One of my cousins got me hooked on Words With Friends on Thanksgiving 2016. It is not a coincidence that my blog went on life support at about the same time. Most of my blogging impulse was already being spent on Facebook and Twitter, which served a role somewhere between creative micro-outlet and slot machine yielding occasional jackpots of external validation. Playing internet scrabble with my cousin took writer’s bloc and the idea of Personal Branding completely out of the equation and left me with a perfect and almost mindless occupation to fill my evenings and weekends, one unlikely to launch family feuds or violate the Hatch Act. I have 18 matches running right this moment with five people, and it’s fun – as long as I don’t pour hours into it at a time. It’s certainly been a great time-killer while I recover from foot surgery! But when I look back at how much I wrote 10-12 years ago, I realize that the game and social media in general have sucked away a lot of time that would have been better spent almost anywhere. I don’t socialize in real life anywhere near as much as I did before I got a smart phone. Heck, I don’t even do as many side-hustle writing gigs as I did when I was blogging regularly.
I’ve been telling myself that I’m burnt out from work, but in reality I’ve short circuited myself by cycling between Hootsuite, Facebook, and Words With Friends as though coins might pour out of the USB slot on my iPhone any minute.
(I am back in the office now and back in an orthopedic boot now, two weeks after having the cast removed. I just graduated from using two crutches at all times to only needing one, and I go to physical therapy twice a week. Maybe the uptick in activity is what’s making me realize how stuck I’ve been mentally. Now if it would only help me realize that I should go to bed before midnight to have more energy by day …)
I finally got one of those gratitude challenges on Facebook. For a while, I was relieved not to have gotten one (or an ice bucket challenge), but then I started wondering whether it wasn’t actually a sign that all my “friends” secretly think I’m an awful human being. I am willing to accept that as the price of being a somewhat awful human being, but still. One wishes to fit in.
Coming up with things to be grateful for won’t be a problem. It’s coming up with things to be grateful for that won’t inadvertently offend someone else that’s the problem. That and figuring out if there is anyone else out there left who hasn’t already done one of these challenges. I may have to skip that part.
(Pause to read the whole of Facebook in search of unchallenged friends.)
Thanks to the latest Internet quiz, I can now state with greater precision than ever the extent of my true malevolence: to wit, I am 26% Evil. That sounds fairly accurate to me. I only have one Facebook friend who got a higher Evil percentage than mine, but one is better than none in this context. I would console myself that maybe I’m just being more honest than other people in my peer group, but that sounds alarmingly self-righteous. And if one is to be 74% Not Evil, one could do worse than to avoid self-righteousness.
Mouse returned from two weeks of sleep-away camp completely in love with the order and relative autonomy of camp life and with horses. Once again, I marvel that so spectacularly normal-seeming a child should have come from me. She was only home for a couple of days before being whisked off to Camp Protosaur for a couple of weeks with my parents and younger brother.
The last few days at work have been rougher than usual. I got some psychological relief from going with Dino Spouse, TeenBot, and his bestie* to see the latest “Purge” movie tonight when I got home. It was better than the first one. Podrostok is out with friends tonight, hence his absence.
* TeenBot’s best friend is a delightful tomboy his age who has been his boon companion all summer. She’s taught him and Mouse both to skateboard.