So, you want to go viral.
Like a human-virus hybrid.
As we all know, the most powerful means to procure happiness and joy and immortality and infinite opportunities for sexual appeasement and general god-hood come from one source.
And that source is virality.
That’s what it sounds like, anyway. The internet — that fount of reality and truth — keeps telling me it’s the case, so it must be. Right? Yes.
For being such an elemental and necessary part of the human condition, it’s an awfully new idea. I don’t think they really had a concept of virality much before the invention of the internet. You’re not supposed to think to hard about that, I think.
The true fact of the matter is, if you’ve never made something that went viral, then you aren’t a real person. That’s the basic rule. And until I get it into my head and truly dedicate myself to embodying the characteristics of the diseases that provide me the blueprint for improving my poor excuse for a life, then I will never be able to call myself a real person.
Which would be awfully discouraging, as a mere statement of fact. My odds of becoming somewhat akin to a contractible disease, as I must in order to be happy, decrease daily. There’s competition, you see. Only so many hours every day, and every day there’s at least a hundred thousand million babies born.
Or that’s what I’m told. Not that I’m good at numbers.
Fortunately for me, there are as many gurus of virality as I could ever want. A short Google search yields hundreds — thousands — of easily understood, step-by-step instructions that explain how to join this elite fellowship of halfway-towards-being-the-common-cold people who are more human than I am.
I have absorbed many of the teachings of these experts, these masters of the mystery of virality. And I won’t go so far as to say that they advise selling your soul for fame, but if you infer that’s what I mean then I won’t stop you.
Because the thing is…the advice sounds good. They always say things like, “tell people useful things,” and “use a catchy title,” — it should be “catching” title, am I right? — and they’ll always advise you to find a curiosity-inspiring picture. There’s always some numbers — follow these seven easy-to-learn tricks, and you too will earn your place on FEMA’s pandemic’s watch list. And they guarantee — guarantee — virality inside of some incredible time scale. You know, “go viral in thirty days or less.”
Which isn’t too unrealistic an expectation if your creative model is hyper-infectious diseases, I suppose.
We’ve all seen a few of these in our time. In this day and age it’s hard to avoid them. They all say the same thing, when you get down to it.
They say, change what you do, do what I do instead. People like what I do. They don’t like what you do. See? Look at these million people who came to see what I do.
Because a million people have never been wrong before. Or never been bored before, anyway.
So far as I can tell, when you break their formula down to its most basic parts, it goes like this: Timeliness plus pandering equates to evolving to the next stage of life form, which is the human-virus hybrid.
Which isn’t selling your soul. Not in so many words. It depends what you value as your soul, I suppose.
So here’s the thing, I may not have much soul left, but what soul I do have left I am going to wager against the last real thing I need to be happy, which is the apotheosis that comes with evolving into a human-virus hybrid.
I am going to apply the formula.
Step one: Write something timely.
What’s more timely than complaining I’m not as famous as I think I deserve to be? Box checked.
Step two: Catchy title and picture.
I would certainly check out a story called whatever I called this with a picture so universal, yet vaguely emotional. Scientific analysis completed. Moving on.
Step three: write well!
Everyone wants to read something that’s easy to read. But not too well! If you’re too intelligent then you’ll confuse people. I’ve got this step figured out solid, for I am a clever writer, to be sure, but I am also far from being brilliant. I tread that thin line between “smart” and “dumb.” Perfect!
Step four: Include a lesson that everyone can apply to their lives.
I think I’ve already covered that: aspiring to be a human-virus hybrid will make you happy.
Step five: wait for apotheosis.
If it was this easy all along, I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.