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story.lead_photo.caption Brenda Looper

Yet again, I find myself at a loss.

It's been a little more than four months since I started working remotely, and I've gone into the office only twice since then, both times for 30 minutes or less. I mean, why stick around when there are so few people in the office? Isn't the camaraderie one of the reasons many of us enjoy our work? We still joke around on our virtual workspace, but it's not the same when you can't see facial expressions or actually hear the snort-laughing when someone says something especially funny.

Sure, we could get together on Zoom, but c'mon. We don't do meetings in opinion unless absolutely necessary. Plus, I'd have to reopen the shutter on my webcam, clean, and put on normal clothes, and that's just not happening.

I, the hard-core introvert, became so starved for interaction that I signed up for Facebook (!!!!) last week after refusing to do so for years. Of course, staying true to myself, my privacy settings are pretty strict, and those I talk to the most are people I've known for a long while, many of whom are current or former co-workers.

Let it not be said that I stepped out of my painfully shy bubble. I don't even want to put shoes on anymore, and you want me to step outside?

There have been good things about my decision to join Facebook: I've talked to two of my brothers much more than usual, and it's almost like we're sitting next to each other and having a laugh. I've gotten back in touch with a friend who was once in my gaming guild, and I've found out his taste in music is pretty damn good. I've been talking a lot to one of my best friends and a former co-worker who is now retired in another state, and reminiscing about the April Fools' and other shenanigans we got up to when she was here. I'm back in contact with far-flung relatives, friends and professors and am seeing pictures of kids that have grown so much since I last saw them.

The bad: I can't for the life of me figure out how to link my blog to my account, because my at-worst PG-rated blog has, just as have many others (without even being viewed because it won't accept the URL) been deemed inappropriate and abusive. I keep getting friend requests from what appear to me to be accounts set up to harass people with whom one might disagree.

But worse, politics has so infected the discourse that it's hard sometimes to go through my news feed without having to mute several entries. It drives me nuts (OK, further nuts) to see hyperpartisanship among people I love and respect, and it enrages me when I see posts that repeat things that have been debunked many, many times.

No, Nikita Khrushchev doesn't appear to have said anything about feeding Americans "small doses of socialism" until they were living under communism without realizing it, or to have shared a list of eight levels of control to create a socialist state. According to the Reuters Fact Check team: "On Sept. 18, 1959, Khrushchev addressed the UN General Assembly. An unofficial transcript of this speech by The New York Times shows no evidence Khrushchev made the remarks attributed to him on social media. In the address, Khrushchev called for a gradual disarmament and an end to the Cold War. Nowhere does he outline a plan to introduce socialism to the U.S. by a piecemeal strategy."

Additionally, Reuters found that the social media post, which had the UN visit as two days after he left the United States, also conflated multiple UN visits, most notably his banging a shoe on a podium, which happened in October 1960, not September 1959.

No, the media is likely not ignoring (insert story here). A lot of things happen every day, everywhere, and it's impossible to cover everything. Not every story will make the national news, and a lot of it even on the local level depends on what else is going on at the time, the uniqueness of the story and the overall expected impact. Most stories are covered locally, and some of those are picked up by national outlets. In the current atmosphere, with so many news outlets closing or struggling to survive, it's folly to expect superhuman feats such as covering every story on the planet. Our news reporters are pretty amazing, but they can't do it all.

There were other false claims I saw, but for the sake of my sanity (thin as it is at times), I won't go into them. I just ask that you please remember to verify something before you post it (or hey, before you write it in a letter to the editor) so that friends and family don't have to risk fracturing relationships by correcting you.

Can you imagine the next family reunion? Yeesh ...

There have been other bright spots, though, snarky as they may be (and I'm a big fan of snark). I could believe the meme saying the coin shortage is due to people tossing all their coins into fountains and wishing wells, wishing for 2020 to be over. I think this year has already lasted a couple of years, and I'm ready for it to go away.

Plus, I got to read a post from the youngest of my brothers over the weekend that started with "I know I am not a smart man."

The first step is admitting it, Bubba.


Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Read her blog at Email her at


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