How Social Media Works (An Autistic View In Five Simplified Rules)

1. Pick a social group.

Southern Baptist, Republican, Democrat, Evangelical, or a combination of multiple groups (a cross section, like in a Venn Diagram).

People, by nature, seem to exist in groups. You may think of them as tribes, or herds, much like other animals. They do not exist well in isolation, being social creatures. They have formed, over the millennia, multiple long-lived groups, such as Conservatives, Liberals, Christians, Evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Mormons, and countless others. They have further subdivided their groups into categories like American Football fans, NASCAR fans, Basketball fans, car lovers, and foodies. You may pick a group based on where it exists in the list of available groups. It may be a simple group (for example, gender based only). Or it may be a complicated group (white, motorcycle loving, Southern Baptist, defense contractors). The idea is to pick the group you wish to become a member of.

2. Learn the values of that group.

What that group believes is appropriate behavior. What it believes is inappropriate behavior. Politics. Religion. Science. And all the rest.

Learn the rules of the group. What the members of the group believe (political beliefs, religious beliefs). Their perspective on medical science (for example, do vaccines work, or are they harmful), technology (Do they use Apple computers, or Windows computers? Do they use Apple phones, or Samsung phones), transportation (Do they drive trucks, SUVs, or cars? Do they ride motorcycles? Do they use public transportation?), Climate Change (Is it caused by humans, or is it a natural event?) Spend time studying the group to learn what it believes.

3. Behave like any other member of that group.

Once you know the rules of the group, the appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, implement them in your daily existence. If your group prays at each meal, even in restaurants, then you must do that too. If your group is anti-vax, then you must become anti-vax too. If your group believes the sky is clear (transparent), and not blue, then you must believe the sky is clear too.

4. Recruit new members to the group.

Upon finding anyone who is not a member of that group, attempt to entice them into membership.

The group can only survive as a group if it’s membership grows, or at least remains constant. People grow old, and they die. You will need to replace these people, or the group will eventually run out of members. People move, and lose contact with the group. Again, you must replace these people to sustain the group. If the group is to thrive, it must also grow, meaning you must recruit new members at a faster rate than existing members depart the group.

Pretend they are welcome. Pretend you value their perspectives. Pretend you value them. Pretend you like them, and appreciate them, as an individual. Anything to bring them into the group. Once they are in the group, then commence the conversion process, to complete their transition from a heathen non-member to a full, functional member.

5. Maintain group purity.

Upon finding anyone who does not agree with that group, isolate them, and scream at them about how awful they are until they go away. Maintain the purity of the group.

If someone disagrees with the group, clearly they are wrong. You must point out to them how wrong they are. You must relentlessly beat them, verbally, over the head until they admit they are wrong, and change. If they are unable to admit they are wrong and change, you must hound them about their failures, and mistakes, and how wrong their perspectives are until they can no longer stand to be associated with you, and leave you alone, and give up all contact with the group you are a member of.


#ThursThreads Week 351 : I Don’t Know What To Feel

I rang the doorbell. Her husband let me in, then lead me to the Living Room, where she was stretched out on the sofa, with all the lights out. “She needs all the friends she can get,” he whispered. “It’s like everyone she knew has abandoned us.”

I nodded, “I know. Humans. So stupid.”

When I walked into the room, she slowly sat up. I couldn’t help but see the agony in her eyes. I wanted to tell her she could stay where she was. Instead, I wished I could somehow transfer tons of my own energy to her.

“Hi,” was all she said. She pointed at the space on the sofa next to her, and that’s where I sat.

She loved the Valentine’s Day card I’d picked for her, and the chocolate truffles I’d brought. We sat in silence, watched movies, and ate truffles.

I told her, “I don’t know what to feel, sometimes. About people. Should I be sad for them, because of how blind they are? Or should I be angry that they abandoned you?”

“They’re only human,” she smiled.

That evening we picked the next day I’d visit, and we’d watch movies. I visited twice a month, since she’d gotten ill, and her body had trapped her in her home. Not because it was right. But because I wanted to.

That night, I wondered for the millionth time why none of her other friends visited her. “I never will figure out humans, will I?”

248 Words

Happy Valentine’s Day. It’s Week 351 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.


