The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive
 

You missed The Greatest Thing In The World.

You were out of town. You were at dinner with your in-laws. You were looking at paint samples. You thought it was next week. You didn't know about it in the first place. You knew about it, but you didn't care. Or rather, you knew about it, but you didn't care, because you didn't know.

You didn't know it was going to turn into The Greatest Thing In The World.

You didn't know that there was a single-malt and IPA open bar. You didn't know about the chocolate fountain, the petting zoo, the screening room that played "Road House" on a constant loop, or the free bespoke suits.

You didn't know about the Rock-A-Fire Explosion playing "Random Access Memories" top to bottom, even that last track that's, like, 10 minutes of Univac farting.

Maybe if you had known, you would have gone. But you didn't.

It was The Greatest Thing In The World and you missed it.

You missed all of your friends, and all of their friends. You missed the family members you love most talking shit about the family members you hate most.

You missed Celebrity Leg Wrestling. You missed the look of joy on Dave Grohl's face when he flipped Garrison Keillor like a coin. Which was extra impressive, as Keillor is 52 feet tall, but Grohl's good at everything.

And everyone cheered. Everyone applauded. Everyone cheered and applauded so much, that nobody thought to grab their phones and take a picture. And that set a new World Record for the longest anyone's gone without taking a picture of something cool. And then everyone got free Guinness. With the little clover design on top and everything.

And then everyone took pictures. And everyone agreed those pictures were great. Everyone agreed it was The Greatest Thing In The World. And. You. Missed it.

And that was just the main room. In tinier rooms, everyone had conversations with everyone else. Deep, intense conversations that ended in hugs and tears.

Secrets were shared, mysteries were solved, baggage was cast off, and lives were changed. Lives were changed forever, and you're still mad about that kid who gave you a wedgie in 3rd grade.

Then, everyone started having ideas. Committees were formed, white-boards were broken out, concepts were spitballed. And those ideas they had were ideas YOU had a year ago, but were afraid to tell anyone. Everybody had your ideas. VCs were contacted on the spot, and everyone became rich beyond their wildest dreams. Everybody but you, that is.

Because you missed The Greatest Thing In The World.

When did you realize you were missing The Greatest Thing In The World? Did you get a text from a friend with a fuzzy picture of Dave Grohl drinking a Guinness off of a table made of VC money? Did you read about it online, written in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS WITH THE PHRASE OMG USED TEN TIMES A PARAGRAPH?

Did you catch the last 17 seconds of the one-time only stream will never be shown again, anywhere? Did you see the faces of everyone you know, shouting and jumping up and down and high-fiving, because they couldn't believe that they were there? Because it was The Greatest Thing In The World?

Can you believe you missed The Greatest Thing In The World? That's so like you. That's so like you to miss it.

By the time you realized you were missing The Greatest Thing In The World, it was too late. All the flights were $5000, the hotels had no vacancy, AirBnB only had an outhouse in a junkyard, and the rental car place only had PT Cruisers. And you would have stayed in that outhouse.

But that's okay, you tell yourself. It couldn't have been that great. And then you look at the internet again. And then you walk around your apartment. And then you look at the internet again. And then you lie down on your floor, and massage your temples, and swear that you're not going to look at the internet again.

Then you look at the internet again.

Why does this happen to you so often? Why does this happen to you all the time? Why does this happen to you 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Why does The Greatest Thing In The World always seem to happen without you?

Couldn't a thing YOU do be The Greatest Thing In The World, once in a while? You do a lot of things. You go a lot of places. You have a lot of friends. Law of averages would dictate that just once, ONCE, a thing you did would turn out to be The Greatest Thing In The world?

But, of course, it doesn't work like that. And you know it doesn't work like that. You know because you've tried to trigger it. You're out for a beer with friends. You're bowling with your co-workers. You're at your aunt's Seder. And you lift up your drink, you smile, and you say, "You guys! This is The Greatest Thing In The World."

And everyone smiles at you, benignly, like a three year old just looked at a plate of spaghetti and exclaimed "Psghettis!" Everyone then shares a secret, knowing look. And they can read each other's minds, because they developed that skill during the most recent The Greatest Thing In The World.

And they all know they're all thinking the same thing. They're all thinking, "Humor them. Humor that poor rube. They don't know. They don't know what they missed."

But deep down, you know what you missed. You missed The Greatest Thing In The World. But you don't know WHY you missed The Greatest Thing In The World, and you don't know WHY you KEEP missing The Greatest Thing In The World.

But everyone else does.

Everyone else knows it wasn't The Greatest Thing In The World, and you missed it. It was The Greatest Thing In The World because you missed it. Your very presence at any thing makes it Merely A Thing. Your very absence from a thing? Makes it The Greatest Thing In The World.

Let's face it. You're just not The Greatest Thing In The World material. It's okay. It's not something everyone can be. Actually, strike that. It is something everyone can be. Everyone except you.

You just don't have "it." You laugh a little too late and loud. You dress casual formal when it's formal casual, and god help you, vice-versa. You're serious when it's time to be happy, and you break out all of your "Traveling Salesman" jokes when people are talking in whispers about dead relatives.

Why do you do anything? Why do you go anywhere? Why do you not want people to have a good time? Why do you want people to not experience The Greatest Thing In The World? Don't you see the way people look at you?

Don't you know they're probably thinking, "WHEN. When will they leave? When will they leave? Don't they know we've got a The Greatest Thing In The World to start having?"

Can't you read everyone's minds?

Oh. Right. Sorry.

Do everyone a favor. When they invite you to things, don't go. When they invite you to things, it's a formality. You've just been around for so long, that people feel like they have to. It's the only reason why you ever get invited anywhere. Stay home. Stay home and watch the world through a variety of flickering screens, as the walls close in on you.

Or don't do that. Don't do any of that.

Maybe it's true. Maybe you are Kryptonite to The Greatest Thing In The World's Superman. Maybe people invite you to things out of habit. And maybe they don't.

Maybe it's tiring to experience The Greatest Thing In The World day in and day out. Maybe it's nice to just do things. Maybe it's nice to do things with you.

Maybe your friends are happy to sacrifice The Greatest Thing In The World to be with you.

Maybe if you looked at it that way, just once.

Maybe if you lived in the moment. Maybe if you weren't judging every single thing you do against The Greatest Thing In The World, maybe you would realize that everything you do that isn't staying home, watching the world through a variety of flickering screens as the walls close in on you...

Maybe you would realize that everything you do, that isn't that, is The Greatest Thing In The World.

You rube.