04/30/2014 12:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Copy and Paste This Into Your Timeline


Let me start, Facebook friends, by saying that I truly value each and every one of you. But now is the time to see who is really serious about our friendship and who cares enough to read my status updates all the way through. If you have even one iota of respect for me, please DO NOT SIMPLY SHARE THIS, BUT COPY AND PASTE THE FOLLOWING INTO YOUR OWN STATUS:

  1. A video of exactly three minutes and thirty seconds in length, shot exclusively on a Nokia Lumia 1020 (I will be able to tell the difference), of yourself walking backwards along the perimeter of Walden Pond while reciting Lorenzo's soliloquy "How Sweet the Moonlight Sleeps Upon This Bank" from The Merchant of Venice. You must pace the soliloquy to time out at exactly 3:30. If you recite it too quickly, you will need to do another take. And if you recite it too slowly and it runs over, you will need to keep redoing it until you hit 3:30 exactly. Oh, and memorize it. I don't want to see you looking down at any script pages. Which would be hard to do anyway, since, as mentioned, you will be walking backwards. Once you have completed shooting the video, create the animated opening and closing credits of your choice for it, edit them in iMovie and add them to the beginning and end of your clip. Get ready to upload it to your status update as an attachment but not before you...
  2. Include as text in the body of your status update a three-page paper in standard MLA format (make sure to cite your sources correctly!) comparing the governmental and societal structure of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity with that of Ptolemaic Egypt in 337 BC. In addition, present a contrasting analysis of the arts and culture prevalent at these times, and make sure to faithfully duplicate at least one set of hieroglyphics in your own hand, while providing an accurate translation of the meaning of these ancient symbols as supplied by a tenured professor of ancient history at one of the top ten universities in America as defined by U.S. News & World Report in their online article of September 9, 2013. It goes without saying that you should construct a clear and informative opening statement outlining the intention of your paper and a concise, effective conclusion that supports the legitimacy of your arguments. Spelling, grammar and punctuation will be taken into account when grading.
  3. Once you have faithfully demonstrated your loyalty to me as a friend by accomplishing these tasks and posting them to your wall, you must then make sure to add a comment to my original post in which you write a short treatise (50-100 words should suffice) about the day that we met and what it was like to meet someone as awesome as me and how much I mean to you and how you are only too happy to jump through a gazillion hoops on my behalf and cut and paste a bunch of crap to your timeline because your life has been immeasurably, incalculably altered by being associated with me and you don't care who knows it.

All this is not really a lot to ask when you consider what a fleeting and intangible thing friendship really is. What's that? You say fleeting is the operative word here? Very funny.

More of James Napoli's comedy content for the Web can be found here.