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Punch Drunk: Speaking From Beyond Facebook's Grave



Until I read the notice on my Facebook page that I was dead, I had no idea.

The disturbing news arrived a little more than a week ago on a Friday afternoon. At that exact moment I was enjoying some leftover Chinese food and a rerun of “Law & Order,” which seem like things that only those of us among the living would and even could do.

Of course, I’ve never been dead so who am I to say? General Tso’s chicken and Sam Waterston may be all that you do in the afterlife.

The notice, which was inserted above my profile header, read: “Remembering Jack Lauterback. We hope people who love Jack will find comfort in the things others share to remember and celebrate his life. Learn more about memorialized accounts and the legacy contact setting on Facebook.”

Troubling, to say the least.

It’s strange when you find out that you’re dead. I was still so young! At first you’re rightfully upset, thinking of all the things you didn’t do. I never accomplished my goals. I never wrote that novel. I never saw the Eiffel Tower. My seed never even got the chance to be spread! (That I know of.)

It’s jarring. It makes you realize how short life really is.

But after I came to grips with my own, unfortunate passing, I realized how many things I could do now that I was a ghost. Almost all of it involved using my newfound invisibility. Stealing money from banks, causing untold amounts of stress to my still-living enemies, hanging out in women’s locker rooms, etc.

The question that vexed me, though, was whether I was actually invisible. I could still see myself and my clothes, because ghosts can see ghosts. But I imagine that unless you’re some sort of psychic medium, you’d only be able to see my clothes walking around. Think Chevy Chase in “Memoirs of an Invisible Man.” If you haven’t seen that, imagine a pair of pants walking around by themselves. In this case you might also see a slushy cloud of half-digested General Tso’s chicken floating around as well.

So obviously, I did the only thing I could do in this situation — I got naked.

As I strolled around downstairs in the buck, my girlfriend and dog didn’t seem to notice, or if they did, they didn’t blink an eye. I’ll admit that sometimes after returning from the gym, I throw all my laundry into the wash, including the sweaty clothes on my back, and then walk around naked. But usually my girlfriend at least rolls her eyes at my midday nudity. But this time there was nothing.

Was she simply no longer amused by my pale white supermoon anymore, or was I actually invisible? How could I be sure?

I was going to need to find a more impartial eye, and that involved going out on my Fan porch, on our busy Fan street. So as I am wont to do at 4 p.m. on a Friday, I grabbed a beer — still very much as naked as the day I was born — and proceeded to stroll through the house toward the front door. Would the neighbors see me naked on the porch, or would they see only a floating beer can?

“What are you doing?! You can’t go outside like that!”

Ahhh! My girlfriend is not so blind to my nude antics!

“You can see me?”

“What are you talking about? Of course I can see you. Close the f---ing door!”

And this is how we found out that my girlfriend can see dead people. Again, sort of troubling. Although maybe not as troubling as me pretending like I was going to walk out on our front porch completely unclothed.

So I am here to tell you all, especially you, Mom, that the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

“For a brief period today, a message meant for memorialized profiles was mistakenly posted to other accounts. This was a terrible error that we have now fixed. We are very sorry that this happened and we worked as quickly as possible to fix it,” a Facebook spokesman said.

And Mom, I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your frantic text messages. I may have been out at the bars celebrating my second chance at life. S

Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at @jackgoesforth.

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