesn’t mean quite what you think it does. Facts aren’t positive or negative. Our reactions are.”
I think it’s obvious who is considering the implications of her behavior more closely than the other.
I gave away the fact that I had overheard by nodding toward the purported daughter and laughing. The mom noticed me standing in the aisle with five jars of light alfredo. My wife later was surprised by how many jars I had purchased. I kept picking them up in order to be able to eavesdrop the conversation.
Because I couldn’t resist, I said, “I think I’ll put this on Facebook.” The daughter laughed.
I’m keeping my promise, a month later.
Be positive, fools.
Even if you’re only positive that almost everyone suffers a similar array of deep valleys and high peaks, and often on the same day. Stop curating your reality with such perverted diligence. It’s no feat to imagine what you’re not sharing, precisely because of our shared humanity.