Why the internet is making us all f*@%ing insane

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Words by Torre DeRoche. Drawings by Sarah Steenland.

The internet is making us all crazy

It always starts like this: A brand new day. A sense of endless possibility. A cup of steaming coffee. You open your computer to start your workday. You’ve got a lot on your to-do list, but it’s one minute before 9 a.m. and you decide there’s time for a cheeky look at Facebook.

Then—

The internet is making us all crazy

You watch the video and—wow!—these folks are really onto something. A $20 donation gets you a first edition copy hot off the press and you’re supporting a friend (or, more specifically, a friend of a friend-ish). You think: Sure, why not? Click, donate, done.

You decide to spend just a second on their blog, but you end up reading their entire life story, breaking your trance only to sip your coffee, which you notice is now cold. Cold? Already? You check the time. Somehow it’s 10 a.m. There seems to be something wrong with your wall clock. And your computer clock. And your wrist watch.

You go to the kitchen to make a new coffee. Back at your desk, hot coffee in hand, the day still rich with possibilities, you open a new Word document and—

Bloop.

A message.

You ignore it.

Bloop! Bloop! Bloop!

It’s now taking up far more energy to suppress the urge to check your messages than it would if you just checked it quickly. You see that John has sent you four texts:

John: Hey.

John: You there?

John: Earth to Torre!

John: Hello?

Torre: Hey.

John: What’s up? Hey, I’m wondering if you’d mind having a look over something for me?

Torre: I’d love to help, but I’m really busy today.

John: I just need an extra set of eyes on it real quick.

Torre: Mine are currently fully booked.

John: It’ll only take a sec. Pleeeeeeeeeeeease?

Torre: Fine. Send it over.

John: You’re the best! I just emailed you.

Your email swooshes in a message from John. Attached is a 45-page business proposal with a short message:

“Thoughts? – John.”

The internet is making us all crazy

Within three sentences of reading John’s proposal, you know it’s an awful idea and nobody is ever going to buy this crap, even if Antarctica melts and the ocean levels rise up and up and up, and you’re left stranded on a tiny island with one single palm tree, mounds of dead plankton, and this person’s shitty product.

No, John. Non. Não. Nai. Nee. Niet. No.

But you can’t tell your friend his idea is bad—you’ll crush his enormous ego and come off as an unsupportive jerk. So you spend the good part of an hour crafting a reply, trying to strike the right balance between blunt honesty and validating praise.

You pull out the thesaurus several times, searching furiously for something that has the same meaning as the word ‘worthless’ but with all the good cheer of ‘wonderful.’

You find nothing.

The internet is making us all crazy

You write 26 separate drafts of feedback before you notice it’s now noon and you haven’t even started your own projects, so you select the latest draft of your carefully worded critique, hit delete, type “Fantastic, John!” and click send.

Done.

Now, finally, back to work.

You need to close all open browser windows to eliminate distractions, but while doing so, an urgent plea somehow manifests on your screen:

The internet is making us all crazy

You click through to the story and find great atrocities are happening in the world. Dolphins, blood human greed! WHY?! HOW CAN PEOPLE HARPOON THEIR TINY LITTLE GRINNING FACES? Adrenalin pumps through your system so fiercely that your vision trembles.

The internet is making us all crazy

Unacceptable! Something has to be done RIGHT NOW! Those gentle beasts of the depths are dying because of mankind’s horrors. But that is just the beginning. More causes cry out for you to feed them, like hungry little birds:

Australia wants to log a World Heritage rainforest! 

Guns in America! They’re still legal because: rednecks! 

Amazon, Google, Apple, and Costco predicted to merge into one giant dictatorship called Apooglezonco, but the good news is, you’ll be able to order your Soylent Green from an App.

You have to stop this! You have to change the world right now!