#MenageMonday 2×20 :The Second Part

It was a weekend trip home from school for me. A break from the books, and the studies. That’s when Gabriella called. “Come visit!” Gabby and I had been friends forever. She was the best friend I ever had. So, I jumped at the chance to visit her.

We watched a movie, and had sandwiches, and talked about college. Then, she said, “Now, the second part.” She hopped up, and pulled me to my feet. “Remember the old ski lift.”

“The one they shut down ages ago?” We’d painted our names on the tracks, and walkways there. “Used to hide there, like it was our fort. Our hideout.”

“Let’s go visit it!” She was already dragging me to the door.

The life door was still locked, like it always had been. And like always, Gabriella led me in through the front where the lift cars came out. “Like old times, isn’t it?”

We talked about old times. Painting our names here. Pretending to survive a zombie apocalypse. Then a nuclear war. All great memories of great times with her. Then, out of nowhere, she kissed me. A big kiss. “Wow,” was all I could mumble.

“You like that?” She kissed me again. “Good.” Then, she took off her shirt, and handed it to me. “We’re grown now, not children anymore. We can do a lot more than play games here.”

230 Words

It’s week 2×20 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

Define Different and Unique.

Tell me which of these is truly unique. Truly different. Not the same as the others. Stands out from the crowd. Whatever you want to call it. Go ahead. Tell me these are not the same car having different decorations as distinguishing characteristics. Is a box a box, no mater what stickers you put on it?

2019 Hyundai Kona

2019 Hyundai Kona

2019 Kia Niro

2019 KIA Niro

2019 Nissan Kicks

2019 Nissan Kicks

2019 Honda HR-V

2019 Honda HR-V

2019 Ford Ecosport

2019 Ford Ecosport

2019 Chevy Trax

2019 Chevrolet Trax

2019 Toyota CH-R

2019 Toyota CH-R

2019 Mercedes Benz GLA

2019 Mercedes Benz GLA

2019 BMW X1

2019 BMW X1

2019 VW Tiquan

2019 VW Tiquan

2019 Audi Q3

2019 Audi Q3

2019 Porsche Macan

2019 Porsche Macan

2019 Volvo xc40

2019 Volvo xc40

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/02/03

Axel had been secretive for months as he had a small home built out on his plot of land. He’d bought a couple of acres in the middle of nowhere. “I got a great deal on it. It’s isolated. Just a dirt road leading to it. Nothing for miles and miles.” He told us he was going to build a small home on it. One of those tiny houses, like on TV. But he wanted to make his different. “They’re all the same!”

We spent weeks betting he was having a container dropped on that property, and putting plywood inside. “See? This is different!” We all gave him a hard time about it. Ribbed him endlessly. “Can’t wait to see if it says, TESCO on the side, or EXXON.”

He took it all with humor, even posted a picture of a trash dumpster with a door on it, and a tin pipe coming out the top, with smoke coming out of that, “My dream home?”

I thought for sure he’d park an old bus chassis on that place, and convert it to a tiny kitchen, bedroom, and bath.

We asked him, “Were you getting water? How you getting power? Any plumbing at all?”

“Getting the biggest septic tank they make. And a deep well, a couple hundred feet. Gonna have plenty of water.” He put up a picture of the tank. Kinda ugly, but we went with it. He was showing off.

“Getting solar panels. Making a solar farm for the place.” He had an entire array of the things. Looked like it would power an entire building. And it had an enormous battery. “I got the battery from Tesla! Same kind they use in Australia! I ain’t ever running out of power! Ha!”

We all laughed when he rented a truck on weekends, and bought every brick they had at the Home Depot. Said he was putting in a brick driveway, and sidewalks. Making his own. Spending his weekends in a tent at his place, getting ready.

We all about died when he brought in a picture of the foundation. A square, almost. Rounded corners. No, I mean rounded. Not smoothed off, but still corners. I mean, like someone dropped a big ass circle on the slap, and mowed the corner off. “So. You’re getting a well rounded house. Right?” I mean, what the heck do you put on a slab with no corners?

We were all stunned when he brought in pictures of the steel frame. Yes. Steel. No wood. No 2×4 construction. It was steel. Bright, shiny beams. Every few feet. We looked at the beams, and realized, “Whatever he’s building, it’s gonna be just as tall as it is wide.” The beams echoed the shape of the slab, and were the same dimensions as the slab. “Dude, you could make a concrete square out of that.”

