The Internet's Birthday Again

45The Internet has more symbolic birthdays than, I dunno, something else with a lot of symbolic birthdays, but if today’s anniversary of the first request for comments has in fact prompted him to look back on his 45 years, he is probably mired in a deep existential crisis as he reflects on how far short he has fallen from his initial promise, how badly he has disappointed even the people who loved him the most and how he no longer has the excuse of youth on his side to mitigate the terrible faults and mistakes he continues to make over and over in spite of the fact that he has seen so many times just how badly his choices have played out. As he sits alone wincing at each painful memory from his past and wishing that someone would come along to pull the plug on the present in which he is mired and a future he cannot come up with any alternative to avoiding, he quietly hums a slow and joyless “Happy birthday” which is off-key and repeatedly interrupted by horrible sobs that sound like the death throes of a small mammal being tortured by some gang of childhood sadists. He walks to the bathroom, washes off his face and forces himself to stare into the mirror for as long as he can stand to look at himself. He puts on dark glasses and heads out into the streets, hoping to remain unseen for another few hours so he can continue to play out his pageant of self-loathing and despair in peace. “Another fucking year,” he mutters as he runs his hands through his thinning hair before holding his head there for a moment in an unmistakable gesture of agony and defeat and then, with a shudder of resignation, puts his arms back at his sides and walks on, bent and stooped, eyes dead, unaware of anything else around him. Happy birthday, dear Internet. Happy birthday to you.