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Old as dirt. Twice as gritty.

Survivalist of the fittest

 
On Facebook, as users know, there are ‘sponsored ads’ on the right side of the page. These ads are based on what Facebook has decided is of interest to you. Mostly I get travel ads, cycling ads and photography ads, which are on target. But I also get - and I get it a lot - an ad for a survivalist site.
 
I don’t know why I’ve been targeted as a survivalist, but maybe Facebook is onto something. They tend to know things about us that we don’t recognize in ourselves (as Gene Autry once said, “How come you know me so well when I’m a stranger to myself?”). 
 
For example (I am about to veer off-topic for a minute, bear with me): There are two ways to set your Facebook news feed. There’s ‘most recent’ (chronological, aka what you want to read) or ‘top stories’ (what Facebook thinks you should be reading), and you can slap it silly and call it Sally but no matter how often you set your news feed to ‘most recent’ it will eventually default back to ‘top stories’. Every. Single. Time. As it happens, I’ve found a workaround to this. It’s not perfect but it helps. Set your news feed to ‘most recent’ then bookmark it. From that point on, whenever you access Facebook via your bookmark, you will get ‘most recent’ instead of ‘top stories’.
 
Now aren’t you glad that I veered?
 
The point is, Facebook is in the business of knowing you better than you know you, and it is not afraid to overwrite your puny preferences. It even knows the 20 most important things that happened to you in 2012. They provide this information for you via their ‘Your 2012 Year In Review’. I checked mine, and apparently the most important things that happened to me in 2012 were: 
 
  • Katie, my house-mannequin of 20+ years, dressed up for Christmas. 
  • A pet dead trout was adopted (okay, so yes, they got that one right). 
  • Romney talked about binders of women.
  • A cartoon that read ‘I do not spew profanities. I enunciate them clearly, like a *@#$# lady”.
  • My computer mouse behaved erratically one day. 
  • A log was discovered laying on the roof of my nephew’s house in Seattle. 
  • A monkey fired a machine gun at people somewhere in Africa.
  • I stood outside in the snow.
 
Oh my god. I don’t have a life.
 
I’m guessing this is why Facebook wants me to be a survivalist. The most exciting thing to happen to me in an entire year was taking a picture of my mannequin, so they feel I really don’t have anything to lose. They are hoping to make my 2013 Year In Review more interesting because, to be honest, I am an embarrassment to them.
 
Either that or they know that the end of the world is coming soon (the Mayans predicted 2012, maybe pet dead trouts predicted 2013, who can say). Maybe Facebook is protecting me as only it can, by suggesting (frequently) that I should prepare for the upcoming apocalypse by visiting the survivalist page. 
 
I just don’t know, but decided to visit the page to be on the safe side. The cover is an American Gothic style picture of a couple wearing gas masks, which reminded me that I don’t have that most basic (aside from insanity) of survivialist items, the gas mask. I wonder if a dust mask would work? Reading on, I learned all sorts of new things: How to build a ‘debris hut’ (how hard can it be, really, dig a hole in the ground, throw leaves and twigs at it, slap up a ‘Home is where the heart is’ sign, and you’re done). Also, when the power goes out in the world, I’ll know how to bake a cheery batch of cookies in the sun, although I wonder if the radioactive dust will interfere with bake times.
 
 
I also know from the site that I am ‘being watched’. I also know one quote by Ronald Reagan (“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction”), which is one quote more than I ever wanted to know of his. I know how to cook ‘delicious’ emergency food storage meals (note to self: submit own recipe ‘Open bag of NASA freeze-dried ice-cream. Eat.’). I have learned that I am a ‘victim of mind control’, and best of all, I have learned 11 ways a condom can save my life. Or rather I would have learned it, except that it was necessary to join their website in order to get the details, so I’ve improvised: Blow it up, draw a scary face on it, show it to the enemy, watch them run away screaming like little girls. 
 
Surviving bioterrorism, chemical disasters, nuclear war and pandemics seems pretty straightforward, from what I can see. I just have to dig out my AR-15 assault rifle, grab a swastika, don camo garb, grow a beard (last item could be tricky, may resort to fake beard)  then jump into my hidden debris hut that is pre-wired with security cameras and minefields and stocked with C-rations. Wait. First I should perfect my blood-shot glazed-over psychotic look. Done.
 
Oh, I’d say my 2013 Your Year In Review will be lookin’ pretty good.


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About the Author

This bio was written by Jo Slade. As you can see she has written about herself in the third person. What normal person would do that? They just wouldn't. Who knows how many other persons might be involved in this thing, a second person? Another third? I worry about it. I - she - we - can't even keep it straight, this paragraph is a damn mess, there are persons all over the place. Round 'em up and shoot 'em. That's what I'd do, and by golly I think that's what Jo Slade would do as well.

Biographic nutshell: Jo has been messing around with words for a long time. Sometimes she'll just say words instead of writing them, it saves on paper.

This column: The columns that will appear here are of a highly serious and scholarly nature, therefore it is advised that you keep a dictionary and ponderous thoughts nearby.

If, after reading the column, you find yourself tossing and turning at night, burning with the need to email me, just do it. I answer to [email protected]







The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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