I had a dream that I had learned a friend had died via Facebook, and I wasn’t entirely sure he was dead. I could only see news about his death pop up algorithmically, but it was in this mode where nobody knew if it was real or not, like what happened with Popson on Twitter.
Worse, it was apparently a “meme” to make R.I.P. posts and death posts even if people weren’t dead, and the first person I saw who posted about his death said “I hate this meme but he really is dead.” He was a physicist, and someone had posted on his wall “damn, bro. you was supposed to be the one to solve [some famous theoretical problem]”
The whole thing was disturbing, as early death is. First was the realization that he was really gone, but also, because I’m cancer phobic, I had a deeper fear that the cause was cancer, and I was going back to all the potential causes of cancer I’d been exposed to and worrying, trying, sickly, to find things that might have caused his, whether it had been radiation exposure from his work in the physics center or what.
His parents weren’t saying the cause; it was embarrassing. Maybe it was suicide. Maybe it involved cheating on his wife. John Oliver had a segment about him; he had blood cancer and cheating on his wife had something to do with being a novel treatment for the cancer, at the time it was presented as sweet.
It was a bad dream. I was glad to wake up and discover that he was alive.