I spent last Sunday afternoon as I try to spend most of my afternoons, staring at Twitter and waiting for something to make me angry.
It didn’t take long. Between people talking about football and the Golden Globes, I went from zero to “Peter Finch screaming out the window in NETWORK” in the time it would take to close my computer and do literally anything else. But of course, that’s not an option, because of course, recent legislation has made it illegal to not stare at Twitter. Thanks for nothing, Trilateral Commission. (And stop looking so smug, Lizard People, I know you’re mixed up in this as well.)
At first, I tried to fight this onslaught of people discussing things I don’t care about with my usual wit and panache. I tweeted “Oh, is there a sportsball match occurring?” And, “Oh, is there some sort of self-congratulatory entertainment industry ceremony occurring?” And my pièce de résistance, “Oh, are there people discussing things I don’t care about occurring?”
You’d think this would be enough to straighten out the 485 people I follow. You’d think each and every one of them would take a long, hard look at themselves. You’d think that they’d look up from their screens for just a minute, and visualize how deeply they’d wronged me personally.
I clicked over to my @ replies, and waited for the apologies to roll in.
Because all 485 of these people are my close, personal friends, I expected responses like, “@joshacagan I’m sorry I deeply wronged you personally. Aren’t spicy Thai noodles delicious? Let’s talk about that.”
Or maybe, “@joshacagan 1000 apologies. I am a terrible friend. How great is Ann-Margret in VIVA LAS VEGAS?”
Or even “@joshacagan SHUT UP ABOUT THE LIZARD PEOPLE YOU’LL BLOW OUR COVER, but also football is dumb but “Celebration Rock” kills it, amirite?”
Imagine my disappointment when exactly none of this transpired. Go on, imagine it. Imagine me sitting in the middle of a fallow field, a flat Rolling Rock in one hand, and a deflated grey balloon in the other while Cowboy Junkies’ “The Trinity Sessions” plays in the background.
Now imagine while this is happening, my dog and my wife are waving to me from a Greyhound bus that’s slowly pulling away, and its destination is The International IPA And Discussing How “Celebration Rock” Kills It Symposium, and I can’t go because the organization's executive board took a vote and decided that I was, and I quote, “For stupids.”
And now imagine while that is happening, my mother is telling me that she never loved me, and she has a surprisingly long paper trail of notarized documents that back up her claims.
Imagine all of that, and that would approximately add up to 0.000000000000001% of the CRUSHING DISAPPOINTMENT I FELT when my 485 best friends on the planet didn’t literally shit themselves in an apoplectic fit of apologizing to me for talking about stupid stuff that makes them happy or whatever.
I exaggerate, of course. All 485 of my closer-to-me-than-my-own-blood-relative friends weren’t talking about football or the Golden Globes. It was more like 280. 280 of the worst people I ever had the displeasure of knowing, if I’m being perfectly honest. Which I am, because I’m simply too handsome to lie.
It took some time on my part, but I unfollowed all 280 of those loathsome, horrible people. And not only did I unfollow them, but I also sent them each a tweet outlining why and how they had wronged me. Even while dealing them this crushing blow, I thought I handled it with a feather-light touch and good will.
“@_______ HEY SUCKY, YOU SUCK, FOOTBALL SUCKS, AWARD SHOWS SUCK, AND YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE SUCKS, YOU BOOO #BOOO #SUCKYTHINGS @MIDNIGHT”
And then I blocked them. And then I asked some friends in the Bay Area if they could make their 280 respective online devices shock them if they attempted to log into Twitter, and they told me that they would get to it as soon as they figured out how to make a dongle that wirelessly connected their Aeropresses to their Nests.
This left me following 205 people. 205 of the finest people in the history of everything. 205 solid, upstanding citizens, whose purity of soul and heart would be sung of by choirs of angelic children for millennia to come. 205 people I knew would lay down their lives for me at a moment’s notice. Not that it would come to that. Anytime soon. Probably. Hopefully they had their affairs in order.
And there we were. Existing in a blissful paradise of me staring at the brilliant things they tweeted, and them not tweeting things that pissed me off.
And then, some jerk had to screw it all up. I forget which Some Jerk it was specifically, but besides that, my memory of the moment was crystal clear: I was doing a vague, hazy thing, and then another thing, and then some other stuff. Then a tweet thing happened on my computer screen that was also maybe my phone and/or my AeroNest:
“I am excited about the next episode of ‘Downton Abbey’.”
WHAT THE FUCK WAS THIS SHIT? Didn’t they KNOW I don’t watch “Downton Abbey”? I don’t even know what those words MEAN! I am so willfully ignorant of those two words, I had to have my wife type them for me just now, because my hands didn’t even know how to hit the appropriate keys to write them! The NERVE!
So I sent them a tweet RE: Their Suckitude, unfollowed them, blocked them, and contacted my team of lawyers to discuss my options going forward.
I thought by extracting this one stray, lingering jerkmouth, my remaining 204 glimmering beacons of pure light wrapped tenderly in human skins would walk the righteous path, and have the good sense to tweet non-non-me related things. But as a single grain of sand destroyed an entire city in a proverb I just made up, so it went with the remaining people I followed.
One by one, each of these people, people I was proud to call “That dude I met at a con I think,” and, “Her with the avatar of her wearing a hat,” failed me. It was like an Agatha Christie novel, only with people being stupid assholes instead of getting murdered.
One person had the unmitigated gall to complain that it was cold where they were. Try again, donkus! It’s nice out where I am, why don’t you tell me how happy you are for me? UNFOLLOW. BLOCK.
What’s that? A picture of your pet? When you could easily post a picture of my pet from the thousands my wife and I have posted in the last week? UNFOLLOW. BLOCK.
What’s that, a picture of MY pet posted by my wife that I didn’t take? UNFOLLOW. BLOCK. FORCED BY HER TO SLEEP ON COUCH. APOLOGIZE PROFUSELY. CRY IN A DEEPLY UNMASCULINE FASHION. BEG FORGIVENESS. GET IT GRUDGINGLY. STILL BLOCK.
By now, my feed was pretty thinned out. In that it was just me, and I’m in great shape.
Now, while I could read my thoughts on things all day, variety is the spice of life. So I created a bunch of other Twitter accounts so I could enjoy the thrilling parry and thrust of online conversation, without the bummer of dealing with other people and their UnCagan opinions.
And then the unthinkable happened.
In truth, I never liked @joshacagan25, but I kept it to myself, because if nothing else, I’m a pretty easygoing, agreeable fellow. But I can only be pushed so far, even if it’s by me.
“Anyone else hungry? I was thinking of getting a burger.”
A BURGER? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, ME? I was OBVIOUSLY in the mood for spicy Thai noodles. I’m ALWAYS in the mood for spicy Thai noodles.
So I unfollowed and blocked him/me, and just to be safe, I unfollowed and blocked all of them/me/us.
A few hours later, the Trilateral Commission, the Lizard People and the executive board of The International IPA And Discussing How “Celebration Rock” Kills It Symposium had me thrown in jail for not staring at Twitter. They told me with good behavior, I’d be out by spring.
At first I thought that sounded like a fair deal. Then I remembered spring meant baseball season, and with that, baseball tweets.
So I shivved a guy.