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SALUTATIONS FROM YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD CHATBOX by Donny Levit and ChatGPT

ChatGPT provides best practices for living in Maplewood and South Orange


A mere six months ago, the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT (generative pre-trained transformers) was introduced to the general public. By January 2023, the program already had 100 million users, becoming the fastest growing consumer internet app ever. With a simple text prompt or question, ChatGPT attempts to mimic natural writing and conversational tone.


Living in South Orange and Maplewood can have its unique set of challenges, so we invited ChatGPT to address our hyperlocal mailbag of questions.


Donny Levit is a writer and radio DJ who may or may not have written this sentence.


Q: I miss having lawn signs in front of my house, ChatGPT. There are no current competitive elections for me to support a particular candidate. What subject matter would you suggest to engage my neighbors with healthy debate? Are there any concerns I should have about displaying certain kinds of messages? Also, how can I get my kids involved? – Harper, South Orange.


A: Hello, Harper. Based on our research, it is not uncommon to see lawn signs displayed in the towns of Maplewood and South Orange. Since these two towns are known for being politically active and socially conscious, lawn signs expressing points of view are commonly on display during the entire year.


As a parent, you may have strong opinions on how schools should be run. For example, you may be passionate about curriculum, transportation, and infrastructure.


It is possible that a neighbor may approach you and express their dislike of your sign. They may ask you to take it down or move it to a different location. If you want to avoid potential conflicts with your neighbors, one possible solution is to have your new sign designed by your child or children. The neighbor may be less likely to complain or steal the sign if they see it written in adorable children’s handwriting. The other benefit is that the neighbor may not want to risk being caught on your Ring alarm and having that image of stealing a child’s sign posted on various local social media outlets. Please note: some may consider this to be a passive-aggressive tactic. Good luck!


Q: I just adopted a new puppy and I can’t wait to take her for walks. I’m a big fan of “Stranger Things” so I named her Eleven. I think she’s so cute. I’ve never had a dog before, so I was wondering if you could give me any suggestions. – Dr. Brenner, Maplewood.


A: Congratulations on your new puppy, Dr. Brenner! Here are some best practices that may help ensure a healthy life as a pet owner as well as a citizen of an active pet community in South Orange and Maplewood.


When you first start taking Eleven for walks, it’s important to start with short walks and gradually increase the distance and duration over time.


Even if a dog is well-trained, do keep her on a leash when you’re out in public. While you may think your dog would never do so, the two towns have recorded multiple dog attacks in the recent past.

It is recommended that you carry more than one poop bag. Also, avoid having your dog poop on your neighbor’s lawn. Avoid having a dog relieve itself on baby trees. Telephone poles are acceptable, and what is more iconic than seeing a dog relieve itself on a hydrant?


Oftentimes, your dog will want to greet another dog who passes by on the street. While the dog may be friendly, sometimes the dog owner may not be so welcoming to the salutation. The sociology of dog owners is a very complicated subject, so it will take time to understand the signals given out by an owner. Remember, sometimes the dog’s human struggles with their own behavioral issues so we must do our best to remain patient.


It is a good practice to carry treats to offer to the humans. However, if you choose to offer treats, be gentle, avoid quick motions, and ask the human about their dietary restrictions and allergies.


Q: My 9-year-old daughter is obsessed with Star Wars. The other day, she asked me if Darth Vader were alive today, would he prefer Maplewood or South Orange? I have been doing research, but can’t seem to come up with a good answer. Can you help? – Anakin (ha ha that’s not my real name), Maplewood.


A: As Darth Vader is a fictional character from the “Star Wars” franchise and is not an actual person, it would not be possible for him to have a preference for either Maplewood or South Orange. Additionally, Darth Vader is a villainous character in Star Wars, known for his evil deeds, so it is unlikely that he would be interested in living in either of these towns.


It’s also worth noting, Anakin (ha ha that’s not my real name), that Darth Vader is a character from a science fiction movie and it is not possible for him to be alive in Essex County today, as his story takes place in a galaxy far, far away.


As a villainous character, Darth Vader is not likely to be open to learning or changing his ways, but if he were to visit Maplewood and South Orange, he could learn about the different cultures, backgrounds, and way of living of the communities there. Both towns are known for their diversity and community spirit, and it would be an opportunity for Darth Vader to learn about different perspectives.


Here is a recommendation: pose this question to current South Orange Village President Sheena Collum and current Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis as they may provide a unique perspective as to best practices to destroy the Death Star.

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