Don't believe everything that you read.
During the age of self-promotion on social media, it's important to remember the above-mentioned refrain.
"Only two weeks to go before I start my ascent up Mt. Everest. Wish me luck."
I posted this harmless status update on Facebook. Within seconds, and throughout the rest of the workday, I received well wishes, reminders to be safe and warnings about how dangerous it is to scale the 29,029-foot Himalayan mountain.
Reading comments by relatives calling me a "badass" and friends asking if I was currently at Mount Everest getting "acclimatized," I couldn't help but wonder if my paltry 270 FB followers (I desperately need to boost my profile) actually know the first thing about me.
I hate to wake up early. Ask any one of my colleagues. I stridently believe 8:45 a.m. is the new 8 a.m. On the weekends, don't call me before 10 a.m. My idea of communing with nature is going to Emirates Stadium to watch The Arsenal play soccer. Risk-taking to me means straying from the gluten-free aisle at Whole Foods.
And unless a Sherpa volunteers to schlep a porta-potty up the world's tallest mountain, my temperamental colon and I are not trekking Mount Everest today, tomorrow or in two weeks.
Climbing Mount Everest can cost upwards of $65,000. I'm not about to drop that kind of cash to frostbite my fingers and feet, windburn my face and lips and eat tinned ham, tubed cheese and MREs. If I had $65,000 burning a hole in my pocket, I'd spend it on something useful, like a hair transplant to replace the circular divot growing daily on the top of my head. (If Wayne Rooney can do it -- twice -- why can't I?)
So why did I perpetrate Facebook subterfuge and create an online ruse?
Savvy social media activists have used Facebook to spark a revolution that ousted a brutal dictator like Hosni Mubarak. Anarchists update statuses in code to lure sympathizers to protest G8 Summits. Politicians manipulate Facebook to sucker in supporters. However, when I read my Facebook feed I see posts about kids taking their first poop in the toilet, friends bragging about their marvelous life by revealing travel photos of the places I wish I was rather than at work, and knuckleheads espousing their right-wing values who I then have to de-friend.
Then there are the schmaltzy Facebook posts other writers try to pass off as insightful, philosophical lessons about the craft of writing: "I swim in the sea of my words. I'm a writer." What? Really? These gobbledygook updates activate my GERD, causing my gut to bubble stomach acid up my esophagus, and into my mouth.
Status update: Climb Mount Everest? I wanted to spice up my life. Travel someplace -- anywhere -- outside of Walla Walla, even if just via the Internet. I needed to feel heroic.
Only 10 percent of commenters realized I was taking the piss. One skeptical friend wrote, "I call bullshit. You won't even kiss a girl with a cold sore." (I still insist this is a darn good rule by which to live.)
However, 90 percent were enthralled by my intrepid plan to conquer Mount Everest. "I had no idea you were doing this. Very impressive!" wrote a friend who I ate tacos with over July 4 weekend.
Learning that I was Internet trolling, she messaged, "You kill me. F*ing Facebook. Goes to show you that you can say anything and people will believe you."
Follow Edward M. Weinman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/edwardweinman1