If Gothic literature has taught us one thing, it’s that guilt can be a terrible burden to bear, one which may bring about dissolution of sanity if not the soul. I am of course referring primarily to Poe’s “The Telltale Heart,” in which (for the half-dozen not familiar) a murderer is driven to confession by the perceived beating of his victim’s heart. Oh, and he kills the guy by shoving him under a mattress and smothering him. How ridiculously awkward is that? I know style isn’t necessarily the primary concern in such endeavors, but you’d think personal comfort at least would come into play. Just grab a pillow or something, Archetypal Unreliable Narrator, you’re gonna give yourself a hernia.
Anyway, my crime is not anywhere near so heinous, but I still feel the need to come clean to those few who may be concerned, namely anybody who read my piece on Facebook deletion. It is much to my embarrassment that I must announce my relapse; indeed, I reactivated my account a mere three weeks later and have been using more or less consistently ever since. I have to take about five showers a day to wash off all the shame, but still I continue.
Predictably, my productivity has taken a plunge, though not so dramatically as one might think since I’d already been spending a good deal of time fantasizing about checking Facebook instead of concentrating on work. Hopeless case, this one. I suspect I’m not alone in struggling to put a cap on my creeping time given the relentless approach of finals. I can at least thank my lucky stars Spring Weekend’s come and gone – it’s tough enough to muster up my resolve and buckle down without a school-sanctioned shitshow staring me in the face and belting “Look at me, I’m fun!” at the top of its lungs. (I take it as a pretty clear sign to lay off the hallucinogens when abstract events start initiating dialogues.)
My only other major antagonist is an on-again off-again flirtation with crippling caffeine dependency. I’ve established this cycle where I’m either going cold turkey or throwing every last jittery chip into the fray, and suffice it to say my body is profoundly confused. If this dilemma wasn’t throwing my internal clock seriously out of wack, my schoolwork lineup would still be giving me trouble. I’ve got a feast-or-famine kind of paradigm going on where I’ve either got jackshit to do or I don’t close my eyes for three days, and it’s screwing with me royally.
Per such conditions, it’s been occurring to me recently that I might have been better off being born maybe a decade and a half earlier. As anyone who’s ever seen a Jim Jarmusch or Richard Linklater movie surely knows, the life of a vintage Gen X-er was a simple one, entailing little more than lying around all day, listening to badass indie music before indie became a brand name, and wallowing in copious amounts of existential ennui. We’re talking about an era where being a “slacker” is not only socially acceptable but a badge of honor, and if you’re really lucky you get Tom Waits or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins as the soundtrack to your life. In other words, I’d fit right in.
To this end, my regular Facebook procrastination found itself colored by a preoccupation with hipster icons of the ‘80s and early ‘90s. As my roommates are no doubt intimately aware, I harbor an explicable fascination with Jarmusch regular and Lounge Lizards frontman John Lurie, whose short-lived program “Fishing With John” is notable for such indelible images as Matt Dillon engaging in a tribal “fish pain dance,” Willem Dafoe rummaging through his coat pocket for cheese crackers, and Tom Waits shoving a red snapper in his pants. Having faced battles with Advanced Lyme Disease as well as a vicious stalker, Lurie dropped off the cultural map in recent years, so I was somewhat surprised to stumble upon his relatively open Facebook whilst dicking around.
This discovery prompted a conflict: should I proceed on my merry way or do the sketchy thing and try to friend him? Would the latter even be so sketchy given that tons of folks friend people they barely know on a frequent basis? Should I leave a little note with my request so he doesn’t think I’m just using his notoriety as an accessory, and am I doing so? (I suppose I should take into account that a lot of people I consider “famous” don’t register so much as a blip on most people’s radars, but still, the guy’s fairly well-known.) Am I way over-thinking this to the point where it’s becoming an ingenious procrastination outlet in itself?
That last inquiry probably has some merit, but I think it’s worth considering how the advent of YouTube and Facebook brings the whole notion of celebrity into question. When Joe Schmoe can become a viral sensation overnight, who’s to say what is and isn’t valuable, who is and isn’t accessible? With this in mind, I’m probably gonna go for it in the name of experimentation and boundary-testing if nothing else. Updates to come while I quest for other ways to avoid fruitful activity.
Justin Levesque can be contacted at