Should You Quit Social Media?

Depends on how well equipped your log cabin is

Image: GabPRR

“I am thinking of getting rid of my cell phone, signing off of all social media and moving to a log cabin out in the woods. Is there any reason you can think of that I should reconsider?” — Log Cabin Larry

I understand the impulse to try to escape from everything. And I am truly an enthusiastic advocate of running away from one’s problems. New Jersey is a particularly good place to run away from one’s problems to. No one will chase you. Your problems will be like, “I grew up in New Jersey, no way I’m going back there.” And you’ll be free from those problems for a while and will accumulate new problems and then they will all eventually, slowly chase you down like zombies on “The Walking Dead.” But buying time is really all we can do for ourselves in this life. And we have considerably less time than we might suspect.

Also it’s nice to have something to blame for the things that go wrong in your life. “If only I didn’t spend so much time on Twitter I could have painted a masterpiece by now.” If you sign off of Twitter you will somehow use time more wisely than you ever have before, you think to yourself. By starting a little project. If you’re like me, you start projects with excitement and flair.

I went to yoga a bunch of times. I would go on Mondays after work. I would walk home from work, get some sweats on, and wander over there. I was terrible at it. But I kept going for four or five weeks. Then the yoga teacher went on vacation for a few weeks. And I never went back. I got into some different habit of spending my Monday nights watching “NYPD Blue” re-runs. I am now as large as that little girl in the Willie Wonka movie that turned into the giant blueberry.

That’s not to say that changes in life can’t be made. And that spending less time on phones wouldn’t be a good thing to shoot for. I have no life and few people love me, so I really only use my phone when I’m in elevators or trying to ignore other people. When people go to the bathroom at bars, I can screw around with my phone for a while. You’re missing so much being on your phones all the time. Like being bored, disillusioned and feeling alone all the time. This was the foundation I have built my life upon. I had like twenty-five great years of feeling lonely and disconnected from everything. I wrote poems. Now I let my phone write my poems for me.

As Netflix’s “Stranger Things’ demonstrated, the times before computers were better. But we didn’t have instant access to porn, so that sucked. My friends and I used to go to a local store in our neighborhood, stick a Playboy magazine inside a Boston Globe, pay for the Boston Globe and steal the Playboy. We did this until it was my turn to do it, which I didn’t want to do and I was terrible at and I blew it and we got caught and then it was the end of that. Free access to porn through computers is better. Or, I guess, playing for Playboy magazine instead of trying to steal it.

If you do unplug you will miss out on a lot of cool things. Some memes are funny. Some cat videos are great. Some people you meet online can become very good friends of yours. The kind of friends that will help you defeat a terrifying monster. But you can probably survive without a phone and all the social media. I was going to switch over to just sending people faxes. But no one else had a fax machine and the whole thing became pretty upsetting pretty fast. I really only stay online because I haven’t met my soulmate yet and I’m pretty sure they will be reaching out to me very very soon. And so I have a LinkedIn account and a Google Wave account and Friendster and all that. Just in case. How else will they get in touch with me?

So I cannot come up with any reasons why you might reconsider, other than the easy access to pornography. Which the Republicans are trying to get rid of anyway. So enjoy it while you can. A log cabin seems like a pretty comfy place to hang out all the time while you’re not using a phone and Facebook. If you like chopping wood. Your life will consist of chopping wood. I used to split wood with a spike and a hammer. That was pretty fun. You could write a manifesto like the Unabomber, because you’ll have a lot of time on your hands in the log cabin without having to read tweets.

I only got email when I was a senior in college. And the internet has been a gas and all, but it’s been a real bummer sometimes, too. The most satisfying relationship I think I ever had on the internet was with a Starbucks employee in West Hollywood. We never met. We would like, AOL chat each other. I think we met on Nerve and so we would have like virtual sex. Her name was Debby, but that could have been a pseudonym. She was very sexy and it was easy to chat back and forth with her. There were phone calls, too, if I remember. If I had to live in a log cabin, maybe she could come there and live with me. She always had great stories about the famous people she’d meet who were regular Starbucks customers. And I bet she smelled like delicious coffee, which would be very arousing for me.

You’re going to need some pals to live in the log cabin with. Or people who live in adjacent log cabins. Because you may want to run away from your problems. And you may think people are your problems. And some people are your problems. But not having any people is an even bigger problem. We feel so lonely even in crowded places with just our phones. Imagine nothing but the baleful cries of a wild duck to keep you company as you split logs all day. You’ll want a hot cup of Starbucks coffee. Which will soon be delivered by drones but only if you order from your phone.

Jim Behrle works at a bookstore and lives in Jersey City, NJ.