10. Pandora— Weaving through five bands that sort of — at least according to their “team of musician-analysts […] studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every track” — sound like that one band you mildly like, you wonder is this supposed Music Genome Project® is not just paid advertising by record companies in disguise; or, your taste in music simply needs an upgrade from your college radio or “alternative” days. Punk died when you burnt your tongue on Starbucks. Now someone with a $240 dollar disheveled haircut whimpers into the mic about some bad relationship while you click the thumbs down icon for more edgy-looking but not edgy-sounding crap.
9. Ethnic food menu .pdf — You put on grey sweatpants this rainy morning. It is now 3:12 p.m. and you’ve only eaten cereal all day. You are not in any physical or emotional condition to deal with society. You are depressed, nauseous, and feeling somewhat self-destructive. You imagine yourself 30 lbs. heavier, and that is okay. It is time for Chinese, Thai, or — should you truly want to “take this mother down” — Indian takeout. Best of luck to your toilet. You squint at the amateurishly designed .pdf in your browser, using the “grab hand” to hold on to what remains of your pathetic life.
8. Gmail Inbox (1) — That magical “(1)” offers so much hope, the parenthetical bliss of possibility. Maybe it’s someone for whom you are smitten emailing you about a party, or better, the elusive logistics of an imminent date. Or maybe it’s a sudden job offer from a resume you sent four months ago, or a long lost lover with whom you’ve been out of touch, wanting you back. You click on the tab that displays such hope, a breath held inside your puttering heart. It’s your mom. She just forwarded you some spam which she thinks is real. Do not eat sushi or worms will eat your brain. Thanks, mom.
7. YouTube — True, you start off looking at clips which make you feel good, i.e. “cute kittens,” “fat people falling,” “girlfriend pranks,” but two and a half hours later you’re looking at an 11-year-old kid with a gravely undiagnosed personality disorder from Germany looking into the webcam at you for 6:52 minutes with 37 views from 2006, and you looking at him in a k-hole’d haze, your respective gazes forever six years apart, trying to find something in each other, the retina and video cam merging into the same point of isolation, but nothing.
6. Your own website — Idly clicking throughout one’s own website is like picking on a scab. It feels so familiar, the self-managed pain almost good. You imagine yourself as someone visiting your website and oddly feel bad for them. In need of not just affirmation, but its confirmation, you excitedly check out your traffic stats. 52 people visited your site yesterday, down 13.17%, staying an average of 0:04:33 (eerily John Cagean, their silence stunning). What is wrong with these people? And why are they mostly from Ohio? You imagine flying to Ohio for a 53-person mass suicide.
5. Google Images — Welcome to the portal to hell, divided into three rings: Safe search strict, moderate (recommended), or off. Each ring of hell offers its own grotesqueness, the “democratic” curation ceaselessly toggling for the No. 1 slot. Herein is not kitsch, or any sentient ironic consciousness; no, it is simply the visual abridgement of what humans have been doing on earth, how we’ve made it into a tacky low resolution hell. Search “asian” and a slimy octopus asphyxiates a young Japanese woman; search “oil painting” for a stream of horrible ones, of streams coming from mountains yonder, done by grandmothers; search “corn dog” to be met with a million corn dogs, and the further option to click “big corn dog,” which you do, on safe search off, regretfully.
4. Overstock.com — When you woke up this morning, you didn’t think you needed a Bear Mountain 100 sq. ft. 4-window cabin tent at only
$298.00 $160.70. You don’t even enjoy camping, yet your eye keeps wandering to the “add to cart” button, conspicuously shaped similarly to the anti-anxiety pill you need to take. The shipping is free, and it arrives tomorrow. But you think of your credit card debt, your therapy sessions regarding this very addiction, and quickly leave the site. You feel proud more a moment, then bad again. Life now seems a little less realized without such an amazing tent. All the deers and waterfalls you will never see. The bear who will never maul you and relieve you from this life.
3. Porn — An extremely well-endowed man with a rather taut vas deferens (this will be evident soon) in an opulent apartment with a balcony view of what seems to be Miami passionately directs his volition inside an extremely verbal and noisy woman’s agape orifice, quickly inducing neuro-physiological multiple responses in her which you could never do, still your hand works furiously over your obsolete gland every morning before work, to honor the Proustian volumes of narrative — scene by scene, over the course of two decades — that you’ve collected, for the ultimate secret anthology of your self-perpetuating loneliness and emotional alienation, so acute that when someone smiles you look away. You clean up your business, send your computer to sleep, and face the faceless day.
2. Sent folder — Herein lies all the emotionally vulnerable emails you sent to failed romances to which have not received a response (though part of you still waits), emails composed in bed and impulsively sent around 1:45 a.m., you probably naked and perhaps lying in the residual matter of No. 3 on this list. You look at each person’s name, the lovely syllables a tiny pang in your heart, of regret, of embarrassment, or a good lay at least (if you were so lucky). You click on one and read it, cringe at the word “love,” and suddenly feel like forwarding it to the unresponsive recipient, along with fresh desperate material explaining yourself — that it wasn’t love, just a fidgety heart, a final imposter in a place now graciously empty. You think I will die alone and dumb ass hoes simultaneously, and close the laptop like a finished book.
1. Facebook — Someone who you met once two years ago in a hotel lobby — you both had the social hernia of “iPhones out,” and decided to friend each other that moment — took seven photos of their sandwich, and their alleged bff from high school, who kind of exactly looks like your friend, commented “yay,” and she, the uploader of her sandwich, your friend (technically), liked the yay comment within 20 seconds, offering a comment of her own: ha, which the yay composer in turn liked (among other strangers whose profiles you laboriously checked out, as it seemed critical at that moment). Now the aunt with the insane sweater gets involved. She mentions something about how the sandwich eater didn’t like mustard, at least when she was a kid, due to something about a negligent step-father or raccoon attack, which incurs its own mini-narrative of comments and likes. You will now remember this information forever. No matter how much you try to forget, it is inside your brain. Good bye.