“I know.” All he did was grin. “Y’all don’t have a clue. I’m building the little home I want to build. My getaway place. Where I can go to escape reality.”

At last, the day came. He came in one Friday at work, “You’re invited to the housewarming. It’s ready!” Gave out the address and everything. No one knew how to even get there. I had to look it up on maps on the internet. Place really was in the middle of nowhere, like half an hour from anything, even a trash pickup site, or another house.

I pulled up this afternoon, to visit him at his new place. And I’m telling you. I’ve never seen anything like this. Nope. He wasn’t kidding when he said this was going to be different. I sat in the car, staring for like, what, 20 minutes, before I could get out.

It was a six sided dice. Yep. Like the kind you throw in a Monopoly game. Had a brick sidewalk that led right up to the bottom of the two circles on the front. I got out, walked around the place. Yep. Windows shaped like the circles for the numbers. Two on the front. One on the left.

Axel came out to greet me, “Well. What do you think?”

What else was there to say, “It’s certainly different.”

“Two stories. Square. Just like the real thing, on a million times bigger.” He grinned. Bedroom up top, bath and kitchen on the bottom.”

He gave me the grand tour. It was a house. No, seriously. A house. With three skylights in the ceiling of the bedroom. And a circular door.

“Dude. Looks just like…”

“Yep. Just like I wanted.” He was so proud of his house, “I didn’t want one that looked like every other house in the world. I wanted something different. Something me. Something I can be proud of.”

I gotta admit. When someone asks where he lives, saying, “I live in the Dice house,” is a unique answer. And once you’ve seen it, you know exactly where the Dice house is. There’s really only one of those.

Gotta hand it to Axel. No one saw that house coming. Not one of use guessed what it looked like. A 6 sided dice. Of all things. Take a picture of that thing, and show it to your friends. They’d think it’s a funny looking dice. And try to explain to them it’s a tiny house. Go ahead. Explain that. No one ever believes it.

900 Words (So, I went over…)

It’s week 92 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. The picture this week forced me to begin the years long process of putting a story into words, and bringing a new story to life. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#NYR2019 : Welcome To The New Arctic

When this snow storm started, I could look outside. It was a whiteout. The worst I’d ever seen.

Thing is, it’s never stopped. On the second day I got trapped inside. I opened the front door, and saw a wall of snow. I tried to push through it, but it was useless. It was seven or more feet deep, everywhere. And it was still snowing. The windows showed nothing but snow, packed in around the house, on all sides.

At that point, at least the electricity still worked. I had heat. “Man, this is one hell of a snow storm. I’m gonna have lots of stories to tell people on the networks. Those down in Australia, where it’s like bathing in lava right now, are going to never believe this.”

One of the first things I lost was time. There is no sun. No daylight. I don’t know how many days I’ve been here. I don’t know how long I sleep, how long I’m awake. I remember the news, “The snow storm continues. It’s now the worst in recorded history, by far.” They estimated forty feet, and it was still snowing.

I knew things were bad when I saw icicles hanging from the Living Room window. I’d never seen icicles inside a house before. Now, half the living room is packed with ice, where the windows and wall couldn’t keep it out.

At least I can get some light, and I’ve been able to write in this journal. People used to think I was silly, because I had six packs of batteries, forty batteries to a pack. At least I get a tiny bit of light. I’m betting most people don’t. I wonder too, how many people have already frozen. “Must be a lot. But they won’t stink. Be like frozen food. They won’t rot.”

Back when this started, I went to the attic, to see if I could see anything. The attic fan on the roof? It was packed with snow. The snow was deeper than my house was tall. “That can’t be a good thing.”

The news went out with the power. I can run my phone, but it’s useless. No one to call. No internet. No TV. No radio. Nothing.

Then there was the science show, out of Canada in those first couple days, when we still had power. They said it was the end of the world we all knew. Had some scientist no one ever heard of on the program, talking about how the north pole was shifting, right before our eyes. All because we’d weakened the air currents by warming the air with carbon from oil, and coal.

They had a map with the north pole over the Ontario and Manitoba province line. About sixty miles from the US and Canada border. “This is not magnetic north, or geological north. But, it’s where the climate patterns are shifting.”

