Facebook Follies’ Folly

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facebook-1024x768At this moment, my life’s revue and all the important things that go on all over the world — the things that seemed to matter so much to many of us — just don’t seem so important to me. I’m sure that all those critically important things that make up life’s playhouse will at some point in time be important to me once again. But for now, it just seems that in the prioritization of life’s cabaret it might be that some of the things that I thought were high on that prioritization scale may not be quite so important.

An old friend passed away. I found out about it on a Facebook posting.

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My Personal News

It seems that more and more of the news that is “personally” important to me is posted on Facebook. Announcements of reunions and babies, a friend sailing in the Caribbean, another visiting the Louvre, a buddy’s daily bike ride in Tulsa, a friend’s son starring in “Spiderman” on Broadway, the excitement of a colleague’s job, and my grandbabies.

I delight in all of that. I also relish my friends’ opinions about politics and religion, and their thoughts about the arts and business. It’s a wonderful way to bathe in the beauty of the diversity of opinions and to get in the hearts and minds of those you love and care about. Facebook allows us as friends to share our lives and the lives of others, and to show how the interaction of these lives is important to each of us.

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Old Friends

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(Click to enlarge.)
(Click to enlarge.)

The folly of Facebook allows me to connect with old friends — or at least find out what is going on in the lives of the kids with whom I grew up. As I have aged, I’ve noticed that I have become more nostalgic, especially when it comes to friends from the formative years of my childhood; the people who helped shape my personality . . . those who participated in the nurture side of the nature/nurture debate.

Most of us, who attended South Miami Elementary School in the late ’50s and early ’60s, went our separate ways and have led distinct lives. But during those formative years, we were involved with each other on a daily basis: interactions that helped to shape each of our lives and helped to script our individual destinies.

The Passing of Debbie Rachlin

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Deborah Rachlin

Having someone pass away who “knew me when” makes me confront my own mortality in a very profound way. Many of us have had friends and family die, but this was a little girl from my past, a young lady with whom I shared recess on the playground, a kid that “knew me when.” She knew me when I brought things from home for “show-n-tell,” and when I had to take my dog home from school, and when I had holes in the knees of my pants, and when I picked my nose. She was one who knew me at the time of our lives when we all accepted each other the way we were.

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My sadness from Debbie’s passing comes from the realization of her family’s overwhelming grief. It also comes from the hurt I feel for those old friends who were closest to her: those who knew her so well and are now consumed with grief. And my sadness is partly due to the realization that I am finally grasping what is truly important in life. Maturation and the fate of life’s circumstances tend do that to most of us.

Our Youthful Interactions

The elaborate Facebook Folly is a production that allows us to showcase the unplanned beauty of life and a horror of death, and in part mirrors the randomness, the unpredictability, and the frivolity of our youthful interactions.

At my age, I can confidently say — and can probably speak for many in our school class photo — that the youthful interactions that we had those many years ago made all of us better players on the world stage. These youthful interactions molded who we were and who we have become.

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Those many years ago we were surrounded with friends who helped develop our individual expectations for a wonderful life; for which I thank each for helping enrich and lay a foundation that has afforded me a fantastic life. For that, I am eternally grateful for the friendships and for Debbie’s life; a life that will continue to influence many of us who grew up together and still love each other.

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Bill Asti
Bill Asti (www.AstiArchitect.com) is an architect and an economist in private practice since 1981, as well as author, artist, sculptor, and in younger years, a musician. A member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), he studied under Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Fay Jones, and received his degree in economics from the J. William Fulbright College at the University of Arkansas. Bill created the first U.S. private foundation dedicated to educating about post-industrial, communications-based sustainable communities. Over 30 years ago, he designed the first "Third Wave City of the Future," recognized by the White House. You can read about this in his book, The Chicken Came First.