Each time you check your Facebook newsfeed, you are confronted with a terrible truth: everyone is having more fun than you. Everyone. Their joie de vivre vastly exceeds your own, renders it mort de vivre by comparison. They are all self-actualized. They are achieving amazing things. They are living the lives they always dreamed of living because they deserve it. They are in a perpetual state of intense, mind shattering bliss that never ends, but only grows. Meanwhile, you sleep on an air mattress, use Starbucks for internet, and your dinner was dinosaur egg oatmeal and 2 day old coffee (no icebergs of mold, so it’s probably safe). Yes, you’ve always suspected your life was a half-life, a shadow of what constitutes the typical human experience, and Facebook has confirmed your worst fears. Compared to your friends, you are a sad pale Gollum, peering out of the darkness at the bright shining multitudes, doomed to eternal loneliness and mediocrity.
What did you do today? Read a snarky Gawker article about Taylor Swift? Walked to the kitchen, remembered you didn’t need anything in the kitchen, and then walked back from the kitchen? Ate the aforementioned dinosaur egg oatmeal? Everyone on Facebook just published their novels, each one a 900 page magnum opus, and they’re all bestsellers, all complex statements about the American Dream, the ontological state of being, and the struggle against societal tyranny. Where’s your book, huh? You should write about walking to the kitchen and then walking back from the kitchen and then playing Temple Run on the iPad in the dark because everyone is desperate to read about the Sad Banal Life of Mid Twenties White Male.
Where did you go today? Besides the kitchen. All your Facebook friends visited Paris, Kenya, and Tokyo, and they’ve posted 14,000 gorgeous photos of their life-changing experiences. They’re all worldly cosmopolitan people now, more cognizant of other cultures and able to speak fluent Cantonese. One of their photos shows them feeding an elephant. An elephant! Today, you fed a dust mite in your sleeping bag your discarded fingernails, and even if you did own an electron microscope capable of photographing it, no one on Facebook would want to see. Subsistence farmers travel more than you; even death row inmates go outside from time to time. Your fantastic voyage consisted of a walk to the kitchen to see the wonders of the broken dishwasher.
How far along are you in your career? Do you even have a job? Everyone on Facebook is a social media director for a prestigious ad agency, racking up six figure salaries, and steadily assembling the components of a stable comfortable life so that as their bodies deteriorate, a trained medical professional will care for their soon-to-be corpses rather than quietly euthanize them. They’re posting statuses about work, posting photos of the new cars they all purchased. They put as much thought into buying a house as you put into whether or not to buy a peppermint long john from 7/11 (‘It’s $1.19, but the iced cheese Danish is $1.29, and the cupcake is $1.65, so how do the good feelings elicited by each pastry correlate with price?’). Their lives are so far ahead, they’re popping out dozens of infants, hundreds of infants, thousands of infants because, unlike you, they have the financial and emotional maturity to care for another living organism. If you reproduced, you would immediately transform into one of the sad desperate children on 16 and Pregnant even though you’re 24.
Where’s your girlfriend/boyfriend/creature into whom you deposit affection? Are you so emotionally stunted you can’t spark a romantic connection or are you simply repulsive? Those are the only two possible explanations. After all, everyone else on Facebook is getting married. To each other. They’re all getting married to each other in an enormous collective marriage, a spectacular worldwide ceremony with fireworks and orgies and helicopters showering the wedding party with liquid chocolate — and the only one not included is you. All of humanity got together and was like, “That guy/girl? He/she’s, um, well, he/she’s more of a friend, and, uh—no, he/she’s nice! But, uh…” and then they awkwardly changed the subject to color palate. They posted photos of the mass wedding to Facebook and everyone on earth was tagged except you. Everyone’s profile picture changed to a wedding photo except yours. Everyone’s relationship status changed to “is married to everyone” except yours. You, meanwhile, ordered 40 dollars of sushi and perused the wedding photos while almost crying, but not quite, but then almost, but not quite. And then you cried.
You look at your newsfeed and your life is a stagnant cesspool full of toxic chemicals and dead fish. Click on photo after photo of parties you weren’t invited to, concerts you didn’t attend, birthdays you didn’t know about, and realize everyone else in the world is having fun except you. ‘But is my life really that terrible,’ you wonder, ‘Or is Facebook some kind of platform for people’s idealized, carefully curated versions of themselves in which they’re talented, successful, hilarious, sophisticated professionals?’
‘No,’ you think, as you click through photos of your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend kissing a much more attractive person than you. ‘I’m just terrible.’