I Am Not the Internet

In 2006, I got a computer in my bedroom because I was going to community college and needed it to type papers and do research. That was when I really got to know the Internet. Before having a computer in my room, I got online only long enough to check email and maybe play a couple rounds of a game.

Now that the computer was always there, the entire online world was opened. Honestly, it was terrible. I never quite fit in on the Internet; on forums, I could never read sarcasm. I made the heinous mistake of mentioning religion among a group of people who were clearly not religious. I never could figure out how to argue online (which is not really arguing at all; he whose mind is most open is the winner [subject of another post]). When chatting with friends via MySpace, and later, Facebook, I felt awkward because I never knew how long was too long to be talking or what things to say because there were no cues. I became somewhat of a stalker on those sites; I lurked but never said a word. I cut myself out of those sites and others like them and never looked back.

One time, I ran into some porn. I forget how it happened, or what I had been searching for that turned up such a result. The minute-long sight of it scared me. On the Internet, you are always only two steps (clicks) away from discovering something that, to use Internet terminology, you “cannot unsee.” I feel bad for young kids, ages 9 and 10 and possibly even younger, who see that stuff and become consumed by it. It’s a pox on humanity.

On the more positive side, funny times were spent looking at memes and watching stupid videos on YouTube and scrolling through song lyric sites and successfully posting on a few forums. To be fair, I’ve probably had more good times than bad online.

The pitfall of it is, if you are online long enough, you start to speak that language. You become consumed by the need to be in the center of that bubble of constant stimuli. You constantly check your phone for updates and type meaningless words on forums and reblog pseudo-academic nonsense on Tumblr and read political rantings from people who have become as unhinged as you are. You post pictures of yourself and the food you eat and the stuff you buy on Instagram. You keep a blog. If you’re witty enough or post a funny-enough meme, then you (again, using online parlance) “win the Internet.”

I don’t want to win the Internet. I am not the Internet. Yes, I do post on the Internet. Hell, the Internet even enabled me to meet my husband. But I’m not going to let it consume me. I am a human being with a soul and not something ephemeral that will disappear. All of the Internet is ephemeral. It’s like the world but not the world, because it passes away even faster.

As useful a tool that the Internet is, it is only that, a tool. To become one with the Internet and to spend all one’s time on the Internet scrolling and trolling and looking for something is not an achievement to be proud of. Think about it. Your most memorable moments are those found in real life, among friends and family, not in front of a computer screen. Don’t let it consume you.

Thursday Three #60

  1. A recent survey came out that said people are more afraid to share their opinion on matters than they were in the past. I’m not afraid to share my opinion, but I do dislike when everyone assumes that one’s opinion is the same as theirs, simply because they work at the same place, worship at the same place, live in the same town, or are members of the same family. Online, we like to create our own little echo chambers, and in real life, we are shocked when someone does not echo right along with us.
  2. Due to the coronavirus, I will be working from home until at least January. That is literally the best thing to come out of all this craziness. The two downsides to working from home are (1) I don’t have a printer (but I don’t really use one anyway), and (2) missing out on all the free food that my coworkers would sometimes bring to the office. Even so, the advantages of working from home far outweigh the disadvantages. No commute, more time with my family, fewer annoying meetings (except for Zoom), getting gas about once a month… I could go on and on.
  3. Can someone please tell me what a capet is and why it would need cleaning? I assume it’s like a carpet, but I’m really not sure…

Next Leg of the Journey

The last chapter of the reissued version of THE ARCHIVES posted a few days ago. I had fun tweaking it. Not much changed from the original version I posted on FictionPress in 2011, except I had to completely rewrite 15 chapters because I felt like they were unrealistic. (Hey, 15 chapters out of 365 counts as “not much.”) Because I’m a perfectionist, I may take a look at it again at some point in the future because one can never eradicate all the typos and inconsistencies the first (or even second) time around. But for now, that’s it. Hope you liked it!

I keep vacillating on the next story I’m going to post here, so it may be awhile before I get to that. I also have been thinking about just plain blogging and musing like I used to. It’s not that I have nothing to write about. On the contrary, I can’t keep the ideas out of my head. I question the worth of what I have to say more often, though, because others say the same thing much more clearly than I ever could.

Book reviews would be the easiest thing to post about, but I am still stuck on my book about the Kennedy men (Laurence Leamer). The last piece of fiction I read was Darling Rose Gold (Stephanie Wrobel), which was based on the real-life story of Gypsy Rose. (Google it if you don’t know what it is and want to be horrified.)

What I really want to write about is God, but every time I consider writing something “profound,” I think that perhaps I should meditate and listen to God instead of writing about him or talking to him. I’m also afraid of accidentally falling into heresy or leading someone astray. Basically, I feel like I need to learn more before I can say much of anything. In the meantime, I recommend Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son, which is beautifully written and succinctly summarizes the garbled mess in my brain (and saves me time trying to get it written out).

That’s enough for now. I hope you all are doing well. (This post is also a public service announcement: Step away from the news and/or Internet if it’s making you depressed.)