The modern guide to
changing the world:
  1. Fill out an online petition with loud, angry keyboard strokes.
  2. Rant on social media using clusters of exclamation marks!!!
  3. Find a charity who’s helping. Like their Facebook page.
  4. Shake your fist at the sky like you really mean business.
  5. Run out of ideas on how to change the world.
  6. Throw your hands up and declare:

The internet is making us all crazy

Meanwhile, clock hands spin…

Everything spirals and the space-time continuum folds in itself and you are lost…

Falling…

Tumbling down the warped and twisted rabbit hole…

The internet has you in its hold…

You are powerless…

The internet is making us all crazy 

And then something touches your leg and you come-to as if an Epi shot to the heart has pulled you from a drug stupor. You look down: the dog. Oh yes, the dog.

Dog with iPad

Image compliments of Shutterstock.

She’s upset because it’s past the time for her walk. She looks starkly real to your hazy eyes, as if she’s being lit by nauseatingly bright fluorescent glow of a 24-hour 7-Eleven. Oh yeah, the real world, you remember. That’s, like, a thing.

The morning has dissolved into noon, which is quickly slipping into darkness.

The internet is making everyone crazy

You close your laptop, and with it you shut down all the tragedy, all the needy causes, all the corruption, all that’s wrong in the world.

Dead dolphins: gone.

Crazy politics: disappeared.

Impending disaster: averted.

Outside, the air is crisp and the birds are tucking their little wings into the warmth of their bodies for the night. You breathe in the smell of dewy grass and wet soil and gum leaves crunching underfoot. Your dog gazelle-leaps through tall grass to avoid getting her belly wet, and her fat little low-rider gut makes you laugh.

The world is still beautiful.

And hilarious.

And alive and well.

Until tomorrow…

The internet is making us all crazy

 

Sarah Steenland SushiWritten by Torre DeRoche and illustrated by Sarah Steenland. Befriend Sarah on Twitter and Facebook, or check out her blog. Befriend Torre on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

 

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Leave a Comment

  • Dave Conrey June 22, 2014, 12:07 am

    It’s ironic that I’m here reading this, but still, thanks for the reminder to close the laptop more often.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche June 22, 2014, 9:59 pm

      Close your laptop, Dave, just not when you’re reading MY blog. :)

      Reply
  • Carla Martell June 22, 2014, 1:01 am

    Hahahahahaha! Love this. Those crazed eyes look just like mine, most days. Thanks for the laugh.

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche June 22, 2014, 10:00 pm

      There are a lot of things in this world to feel crazy-eyed about.

      Reply
  • Janet June 22, 2014, 1:07 am

    cute, and yay Sarah!!!
    definitely describes the time suck that is the internet for me :D

    Reply
  • Melanie Powers June 22, 2014, 1:34 am

    This is awesome. I can so relate — except for the dog. I have two cats, and one will visit to play ball (seriously) and the other wants belly rubs. And then I get hungry; how in the world did it get to be lunchtime already?!!!

    Reply
  • James Clark June 22, 2014, 2:39 am

    I’m reading this just before 10am and, yes, I have done absolutely nothing that would be considered work that advances my business this morning. This was worth the distraction, so thanks :)

    Reply
  • Denise June 22, 2014, 7:22 am

    And that is why, when I want to get any writing down, I unclick my wireless internet button :)

    Reply
  • Charlie June 22, 2014, 7:46 am

    Haha, yep, I’ve been there. In fact that’s not far off my morning today. Guess I should stop procrastinating and do some work – though reading this was the best way I’ve avoided work all morning. Argh, screw it, I’m going to go go for a walk instead. Have you ever tried Rescue Time? It shocked me to see how much time I wasted while online!

    Reply
  • Carmel June 22, 2014, 8:34 am

    There’s now a *real* world?

    The key is to also notice what’s going on once you extract yourself from internet hell. Sometimes I find myself thinking about things I could be doing while I’m out and have to shake myself back into the real world again.

