#2. There Are Solutions Beyond Online Banking
My sixth full day without the Internet presented a surprising challenge: the loss of online banking. I remember setting up a checking account with my dad when I was 16. I sat at one of those desks that people who aren't tellers sit at, and filled out some paperwork. And with that exception, just about every other time I went to a bank it was because that's where the ATMs were. I suppose the rest of the bank still exists for people who don't understand ATMs or for folks doing grown up stuff like signing mortgage papers or divesting IRAs or other things I don't understand. But for me, finances just came down to ATMs and online banking. The best thing about them is that you don't have to talk to anyone and no one has to see how little money you have in your account.
So the other night, I was trying to order a pizza but I had no cash. My credit card was maxed out. I needed to transfer the 18.98 I had in savings over to checking, so I opened up my laptop, and then I remembered I'd promised myself I'd stay offline. What to do? What to do? There was no food in the house, and I was hungry and broke. Also, ATMs don't let you take out less than 20 bucks.
Because they're dirty, dirty whores.
And then I remembered: my next door neighbor was rich and probably had lots of food! Without any assistance from the Internet, I cleverly slipped into his home with a rock through the sliding glass door on his deck. And then, just as cleverly, I beat him to death with that very same rock! I know. Two birds. One stone. Literally. (If a glass door and 55-year-old hedge fund manager were both literally birds.) And I was right. His fridge was well-stocked with various meats and fancy cheeses. I made several sandwiches and washed it down with a helping of fancy microbrews I'd never heard of before.
Is "homicidally good" an expression? Because it should be.
As I was stepping over the corpses of the rest of his family (I meant to mention I bludgeoned them before my second sandwich, but I got caught up with the part about microbrews) I noticed a phone in his late wife's bloody hand. That's when I remembered I could have made the money transfer over the phone, but no regrets. I mean, seriously, the dude had like four different kinds of cheese.
#1. Social Media Cannot Fill The Void In Your Life
I had made it a full week with no social media of any kind, and I'll be the first to admit this was a tough one. NoTwitter. No Facebook. What was I to do? A full week. How do you go a week without reading: "UGH! Stuck in traffic!" or "OMG, you guys, thanks so much for the get well basket!!!!"? I wasn't sure. I mean, it occurred to me that I could probably get a fix of that just hanging around mental patients who talk to themselves, but most of the crazy people I know, I met online and they live far away.
Although originally a penal colony, Australia is now unofficially the Internet's holding cell for nutters.
Besides, it was Facebook more than Twitter I was missing. And there was no simple fix to compensate for all it had to offer. I sat in my garage chain-smoking cigarettes and shaking. I'd pocketed the garage door opener, painted the windows black, and locked the door. I didn't want anyone to see my withdrawal. I had a need. A hole that could not be filled. And as I writhed back and forth, mumbling incoherent things about Farmville and hating the new layout, something happened: I rolled over the garage opener in my pocket. There was the hard snap of a heavy spring and then the tug of a door slowly letting in the light I had refused. But not just light. More. The feet, then legs, bodies and, ultimately, the concerned faces of my beautiful wife and children. So worried. So happy to see me. This is what I had been missing whether I was trapped in a dark garage or a brightly lit computer screen.
And that's when I realized how to fill my void. I ran out of the garage. My family raised their arms to greet me. I felt their fingertips grasp at my bathrobe as I ran into the center of town, screaming, "Look at me, look at me" and publicly masturbating. It wasn't quite Facebook, but it got me through that last dark day.
For more from Gladstone, check out 5 Things from the 70s We Want Back and 5 Popular Phrases That Make You Look Like an Idiot.