Facebook killed James Nghiem

Indulging in narcissism and being “emo as fuck” are the glues that hold my day together, so when Facebook informed me I was dead on Friday, it was less than Earth shattering.

I Googled my name, hoping to find an old obituary about a man with my face who had passed away decades ago, which would have prompted me to say cinematically, “What’s going on? What’s happening to me?” I laughed at this premise.

For the remainder of the day, whenever co-workers would speak to me, I’d look over my shoulder to check if they weren’t, in fact, talking to someone else, lest I’d been caught in a real-life M. Night Shyamalan plot device where I’d been a ghost the whole time.

Then, after I let the shock and grief of my own passing wash over me, I began to feel invincible and angry. I could become a vengeful spirit, I thought. I could stop muggers in the streets. I could look villainy in its eyes and say, “You can’t hurt me. I’m already dead.”

I’d be a badass. I’d be a hero.

Delving deeper into the situation, however, I discovered that Facebook had declared a lot of my friends to be dead as well. It was a glitch sweeping the world. It was a goof. A flub.

‘Hope is uncertain as well’

Or was it?

Maybe Mark Zuckerberg was tired of our shit, I thought. Maybe after all the post-election anxiety, all the hate and all the discord, he looked down at the code he had created, and with the resolve of a social media deity, said “You guys like fighting with each other so much, what if half of you were dead?”

What if Facebook was just trying to splash some cold water on the world? Do you hate your racist grandfather right now? Do you hate your entitled grandson? What if they were dead? I bet you’d feel really silly being so mad if they were dead right now, Zuckerberg was likely admonishing to no one in particular.

This has all been hypothetical hyperbole. The truth is, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re very much alive, and that can be even more frightening.

Life brings with it uncertainty and turmoil. Death brings finality and peace, at least to the deceased. But uncertainty isn’t always a bad thing. Hope is uncertain as well, and there aren’t many things more beautiful than hope.

So if you woke up this morning alive, then act like it. Whatever is going on the world, don’t despair. Don’t give up. Just breathe in turmoil and exhale hope.