The Social Nitwit

OR An Uncomfortable Journey of Self-Re-Discovery Along Facebook Timeline

OR The Well of Self-Hatred Never Runs Dry

A Blast From Your PastI have recently been forced on a walk down memory lane, taken an unsolicited journey of self discovery, and suffered a deeply personal history enema. That last metaphor is one of mine. I wonder if it’ll catch on?

If you’re blissfully unaware, the social networking giant Facebook has forced all its peons into a regimented new system. Some people are born with Timeline, some people achieve Timeline, and some people have Timeline foisted upon them. I am of the latter subset, and we’re all quite annoyed about it. We’re the upset subset.

Those for whom Social Networking is a fun, active pastime will already have jumped at the chance to have a big splash picture accompanying their head-in-a-square, but for the rest of us (the Resistant, the Hesitant and the Uninterested) Facebook Timeline is now the best option out of a choice of one. For someone who is depicted to be the face at the forefront of the future,1 Zuckerberg seems to be obsessed with the past – specifically that time a few months ago before Faceberg went public and everyone could see exactly how financially ramshackle it is.2

Zuckerbook’s newest bright ideaTM charts your history on the site, as well as extending deep into the past to your birth, or if your parents are a particular type of Facebucker, your conception. It’s intent was presumably to provide users with a personal history book, celebrating their life’s achievements and zeniths and witty statuses and offering a nostalgic stream of highlights: your very own Greatest Hits record.

What it actually is is a perfect time-capsule of your lowest lows and most public failures.

I’m on Facebook, and I can just about stand it. I’ve avoided many of the archetypal Social Lepers that plague the site.3 I have my own uses for the network; my favourite thing about social networking is that it allows me to add a numeric value to my popularity and measure it accordingly.4

Now, however, I am confronted with all my past misdeeds, evidence of arseholery and endless, increasingly demoralizing photographs of my own nauseating face. According to the Grand Exulted Overlord Zuckerberg and all his little wizards, I had until August the 8th to systematically delete all that I’m ashamed of, which is everything.5

Through extensive research into the last five years, I have discovered that I am an astronomical prick.6

To be honest, I suspected this already, but I’ve learned that it’s true for for an entirely different set of reasons than previously thought. I’ve had to sit down and ask myself some very serious questions:

  • Why is past-me such a prat?
  • When did I stop being such a prat?
  • Will future-me look back at this in five years time and think that present-me is a prat? (Definitely.)
  • Is there anything I can do to quell the righteous self-hatred of future-me in advance?
  • Does voicing these thoughts make me look as mental as I think it does?
  • Is future-me a delusional mental prat too?


Anyway, you didn’t come here to read my witterings – you came here for salacious secrets and uncomfortable truths.7 Without further ado; may I present what I believe is my first proper blog-list:

Uncomfortable Truths and Lessons Learnt About Myself due to Obligatory Facebook Timeline

  • I joined Facebook to play a pirate game with my friend Paul. That game has escalated into a hideous social networking beast that I am unable to slay. I am not a pirate and neither is he, so on top of that, it was futile.
  • Apparently, a relationship, however farcical, is a more important life event than meeting all but two of my best friends, living with said best friends, going to university, winning an award for my design work and meeting four of my heroes. A relationship is on par with being born.
  • I was at one point deemed worthy of a relationship.
  • I can now calculate precisely how long said relationships lasted for, and judge myself accordingly.
  • My last girlfriend has managed to delete our existence as a Facebook-Official couple long before I had timeline forced on me. This is annoying because I wanted to do it.
  • Alcohol does horrible things to me. (Refer to previous point.)
  • I only learned to spell/communicate without resorting to slang in 2008, or maybe I was bring ironic. Irony does not age well, and I look like a moron.
  • I twice did those bullrubbish cryptic statuses that don’t mean anything. Fortunately no one cared.
  • I cared about my old band for much longer than was necessary or welcome.
  • The flyers that I designed for bands five years ago are so depressingly untalented that I deserve to be disemboweled, or at least sacked.
  • McDonalds warrants a status update.
  • It snows occasionally, and I recorded it for posterity. Nobody else ever does this so it’s a good job I did.
  • I have only been funny since April 2010. Thanks to FB, my first joke told to the public is preserved for posterity. Unfortunately, it is topical, so it is no longer funny.8
    Here it is. It concerns the run-up to the last British general election. Gordon Brown was the Prime Minister Incumbent and ‘The Mirror’ is a particularly unethical tabloid rag.

