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It always starts like this: A brand new day. A sense of endless possibility. A cup of steaming coffee.

The internet is making us all crazy

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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51 Response Comments

  • Dave Conrey  June 22, 2014 at 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 at 9:59 pm

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

      Reply
  • Carla Martell  June 22, 2014 at 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 at 10:00 pm

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

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

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

    Reply
  • Melanie Powers  June 22, 2014 at 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
    • Torre DeRoche  November 17, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Geez, pets, can’t you see we’re trying to be unproductive?!

      Reply
  • James Clark  June 22, 2014 at 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
    • Matthew H Leach  September 7, 2014 at 5:06 am

      *like*

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

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

    Reply
    • Torre DeRoche  November 17, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Problem is, my fingers know how to click it back on again. And they do…

      Reply
  • Charlie  June 22, 2014 at 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
    • Torre DeRoche  November 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      No, I haven’t tried that but I recently installed a Chrome plugin called Block Site and I blocked all social media websites. It worked for about 3 days, and then I figured out how to unblock them from myself. I swear, it’s like owning a toddler who lives inside of me.

      Reply
  • Carmel  June 22, 2014 at 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
    • Torre DeRoche  November 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      Yup. I’d hate to see how the internet is rewriting all our brains.

      Reply
  • Millie Noe  June 22, 2014 at 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
  • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  June 23, 2014 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 3:00 am

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

    Reply
  • Ben  June 24, 2014 at 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 at 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 at 1:01 am

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

    Reply
  • Daidri | Thee Getaway Gal  July 2, 2014 at 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 at 3:05 am

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

    Toni

    Reply
  • Bekka  July 4, 2014 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 11:32 am

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

    Reply
  • Penelope  July 12, 2014 at 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 at 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
  • Sofia  August 26, 2014 at 6:30 am

    This is quite enjoyable! I embrace this kind of distraction! 😀

    Reply
  • Ellen  August 31, 2014 at 5:16 am

    Such a true description! I managed to hold off the crack that is the internet until I’ve done my morning pages, but after that…the 25-minute (timed pomodoro) that I’ve allowed for social media and emails streeeeeeetches into the day. Ouch.

    Great words and picture 🙂

    Reply
    • Sunny Fields  November 9, 2014 at 1:48 am

      Who knows how I landed on your blog but I never thought that I would be consumed by the internet. But there are clever people such as yourselves doing creative stuff so it is worth it!! And an Aussie to boot! I am a traveller and a renovater of our holiday in France and I am thinking of blogging our adventures but not sure how??
      I love the way you have done your page……Suggestions, if you can spare the time.

      Reply
      • Torre DeRoche  November 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm

        I wouldn’t know where to begin with suggestions. Look up WordPress themes and find one you like, then go from there. Thanks for your lovely words, and all the best with France. That sounds amazing.

        Reply
  • Miguel  December 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Imagine waking up tomorrow and finding the internet has ceased.

    How cool it would be to spend a morning without seeing a “selfie!” 🙂

    Reply
  • Megan Van Ostaeyen  January 15, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Story of my life! Sometimes I wish I was the dog so I could have someone telling me “hey no more internet” or “you can only eat this much” haha

    Reply
  • Wendy  February 11, 2015 at 5:17 am

    I love you!!! I first discovered you through your equally as awesome post and illustrations on your 10-day Vipassana experience. Love your stuff. 🙂

    Reply
  • Jee Ann  March 5, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    LOL! This article certainly made my day – and yes, it DESCRIBES my day, too!

    Reply
  • Barbara Napoles  November 28, 2015 at 7:05 am

    OMG you are most definitely that fly on my wall? My day starts off like that… then here I am it’s almost 2am read your blog and of course I must respond because I think this was so on point. But, you forgot one thing; once we get to the kitchen we must cook for
    our family…someone has to feed them right? Please, no private messages! Ding ding.. you must respond your friends message, that proposal needs the response! Five minutes later, you burn your food, almost the kitchen, smoke everywhere. Smoke alarm beeping! Food and pan scorched, kitchen fire averted. Thanks for a great laugh. Now shutting down. New day comes fast. Wait! Tomorrow is Saturday I can type a few more words! The joys of the Internet and FOMO. THANKS! Shutting cell phone now… don’t respond for 24 hours pls!

    Reply
  • Jillian  April 11, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Meine Freundin hat mir kürzlich diese Website empfohlen.
    Ich bin begeistert von deinen spannenden Beiträge.
    Mach weiter so!

    Reply
  • Yvonne Gavan  April 21, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I often wish I only had a slightly neglected dog. My three kids (and, erm, husband) always try to distract me when I’m busy surfing the web, I mean, WORKING (on MY blog)!

    Reply
  • Barry  June 29, 2016 at 12:03 am

    I guess as its now 10 AM and I am reading this to avoid doing some actual work, the whole day is destined to go down the pan! Seconds blur into minutes – minutes into hours – hours into days…

    Reply

© Torre DeRoche 2017. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce any material from this blog without written permission.

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