    Reply
  • Katie @ The World on my Necklace June 22, 2014, 10:40 am

    Haha love it! Glad to see I’m not the only one that gets easily distracted when on the net :)

    Reply
  • Millie Noe June 22, 2014, 6:14 pm

    Loved your story..It is completely true. I am absolutely supposed to be doing something else right now. It’s freaking 1:15!

    Reply
  • Wanda St.Hilaire June 22, 2014, 7:36 pm

    You nailed it!

    Reply
  • Linda ~ Journey Jottings June 23, 2014, 12:06 am

    Or, maybe, why the internet is making us all the same?

    Reply
  • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot June 23, 2014, 2:47 am

    Surely every self employed creative can relate to this. I certainly can! Hope it’s an intro to your new book – How to save your sanity by ditching the Internet. I’d love to quit altogether but it’s like food. We have to do it, it’s just so hard to control the intake…

    Reply
  • Amy Lynne Hayes June 23, 2014, 1:45 pm

    I love this!! This is exactly my experience with the internet and all the wonderful/soul-sucking qualities it brings into our lives lol. It reminds me of a little video we used to pass around during my uni days in design school – called “Procrastination” from Tales of Mere Existence. Hilarious. :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P785j15Tzk

    Reply
  • Tracey June 23, 2014, 10:30 pm

    I feel your pain! I had the same day 2 days ago, except I no longer have a sweet dog to save me:) The world is sweet, well most of it. Here’s to a better tomorrow.

    Reply
  • petra June 24, 2014, 3:00 am

    ha, yes, I should be closing my laptop too. it’s already approaching 11 am :)

    Reply
  • Ben June 24, 2014, 7:10 am

    Hilarious post … I’m reading this at 9am so I might still have a chance to do something productive today lol

    Reply
  • Patricia Sands June 25, 2014, 4:56 pm

    Do you have someone stalking me with a video cam? This was way too personal. Stop the internet, I want to get off!

    Reply
  • Susan @ Travel Junkette June 27, 2014, 1:01 am

    Omg Torre and Sarah, this was sooo funny! I guess, sadly, that means it rings true for me… Whoops!

    Reply
  • Zoe @ Tales from over the Horizon June 29, 2014, 5:37 pm

    I can totally relate to this – especially since I am reading this post at 1:30am. Ooops

    Reply
  • Daidri | Thee Getaway Gal July 2, 2014, 5:00 pm

    This had me laughing and checking my clock all at the same time. I know too many people who can relate. And now since my day started with reading your book and then heading to the internet to check out your blog I think I’ll end my internet time here as well. My running shoes are calling my name!

    Reply
  • Reclaiming Your Future July 3, 2014, 3:05 am

    I’m currently procrastinating by reading this post – damn you Torre :D

    Toni

    Reply
  • Bekka July 4, 2014, 7:51 pm

    I loved this post, great job Torre. Definitely a relatable post indeed, right down to the dog part hah!

    Reply
  • Steve Roy July 8, 2014, 10:32 pm

    Torre,
    This is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while! The pics are hilarious too..I need to look Sarah up.
    Sadly, this is all so very true and I am just as guilty as everyone else. Fucking dolphins…

    Reply
  • Kelly July 9, 2014, 9:24 am

    LOVE this post Torre :) We had quite a bad storm here in NZ last night and we were without power for about 20 hours. I actually really loved the break from the internet – it can be so overwhelming! Keep up the great writing :)

    Reply
  • Arianwen July 10, 2014, 11:32 am

    I just had a day just like that! Well put and fantastically illustrated.

    Reply
  • Penelope July 12, 2014, 8:05 pm

    Programs that block Facebook are key during productivity times. When I have avoided this and Twitter, the amount of work I get done skyrockets!

    Reply
  • Nguyen July 21, 2014, 10:05 am

    I think the internet is driving us insane if we keep comparing ourselves to other people. Just be yourself and follow your dream. Don’t worry about what others think.

    Reply