I have no idea if it’s still snowing or not. I don’t think anyone knows. If it is, I figure it’s a good hundred feet deep now. Probably deeper. The last time I checked the front door, the snow outside had turned to solid ice. Yeah. There’s a sheet of ice outside my house that’s at least 7 feet thick. At least.

I’m not going to make it. I know that. I’m living on melted ice I chip from the door each day, stale hot dog buns, and jelly beans. I already ate everything else. The attic beams are visibly sagging. I figure, sooner or later, my house is going to get mushed by the weight of it all. And I wonder, will I be alive to experience that, or will I have frozen into a human Popsicle by then. Or will I starve to death when I run out of food. I’m betting on the last one. It’s not like Amazon and Walmart deliver in this kind of weather, you know.

And I wish I could tell all my Christian friends what hell really is. It’s not fire, and smoke, and brimstone, and pitchforks. That would be nice, really. Hell is when you freeze your ya-ya off forever, and wish you could die, and get it over with.

I sure hope it’s warm in the after life. ‘Cause I’m friggin’ tired of the cold.

718 Words

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Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/01/27

It was a strange planet, unique in my experience as an observer. I couldn’t help but wonder what evolutionary path its life forms had followed to cause it to become what it was. There was no diversity, at least not in the way diversity is normally defined. There were no separate species, no separate life forms.

Yes, there were creatures that lived under the oceans. Creatures that flew in the skies. Creatures that lived on the ground, and in the ground. What was unique was they were all derivatives of the same species.

At first, we didn’t know what we were observing. I remember the first images from the drones, flying over barren ground. There were two of them in one image. Sticking out of the ground, buried from the waist down, watching the drones. We circled them, they kept watching. We moved one drone closer, they ducked back into the ground. Like worms, or voles, as if in the ground was their home.

At first, the avian forms avoided us. We realized they could hear the drones, and they fled, staying out of sight of the cameras. It wasn’t until we set the drones on the tops of forest canopies that we saw the first of the avians.

They were strikingly similar to the creatures we’d seen in the barrens. Bipedal, with two arms, two legs, a torso, and a head. From the size of the head, we knew they possessed large brains. But, where the ones on the barren had been in ground dwellers, these were avians, living in trees, and flying. They had wings.

We found fish too. Again, bipedal, hominid type creatures. We armed the drones, had them take tissue samples of all the creatures. They were all the same. Genetically, they were all variants of one proginater. They all came from one life form.

An entire world, a vast ecosystem, a complete biosphere. And only one dominate life form. A single life form that filled all the ecological niches.

We knew we’d never figure out what was happening on that world without putting bases down. It took decades, of course, but we did get our bases. Then, it took decades of observation. And decades of learning to survive on that world. But we figured out what had happened.

Each of the bipedal beings, we learned, was part of a single life form. A macro life form. One that lived as a symbiant with the planet itself. The planet provided the sustenance the life form needed. The life form helped the planet’s biosphere maintain its balance.

With time, we did archaeological research on the strange world. What we learned was shocking. We learned that world had once been like so many others. Filled with millions of life forms, from all kinds of branches of a genetic tree.

But, we learned too, the surviving life form, when it first appeared on the planet, grew, like a virus. It spread across all the land. Where it spread, it killed everything. What happened next was unique across all the worlds we’ve ever studied.

When they destroyed their biosphere, and were inevitably going to die, they learned to make food from raw materials. They learned to manufacture what they needed. Until that time, they’d been separate life forms, with limited ability to cooperate, and no ability to work for the good of the whole.

Faced with their own destruction, they changed.

It’s the only world we’ve ever found where life started as chemical soup. Then formed single cell organisms. Those organisms evolved into colonies of cells, and those colonies became complex life forms. The deviation was when a single complex life form began to evolve the same way. Into colonies of life forms. And those colonies grew and became complex. The original complex beings became like cells in a complex life form. They became specialized.

When we realized what had happened, we rapidly learned the purposes of each of the different branches of the bipedal life form tree. We’ve identified the digestive system, the reproductive system, the lungs, the circulatory system. It’s one planet sized life form.

It will take centuries for us to figure out how to talk with it, how to understand it.

It is the only such life we have ever found.

715 words

It’s week 91 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. The picture this week forced me to begin the years long process of putting a story into words, and bringing a new story to life. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.