OK, we all hate Facebook now, although, oddly, we all keep using it. And enjoying it! And some of us already live part of our lives in Zuckerberg’s metaverse, which, to be honest, is a nice place to spend time.
I’ve found that Facebook’s “memories” is a pretty nice thing; it remembers things for me that I have long since forgotten.
Take, for example, early November, over the last decade. A bunch of stuff happened in early November that I wouldn’t remember if it weren’t for Facebook, and I had a lot of “thoughts” that would be lost to time if it weren’t for Facebook.
November 9, 2016
On November 9, 2016, for example, I was upset about Trump’s election, which I do remember well. I shared this:
November 9, 2016. Put aside everything else that might make you unhappy today: his environmental policies really will put the world at risk. There is no turning that around. And there is no particular reason to think that our little planet is immortal. It can be destroyed.
Later that day, however, I had another thought, and Trump didn’t seem to be on my mind anymore:
November 9, 2016. Does anybody else from DC who lived there in the early 1980s or late 1970s remember Pop Maru? They were a good band.
November 9, 2015
A year earlier, what was on my mind?
November 9, 2015. So I had a very very stressful time for a few weeks. There was a fair amount of stress resulting at work from some announcements in the press that you may have seen, and anyway, enough about that.
So everyone at work, and in my life, and even strangers on the street were saying that I should probably take a little time off.
As a result, on fairly short notice I took a day off today and hiked up a pretty strenuous mountain and then back down again, less strenuously, and when I got to the bottom there was this beautiful beach with a beautiful lake, and I sat down to read my copy of the second Cormoran Strike novel.
(That Cormoran Strike! You know, I was never such a fan of Harry Potter. But Cormoran Strike — him I like.)
The whole thing was very relaxing, until these two gulls walked up to me and screamed in my face. I videotaped them screaming at me and played it back to them, just to show them what a couple of assholes they were being. That just made them scream at me louder.
I am not sure what they were mad about. But whatever it was, as always, I am pretty sure that I was being pretty reasonable and their reaction was uncalled for.
November 9, 2014
A year before that, I was arguing about economics with a random “shul lady” and getting horribly fat.
November 9, 2014. So here’s a little story from my life. I was having a nice little conversation with a nice physicist at the shul kiddush on Saturday about, I don’t know, petunias and how pretty they are or something, and a lady I don’t know came over and pretty soon we were talking about the rather uncontroversial subject of slot machines and whether they were “all rigged with algorithms.”
I said no, she said yes.
Anyway, this was pretty boring but still kind of antagonistic, and then she said, “For example, why don’t rich people play the lottery?”
I said I thought it was because they already have money. I said, “I play the lottery because it’s fun to dream about having a lot of money.” Why don’t I ride roller coasters? Because falling from great heights isn’t fun for me. Why do I play the lottery? Because dreaming of being rich is fun. If you are already rich, spending a dollar to dream about being rich would not be fun.
“Wrong!” she said. “Because rich people are risk-averse! They’re not willing to take the risk!”
I said that I thought it was unlikely that a rich person wouldn’t play the lottery because losing a dollar was too risky. A dollar, I pointed out, was not a lot of money to a rich person.
“That’s not what I mean by ‘risk,’“ she said. “That’s not the definition of risk in economics. I think you need to study economics.”
A lottery is about fantasy, I said, and it’s fun to fantasize. If you already have $30 million, fantasizing about having another $10M just isn’t that much fun. A rich man might play a lottery for a date with a movie star, but not for money he already has and doesn’t need more of. (I didn’t make this argument then, because I didn’t think of it.)
Anyway, this became a little heated!
“Well,” she said, “I think you need to study economics!”
She said that a few times, “Study economics, study economics!” and I said, “OK, I’m going to go study economics now” and I left.
What I learned from my studies was that economists are split on whether rich people are risk averse. Either they are not risk averse at all, or their risk aversion varies based on recent events in the economy. I also learned that lottery purchases in wealthy neighborhoods are nearly identical to lottery purchases in poor neighborhoods when the jackpot is high, but significantly more disparate when jackpots are low.
[Replied one of my FB “friends”: “Are rich people more risk-averse than the rest of us? I doubt it. Economists often assume that there is a diminishing marginal enjoyment to consuming more, which implies a diminishing marginal enjoyment of getting more money. In which case everyone is risk averse, but losing a dollar, or even $1000, matters less to a rich person than a poor person. The richer you are, the more risk you can bear. The concept of “value at risk” is also key. When you buy a $5 lottery ticket, you are not putting that much of your life savings at risk and you’re not going to lose more than $5, so you can be risk averse and still play the lottery.” So I was right!]
November 7, 2014. I am getting a bit fat. If I were a president I’d be Taft. If I were a movie star, I’d be Fatty Arbuckle. If I had a nickname it’d be lard-ass. If I had a nickname in Finnish it’d be läski. If I were a woman, I’d be the one who sings before the opera’s over. If I were I painting I’d be a painting by Rubens. If I were a photograph, I’d be a photograph by Leonard Nimoy. If I were a Jewish delicacy I’d be beef fat with paprika stuffed in an intestine, wrapped in chicken skin fried in chicken fat, with jelly donuts on the side. If were a Chinese delicacy I’d be lard wrapped in dough made with lard, deep fried in lard dipped in soy flavored lard. If I were an animal, I’d be a hippo. If I were a sports competition, I’d be “who can eat the most hot dogs in under ten minutes.” If I were an actor from Pretty in Pink who had let himself go in middle age, I’d be James Spader. If I were an Israeli prime minister I’d be Ariel Sharon. If I were a bug I’d be the burrowing cockroach. If I were a rodent, I’d be a capybara. If I were a part of the human body, I’d be a constipated intestine. I tried to go for a run the other day, and my stomach hit me in the forehead and knocked me unconscious.
I guess what I’m saying is – time to lose a little weight.
November 9, 2021
Some things never change.
Image by Pixabay/Pexels
Steven S. Drachman is the author of a science fiction trilogy, The Strange and Astounding Memoirs of Watt O’Hugh the Third, which is available in paperback from your local bookstore, Amazon and Barnes & Noble; it is also available as a Kindle e-book.