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The 4 Worst Times to Be on The Internet

#2. The Day a Huge Meme Blows Up

The Reason:

Meme. Meme. Parody of meme. Round-up of parodies of meme. Anti-meme. Meta-meme. Meme meme meme.

The morning of Rebecca Black's infamous Internet debut, one of my coworkers forwarded me her terrible, terrible music video. I'm sorry, I typed that wrong. Eleven of my coworkers, 25 high school friends and 132,000 Internet strangers forwarded me that video.

And I'm just as guilty, because I sent it around to everyone, too. I was excited, because I finally had a place to put all of the hate-joy I'd been stockpiling. So I shared it with friends, traded jokes about it, rewatched it and did all of the things one does when a new viral sensation comes out.

Then a few hours went by and I was ready to actually start my day, but the Internet hadn't quite caught up yet. Because the Internet is infinite and caters to a massive audience that is constantly just waking up, it doesn't really advance throughout the day like a person does. It doesn't "get over" a viral video when you do, because a million people just saw it for the first time while you were taking lunch.

"For shit's- I was gone for two minutes!"

And then the parade starts. The meme leads the way, followed by parodies of the meme, followed by articles collecting all of those parodies, followed by meta-parodies, or self-aware-memes (Christ, talking like this is killing me), followed by self-important articles ranting about how meme-obsessed we've become. And even if the source of the meme is great, and even if some of the parodies are hilarious, it's still just, at the end of the day, exhausting. Back in whenever when Rebecca Black's video came out, by 2 o'clock, I just wanted to read about something new that wasn't related to Rebecca Black, but even important sites like CNN were talking about Black (probably). Being on the Internet all day when a huge, viral meme drops is like being the only person in the room who saw The Sixth Sense a year before everyone else did.

"No, yes, I- Yeah, I got it, it was very shocking. Has anyone seen any other movies?"

#1. April Fools

The Reason:

Fucking April Fools.

I can't get any work done on April Fools' Day, because every goddamned website pulls some kind of goddamned stunt.

It's fun for absolutely anyone who doesn't have to get anything done on April Fools' Day, which isn't who I am. (As a refresher, I am an angry, tired get-off-my-lawn sort of fella who has an Internet addiction and an inability to understand why people like to have fun.) IGN made a trailer for a fake Harry Potter show, Hulu pretended to be a website from the '90s, YouTube turned every video link into a RickRoll, Google did ... something cute, I'm sure (they do every year).

Mah! You guys are wicked.

I do get it. I understand the fun in these pranks. I laughed at Hulu's fake site and generally appreciate whatever Google decides to do. I know that no one's genuinely trying to fool anyone else; it's all about making a fun, silly joke.

It's only a problem because, on April Fools' Day, no one knows who to trust. When the Wall Street Journal and Times.com want to get in on the April Fools' Day fun just like everybody else, you can't trust any website conclusively. Everything you read could just be some elaborate prank. Or not elaborate, just stupid. A lot of sites just want to convince the reader that something false is true, so they just put forward some fake yet totally believable story. Some entertainment news site may report "This just in: Tommy Lee Jones cast as lead in new Quentin Tarantino movie," and then turn around the next day and say "April Fools! There IS no movie! Haw! Prankmaster!" Because some people think a good prank is just a convincing lie, and not a clever joke. Because some people don't know how pranks work.

"HAH! Got you, no he's not! You look like such an IDIOT."

As a result, you can't trust any site or any story you read, all day, so you're better off avoiding all of them altogether.

Which is ... a bad thing? Am I complaining about having to take a day away from the Internet? Yikes. Yikes. I've gotta ... I've just got to take some time away. I'm gonna go outside and call my family, you guys. Please stop reading this article ... now.


Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's Senior Writer (ladies), and he is growing a hideous mustache on his face all month long to fight cancer, (Proof of hideous mustache!). Donate to his face right here (everyone). Or donate to Cracked writer Soren Bowie's face right here, or donate to Team Tiger Awesome's Nick Mundy's face right here, or anyone on the Cracked.com Cancer-Fighting Attack Squad right here

For more from Dan, check out 5 Famous Inventors (Who Stole Their Big Idea) and Why Humanity Can't Get Past The 7 Deadly Sins.

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