“Well, look way down the river, what do you think I see?
I see a band of angels and they’re coming after me
Ain’t no grave can hold my body down
There ain’t no grave can hold my body down.” — Johnny Cash

This blog was not composed on a Ouija board. I typed it up at my desk in the cubicle farm, surrounded by colleagues who would notice if I seemed more zombie-like than usual on a rainy October Monday morning.

I am not dead. Facebook tried to kill me over the weekend, but I survived to tell the story. It’s a cautionary tale about the perils of posting rumors on social media and the speed at which actual fake news spreads on the misinformation superhighway.

On Sunday, a faithful reader heard from her sister that I had shed the mortal coil. I was off last week, which added to the sense that something happened, so she posted the news of my passing on Facebook. I’m not going to name her, because she’s a good person who made a bad choice that hurt no one. Also, she said nice things about me. She killed me on Facebook, but I have no hard feelings. She meant no harm, and in the end, the whole thing struck me as funny.

Chrissy and I were sitting down to watch the Steelers when Times-Tribune Staff Writer Jon O’Connell sent me a Facebook message:

“Someone just called the newsroom. There’s a story going around that you died. He was very concerned. Are you still with us?” – Jon
As I began typing a response, he added:  “Your bouncing ellipsis tells me everything.”
Sadly, it’s true,” I wrote. “Please start writing my obituary so you’re not rushed on deadline. Never trust a bouncing ellipsis.”
“No truer words were ever spoken by a dead man,” Jon replied, grave-robbing the last word like any good writer would.
Then the texts and phone calls started. News of my death was spreading via old-fashioned word of mouth. Chrissy’s friends reached out to soothe her grief (and perhaps raise the prospect of an exciting new life waiting for an attractive young widow with sterling credit and a fat life insurance payout to spend).
One of Chrissy’s friends knew the source of the rumor and I reached out to the reader who killed me. She was relieved that I was still breathing and took the post down. She felt terrible, but I have no hard feelings. Like I said, she’s a good person who made a bad choice.
That’s pretty much the story of my life.