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AMEND CORNER: Adventures in Facebook can be baloney

I’m not much of a Facebook fan.

Facebook, in case you don’t know, is a website that allows you to create a webpage for yourself. You then use that page to befriend all your relatives, even those you don’t like, your friends, and, if you like, people you don’t know and are unlikely ever to meet.

After you make all those friends, you can wish them happy birthday and send them pictures of your kids, your dinner, or the socks you just bought. You can also pass along stuff you think they need to know, make them laugh, or influence their vote.

I have never established a Facebook page, but my wife has one that I take a peek at now and then, because sometimes our son and daughter post pictures of our grandkids or cute things they have said or done. We also exchange news items now and then.

Last weekend two items in particular caught my eye. They don’t have any connection whatsoever to each other, but they did provide inspiration for this essay.

Our son, Joshua, who shares my political leanings, offered me evidence that conspiracy theorists never rest, which led me to do some research on a new one. It comes from Texas, which doesn’t surprise me.

Recently, without warning, Walmart closed five stores in Texas, Florida, California and Oklahoma, explaining that they have plumbing problems that might take six months to fix.

Now, it’s a bit hard to swallow the idea that five widely scattered Walmarts out of the 4,000 plus Walmarts in the U.S. would all at once have the same problem. And even though it is sometimes difficult to find a plumber, it’s hard to imagine a plumbing problem would take six months to fix, especially in a building that’s essentially a big box. Well, I honestly don’t believe Walmart’s explanation, but then, I don’t believe a lot of stuff Walmart tells us. In this case, a bit of quick research told me that a few business analysts have warned that Walmart may have too many stores, some of which are under-performing. That might well account for the closings.

Professional Obama haters and anti-government types, though, believe these closings are part of a plot. They believe the Feds seized the stores and are converting them into marshaling stations and prisoner-of-war facilities to be used during President Obama’s long predicted declaration of martial law and seizure of dictatorial power.

As proof, these watchdogs point to a large military training exercise in unconventional warfare involving Navy SEALS, Green Berets and other special operations forces and scheduled to take place for several weeks in several southwestern states. In addition, they claim Muslim extremists have established a base near El Paso, Texas, and will stage an uprising to provide any reason for President Obama to declare martial law.

As proof, these crazies cite the arrival of a horde of helicopters and tanks at a Texas Walmart. Some claim to have seen this invasion, although, oddly, no one whipped out a cell phone to provide video proof. They also cite a lengthy letter from an anonymous Texas Ranger describing preparations for this caper, although they haven’t verified his claims because he told them not to.

A lot of these goofy scenarios involving President Obama have come along, but not one of them has actually come to pass, which I think indicates that this one is pure baloney, too. Yet there are those who do worry, including the governor of Texas who has directed the Texas Guard to keep an eye on all those Feds just in case his state has to resist the takeover.

My son posted this with an insulting comment, of course, because he thinks it is as dumb as I do. Still, one of the negative things about Facebook is that similar nonsense can be sent out easily.

Which brings me to our daughter’s post, which was much nicer.

Mattaea, our granddaughter, who is almost done with second grade and is taking this business of growing up quite seriously, was studying a picture of herself as an infant sleeping on her father’s chest. It is contained in a polished metal frame decorated with a single sculpted word, “Miracle.”

“Why does it say miracle?” she wanted to know.

“Because you are my miracle,” her mother Erica replied.

“Are you sure it doesn’t say that because I’m sleeping?” Mattaea asked seriously. “You know I cried a lot and never slept.”

Now, I’m her grandpa, and may be exaggerating this little lady’s virtues, but I think her statement comes from a keen sense of herself as well as a healthy awareness of how she affects those around her. I don’t know that it shows she is unique among others her age in this regard, but I think a conversation with her can teach her grandpa a thing or two about life.

So there you have it, two bits of information received from Facebook. Only the second one reflects a thoughtful look at the world, though, and I would say that even if that little lady weren’t my granddaughter.

Unlike that imagined conspiracy, that little girl’s statement isn’t baloney.

She did cry a lot.

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