4 Websites That Are Clearly Elaborate Pranks On Humanity

Have you ever been drunkenly careening through the Internet, feeling like the captain of the free world, only to smash headlong into a website that seemed designed specifically to fuck with your brain? No? That's never happened? This is a neurotic, panicked experience that I must endure alone? Oh. Well in that case check out this thing that apparently only happens to me.

#4. These Goddamn "I'm A Writer" T-Shirts

There's a great old movie called Hearts Of The West in which young Jeff Bridges plays an idealistic writer traveling out West in the 1930s to make it in Hollywood. In the beginning, he's a super-annoying character, constantly introducing himself to everyone as "a writer," talking with weird affectations and saying stuff like, "I wandered parched and thirsty across the barren waste." It also contains one of my favorite quotes about writing ever, which is when Andy Griffith tells him, "When someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer. Not before."

I lost track of where I was going with this, but I hate these fucking T-shirts.

"I Insert My Hobby Into Every Conversation. Talking To Me Is Going To Be Exhausting."

Writing, like most crafts, has a romantic air about it that says that being a "writer" is something special: We drink a lot, have crazy promiscuous sex, and wander around the desert tripping balls and figuring out how to get rid of inconvenient corpses. Hell, just look at the daily routine of Hunter S. Thompson's utterly fabricated professional "character." But, for most of us, the reality of writing is sitting in front of a keyboard, usually sober, typing. Endlessly typing. There's no drug-magic, no sex-muse, and no special insanity aside from the one that makes us OK with sitting in the same dark room for 14 hours trying to figure out how to make a joke about SpongeBob's butthole "land." I wish I could live like Hunter S. Thompson says he did and just get wasted with a bunch of hookers and wake up to find brilliant writing waiting for me on my desk. But instead, I worked over the weekend and completely forgot to call my friends who were visiting from out of town.

I'm not just rambling about how time-consuming my job is -- teachers, doctors, and most single parents work a lot harder than I do. But they don't have those fucking T-shirts burning a rageful hole in their Facebook feeds. Taunting them with false promises of a glamorous lifestyle that they can never enjoy. Twisting a knife into the wounds of our sacrifice- ... Ah, shit, I'm going all "parched and thirsty" on you. Let's move on.

#3. This YouTube Scam

I'm sorry to show this to you, but I can't not -- this YouTube video is like the tape from The Ring or the sex-demon from It Follows: The only way I can escape it is by passing it on.

Every time this ad comes up on Wikipedia I watch it all the way through, and I just can't believe that any of it is real. I can't keep up with his batshit crazy long enough to even make fun of him: He brags about driving his new Lamborghini through the Hollywood Hills before insisting that he doesn't care about materialistic things because he reads a book a day. In fact, he just bought 2,000 more of them. And he doesn't call money "money" anymore -- he calls it "fuel units."

It's around this point that you realize that this isn't filmed to imitate the kind of shitty talking-head YouTube videos we see all over the place espousing utter nonsense; that's actually what this is. Only he didn't just upload it; he paid for it to be an ad with his own damn fuel-units. Wait, why does he keep his library in his garage?

No other ad in the history of the world has ever captured my imagination the way this one did. The first time I saw this, I abandoned whatever it was I was supposed to be doing and clicked through to his website (which I won't link to because fuck this guy), where I discovered that the "three simple tricks" he promised were actually "67 Steps To Health, Wealth, And Happiness." And seriously, why does he keep his library in his garage? It's not like he's reading in there.

EasternSnap/iStock/Getty Images
Does the car read too?

I'll tell you why: It's because he's a goddamn scam artist (not that you didn't already know that -- after all, the guy is offering to sell you health wealth and happiness just for a fuel measly fuel-units). That's right: He's been driven to dishonesty by his all-consuming lust for fuel-units. Tai Lopez (oh yeah -- that's his name) is pretty much your standard get-rich-quick schemer who's realized that you can make more money selling pans than panning for gold (as one of those links says), but that's not why I've chosen to mock him on this soapbox. No, I've chosen to do this for a far simpler reason:

I cannot skip his fucking videos. When his voice is prattling at me, my mouse-clickin' finger is limp as a dick in church. Doesn't matter what kind of deadlines I'm facing, whether or not my pizza bagels are burning -- I gotta see what he's going to say next. what crazy bullshit he's gonna spit. He follows me into my dreams, guys, with his Lamborghini and 2,000 books, promising me health, wealth, and happiness if only I accept him as my mentor and pay 67 fuel-units a month to be a part of his fucking mailing list that apparently you can't cancel. And you know why? Because he read some "Get Rich Quick" books, and they told him how to hack my brain and steal my attention.

Give it back, Tai! Give me back my fucking brain!

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J.F. Sargent

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