For some time, I've wanted to write about Facebook addiction. Something that synthesized the growing psychological literature on this phenomenon and presented it in an amusing fashion. Unfortunately, after a fair amount of reading on the subject, I could only find one sentiment worthy of repeating here: Facebook makes you feel like youâre doing something while doing nothing and, yet, in its own way, makes you too tired thereafter to actually do something. Itâs a lot like filling out a moveon.org petition. The problem is, the person who wrote that was me.Â Â And it just seems, I donât know, unseemly to quote yourself... So consumed by writerâs block and boredom, I decided to kill time by taking this Facebook Addiction quiz. To my great surprise, I learned that I was 56 percent addicted to Facebook! I know! Me. An addict. Sure, 56 was still a better score than my recent crystal meth urinalysis, but I knew from all the mediaâs reporting that Facebook addiction was a far more serious condition. So I did what any responsible columnist would do: I checked myself into a 30 day rehab program for addicts like me. The following is a true account of my harrowing adventure.
DAVID Hello, everyone. Iâd like to introduce a new member of our group.
GLADSTONE Hey, everyone. My nameâs Gladstone.
GLADSTONE And nothing. Thatâs the full name. I just go by Gladstone.
DAVID No, I mean, âIâm Gladstone and Iâm â¦.â
GLADSTONE The creator and star of Hate By Numbers?
DAVID No. No one knows what that is. I mean, âIâm Gladstone and Iâm a Facebook addict.â
GLADSTONE Hey, only 56 percent! At that point, an older woman named Natalie chimed in. I could tell that she had been quite attractive in her day. But now, her once full lips had become thin and dry from too many Facebook groups. Sheâd become the kind of chick whoâd join anything.
NATALIE Percentages donât matter, Gladstone! An addictâs an addict!
GLADSTONE Oh, well, sure you say that. I mean, youâre probably shooting like 90 percent. Tell me. Are you jonesing for a Farmville fix right now?
DAVID Gladstone! That kind of hostility will not be tolerated. And Natalieâs right. An addictâs an addict.
GLADSTONE Fifty-six percent! Iâm less addicted than like nine out of 10 of you. I donât even know why Iâm here! Suddenly, Pedro, a middle-aged man with thick plastic-framed glasses and a thin suspicious mustache broke the tension.
PEDRO Excuse me, David. I know this group is about Facebook addiction, but I was wondering. How do you know if youâre addicted to MySpace?
DAVID Simple. Tell me, Pedro. Itâs 2010. Do you still have a MySpace account?
DAVID Then you must be addicted.
GLADSTONE Heâs right, Pedo. I mean, Pedro.
DAVID Today, Iâd like to talk about why we began using Facebook in the first place. Gladstone, why donât you begin?
GLADSTONE Yeah, itâs stupid. I didnât even want to. I did it just to promote my website. Like networking.
DAVID So you joined for professional reasons, but then you got hooked on what? The quizzes?
GLADSTONE Uh, no, Iâm not a 14-year-old girl.
DAVID The apps like Farmville?
GLADSTONE No. See above.
DAVID Connecting with old friends?
GLADSTONE No. I barely know any of my Facebook friends in real life.
DAVID Then what?
GLADSTONE Well, I guess I got hung up on women telling me how great I was.
DAVID Oh, but Gladstone. Itâs the Internet, donât you realize that eight out of 10 of those women look hideous in real life and/or have a penis? I thought about what David said for a moment. In my heart, I knew it was true. Slowly, I turned and spoke the truest sentence I knew.
GLADSTONE I like those odds.
DAVID Gladstone what the hell are you doing? Sit down.
GLADSTONE I just wanted to thank you all for believing in me. This medal means a lot.
DAVID First of all, we don't give medals. And secondly, if we did, you wouldn't get one.Â Â Just this morning, I caught you trying to update your status on a calculator.
GLADSTONE Well, if I didn't graduate, how did I get this medal?
DAVID You won it at some stupid reading and you never take it off because you're a huge narcissistic loser.
GLADSTONE Good one, David. But if I'm such a huge narcissistic loser than why would someone as cool as I think I'm so great? Yeah, you think on that. So I left the treatment with Natalie/wife and medal in hand, proud of conquering my addiction.Â Understandably, the group was saddened by my loss. Pedro called out.
PEDRO Gladstone! Don't go. How will we live without being part of your life?
GLADSTONE Oh, don't worry friends. I'll keep you posted on... (wink) Facebook. The group stared back blankly, and I recovered gracefully from my faux pas.
GLADSTONE Um, I mean, not Facebook. Twitter. No. Um, a letter? Yeah, like with paper and stamps and stuff. That still exists, right? Cool. I'll drop you line. And with that, I closed the chapter on my days of addiction and started my new life.
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