A BIRTHDAY TALE.
It is 2013. In the United States of America.
He wakes up at 8:30am. He gets out of bed, stretches, and pads to the kitchen. He fills the cat’s bowl with food and makes himself a large glass of chocolate milk – it’s his birthday, after all.
He sits down at the table and opens up the computer. After checking his email and the news, he types in that most popular combination of letters and presses “Enter.” His screen becomes a mosaic of blue and white, with colorful pictures spread throughout. Here’s his cousin at her bachelorette party. Here’s his co-worker at Coney Island. Here’s a Buzzfeed article from that annoying guy that he hates talking to. And there, in the upper-right hand corner, is the World. And it’s lit up.
His breath catches in his throat. There’s a tiny red number there – 1. He had expected something larger. He licks his lips nervously. His fingers twitch as they drum the keyboard. Slowly and carefully, his thumb moves across the touchpad and he clicks.
The World reveals more information, but he only looks at the number of people. The rest is irrelevant. He knows what the rest says. He clicks again, bringing up a picture of him on vacation in front of a picture of a pretty sunset he once saw. He scrolls down, past the personal information, to the messages beneath. There they are. In gleaming black and white, each underneath their sender’s name.
There are so many. And it’s only 8:30 in the morning.
He smiles. He has passed the Test of Self-Worth set down in those sacred Laws of Social Media. He is now free to go about his day (and, truly, his year) secure in himself and his worldly offerings. Oh, the disappointment and shame that would accompany anything less than exemplary display of cyber affection witnessed this morn… He is free from that torment for at least another year.
He shuts his computer and takes a swig of chocolate milk. It’s gonna be a good day.