The First Time I Tried to be Funny

  • In 2010, I thought this was funny:

I'm Hilarious

  • I still think that’s funny. I’m bringing it back.9
  • In February 2011 I went to an art exhibition so shit it became a ‘life event’.
  • Best Friend Dan and I had an impromptu hat making competition in honour of the Royal Wedding in April 2011. Mine was three feet tall and had a paper Will and Kate and a banner saying ‘Eee! It’s a Right Royal Wedding Celebration Hat’ on it and a tiny crown on a stick as its centrepiece. It was a hat so awesome it had it’s own hat. Dan’s was a plastic sandwich carton with some penlids in it stuck to his head with tape. I do not regret this at all.
  • In late 2010 I spent four consecutive nights chronicling the adventures of the homeless people who camped in the band stand in the park over the road from my flat. They would do a lot of drugs and sing Lady Gaga and Bohemian Rhapsody til 3am. One of them shat in another’s sleeping bag.
  • I have dreadful posture.
  • I have dreadful haircuts.
  • I have dreadful fashion sense.
  • I have dreadful taste in everything.
  • I am pathetic and have achieved nothing.

Thanks a lot, Zuckerballs.

1 Because Justin Timberlake said so, and as we all know, The Social Network was 100% accurate.

2 Can you smell that satire? It smells good doesn’t it. Want to come back to my place and take a sideways look at the week’s news?

3 Here’s a checklist: the Excitable Superfan, the Activist, the Evangelist, da GramMMartick CRimmiNul, the Over-Sharer, the Promoter, The Self-Fetishist, The Passive-Aggressive Problem Child, the Comedian LOL, the Fundamentally Unstable Relationship, the 24-Hour Party Person, the Chest-Exhibitor, the Twat, etc. Please comment and add your own!

4 ‘If the numbers go up, you’re having more fun!’ – Calvin off of Calvin & Hobbes.

5 I could leave, but I don’t hate Facebook nearly half as much as I do Twitter, and anyway, how else would I show all my nemeses and ex-girlfriends that I’M DOING FINE.

6 Not literally – an astronomical prick would be hideous. It probably is a constellation though…

7 Unless the opposite is true, in which case you’re about to be sorely disappointed.

8 This is another sample of satire, however, it is two years old. Satire does not age well. It still smells, but now it smells like a stale trump. Or Donald, as he’s known to his friends. HELLO! We’re back in the game!

9 I’m also bringing back the phrase ‘bringing it back’.


Fun With Time Travel

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that December the 8th is International Pretend To Be a Time Traveller Day. I’ve come here today from the future to tell you about it six months in advance so you can all prepare properly, and thus avert a horrible future where I celebrate alone1 with a foil hat and a cardboard box.2

On December the 8th you will have a licence to mess with people. You can run up to strangers, ask them what year it is, and then shout ‘THEN THERE’S STILL TIME!’3 You can dress in a tin foil uniform and try and arrest people for having their own thoughts and feelings. (Outlawed in the future, you see?) You can even don your most resplendent Victorian finery and say ‘Blimey!’ at electronic goods. Bonus points if you pick up a toaster and say ‘crumbs’.

TIME TRAVEL! Where will you go? Space? Prehistoric Times? Luton?

TIME TRAVEL! Where will you go? Space? Prehistoric Times? Luton?4

If I was able to time-travel, I would go back in time to find my eight-year old self, and  make unsettling prophecies. I think I would start proceedings with one of the best sentences a human can possibly say; ‘Don’t be alarmed – I’m you from the future’, and then I’d move on to a cryptic, ominous warning; something like ‘beware the cycloptic man!’

Would my past self heed the warning? How would it be understood? Prophecies are never explicit, unfortunately, and are often open to interpretation. Would past-me reason that the emphasis like on the one visible eye, and would I develop a deep-seated dread of pirates, the 2012 Olympic Mascots and people who wink a lot?5 Or would my younger self understand that the important part was the functioning eye, and develop an irrational fear of the visually impaired, which would be mightily insensitive of him, the prick.

What a winker.

What a winker.

Also, would I, the future self, instantly feel the impact of a long-held dark thoughts, instilled at a young age? Would my life differ? Would some of my memories change? Perhaps, in an alternate timeline, my resentment of pirates lead to me avoiding open water, and as a result I never learned to swim and drowned in an apple bobbing contest one Hallowe’en.

Eventually, I would reach the age I was when I went back in time in the first place, and realise that nothing happened between the two points to justify my future-self’s warning. As I complete the loop, I would realise exactly how much of a grade-A arsehole I am. I would then have to go back in time to begin the cycle again, this time with an omniscient self-hatred at the task I have to do.

Instead, I would then go back in time and undo it all, and I would also not write a blog that makes insensitive jokes about the singularly sighted.

The Insurmountable Calvin and Hobbes

A Calvin and Hobbes reference is always appropriate. (© Bill Watterson)

What would you do if you could travel through time? Would you come back? What if you couldn’t? Would you change the past? Would you try and get off with your mum like Michael J. Fox?

1 Not a euphemism.

2 Still not a euphemism.

3 If someone does that this year, and is dressed as a Mayan, for God’s sake follow them and help out.

4 If you know what this is an obscure reference to, we should be Actual Best Friends.

5 Our mascots are named Wenlock and Mandeville, which co-incidentally are the names of Simple Joe’s testiballs. His penis is called Batman.