In 2015, I did not do much. For at least nine months of this year (nonconsecutive), I quietly gestated a celebrity baby on my own time, but the thing that I hold most dearly this year would have to be the fact that
Jonah was my intern.
Jonah was my intern.
Jonah was my intern.
The beginning of 2015 was an exciting time. I was working two places I loved, there was someone who was writing a lot of acoustic songs about my feet and I didn’t know Jonah the intern.
Until I did.
On January 9, 2015, I hire Jonah. At this time, Jonah is eighteen and I accurately declare him the “smallest person to ever walk the earth.” These allegations were sometimes accompanied with a long shake of the head followed by a “so small, so small.”
For the first few months of his employ, Jonah flies under the radar.
Maybe because he’s small, maybe because he’s a recovering circus performer, but probably both.
All my other interns grow restless. Why has Jonah received special favor? Is it because he is small? Is it because he is a circus performer? Is it because he is actually neither and I once overheard him mumble “fuck” when he stubbed his toe in a door? It’s all of these things and more.
In May, it becomes clear that in addition to being terrible, Jonah intends to climb the corporate ladder of the nonprofit regional comedy theater world. To this I say Jonah, calm down, but rest assured that I will pour all my efforts into this, most of it unbeknownst to you.
As if to thank me for this thing that he is not aware of, Jonah notably attends one of my Bullshit Endeavors in June of this year. It is after 9PM, and I assume after his bedtime, but Jonah the intern stays awake the entire time like the adult he can be prosecuted as.
Jonah’s interests include: saying expletives while on the job as if daring his employer to reinstate corporal punishment as a company policy, improvisational comedy, breaking my heart.
When I tell Jonah I am leaving the state, he truly could not care less. At my going away party, he refuses to let me smuggle him into a bar, my final test for him. The test was not, as many suspected, whether he would resist my peer pressure and make the responsible choice. The test was whether he was a true Loser, and he absolutely passed.
In August 2015 I moved across the country to escape the series of micro-aggressions Jonah the intern had launched me in spite of all I had done for him, but continually received dispatches of his progress. The city of Boston, it would seem, did not wish for my happiness.
They wanted the worst person I had ever known to be a constant presence and reminder that no matter who I was or what I did, I would never be valued as a cis-normal straight white woman but instead as the idiot who hired Jonah the intern.
In October, two full months of living independently of my intern Jonah, I made a momentary lapse by allowing him back into my professional life. As usual, he was supremely unimpressed and very rude about the whole ordeal.
2015 was a marked improvement in Jonah’s improvisational comedy career, with many of my sources noting his performances were “fuckin’ tight” and “grounded relationships as hell.” Here’s Jonah doing something, I don’t know what, but does it matter?
That was nice. Jonah only got one press write-up in 2015, and it was in a Facebook post that has since been deleted.
It was Thanksgiving and I was feeling conflicted — somehow thankful that Jonah used to be my intern, but moreso that it was finally over. It was to be the last moment of peace I’d have for the remainder of the calendar year.
I woke up on December 8th as I would any other morning, by gently rolling off of the mattress that I sleep on the floor and avoid the amateur rappers who are renting my couch out on Airbnb for reasons that my roommate is fabricating but is actually because she’s stolen my deposit money and we’re too polite to have a real argument about it. It’s this day that I learn that we can appreciate the success of others while still holding them in deep contempt.
I called into work and began drinking. Jonah the intern was filling out his Common Application in pursuit of becoming a college-going circus person, and had not thought to ask me, his champion and the person who feared him the most. He asked my coworker Mac.
I responded the only way I knew how, which was putting my entire life on hold.
Off the record, Jonah and I reconciled, but broken bones can heal crooked, or something, I have never broken a bone and may not even have them at all.
Even with the Common App schism ostensibly resolved, the insistent rudeness persisted. It appeared that no matter where I went, Jonah was there being a tiny teenage bully, slapping the figurative lunch money out of my hand.
On December 26th, Jonah the intern turned nineteen years old, with nothing but promise and a lifetime of me hating him to look forward to.
I remember when I was nineteen and had nothing but promise and a lifetime of me hating myself to look forward to.
In the end, I informed Jonah that the twenty-sixth of December was literally just another day to me, free of meaning and free of his influence. Once again, he did not care.
It was time to grow up and admit that #JonahCulture was dead. I reflected on the series of systemic failings that had cost me the hold I had on my own life. Had I made the right decision by leaving my home? Would #jonahculture, like Sean the Intern and Maisie the Intern culture before him, be cyclical? Sometimes things should be left in a specific moment in time, destined to move no further.
Maybe this was what I needed to learn in 2015. After many days of deep thought, little showering and virtually no food intake besides cake frosting, I had finally found my peace with the saga that had dragged me within an inch of my sanity.
But sometimes life has a way of surprising you.
On December 30th, Jonah the intern sends me a rude but accurate characterization of my haircut, and it all comes back. The email I received in early December 2014 asking me to interview Jonah. The fact that I ignored it because I was busy texting my friends about the romantic MP3s about my feet I was receiving. Remembering to interview Jonah after Christmas, and the way my life had spiraled since.
In the end, the amount of times you engage with #jonahculture on the Internet is equal to the amount of contempt Jonah has for your new haircut, no matter how insecure you are about it.
No, Jonah the intern. Thank you.