During the holidays, a friend of mine wanted to see me do stand-up while he was in New York. I said yes and gave him the start-time (11 p.m.), the name of the club, and arranged for his name to be on a reservation for free tickets. The day comes and I get a series of text messages that start with him asking where the show is, then asking more specifics, such as the cost of drinks. Then he sent another, mentioning that he thought the show might be a bit late for his taste. Eleven texts in total to hammer out details that had already been established days ago, one of them being to point out an irrelevant inconvenience. That’s okay, and I like this friend. I’m glad he could come. But eleven texts to confirm things that had already been established? My God. Now, I haven’t conducted a Gallup poll, but I’m guessing that about a third of you are ambivalent to my story. To that third, good for you — you’re either so kind that these things don’t bother you or you’re so egocentric and removed that serial killing is not out of your life plan options. Both are great. Right now, though, I’m speaking to the other 66 percent, the group of people who have this friend, the ones who tell a friend the name of the bar and then get eleven texts asking for details already hashed out, such as the address. The ones who then start googling all of these details, with their battery draining and their service sucking as they start to wonder, “Why the fuck can’t this guy google it himself?” The ones who will then spend the next hour mad at their friend but mostly at themselves for getting annoyed with such small details.
We have a national crisis on our hands. There is a large swath of humanity — our friends — which constantly needs an extra step taken for them. If you tell them to come to a party at a certain time, they’ll ask you the next day what time they should come. If you send them an email with the details of a bachelor party, they’ll text you a month later asking for the details of the bachelor party. If they’re told to bring $20 to help cover the cost of the alcohol, they will not bring $20 because they forgot, or they didn’t care, or whatever the fuck reason. I can’t stand it. It consumes me. I wake up in the middle of the night screaming for justice, my brow thick with sweat, my boner so confused.
If you’re wondering why I’m so angry, it’s because I see it like this: these “step friends” (a friend who takes an extra step — copyright patent pending JTrain Productions, LLC) are parasites. I do not mince words. This country was founded on the principles of self-actualization. It’s our duty as Americans, nay, humans to establish a path in this life as an individual. There is family, yes, and community and friendship, and these things are beautiful and meant to inspire and help you along your journey. But if you are the type of person who asks “Where is this place?” five minutes after I text you the location’s name, then you are the type of person who takes more than he gives. You are on the drip of friendship welfare. You are a smudge of excrement on the American dream, an embarrassment to the humble courage of your ancestors who came here looking for a better life. If they looked down from heaven and saw the iPhone with Google Maps in your hand as you texted “Where is this place?” they would turn away, ashamed. They would beg God to kill you painfully.
I know, too, there is a complicating factor at work. Not all “step friends” are the way they are simply because of incompetence or selfishness. There’s a real anxiety there for a lot of them. I believe some of them are constantly confirming already established details because they have a fear of abandonment, a fear of being alone in a bar or feeling foolish or frustrated that they could potentially miss out if they don’t get the details exactly right. And to them I say, “Boo hoo, oh well, that’s fucking life.” Sometimes you’re going to be alone, and sometimes you’re going to be wrong. The world will keep spinning. It’s not everyone else’s job to give you the confidence and ability to get to a movie on time. I am not your life concierge. You know what would have happened if your great grandpappy Seamus got on the boat from Ireland and was like, “Oh, I was supposed to bring food? Geez! No one reminded me!”? He would have fucking died. The world used to have consequences. It’s about time we started acting like it still does.
So no, Gary, I’m not texting you the fucking address again..
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