What #Covfefe Means To Me
It’s pretty rare that I write about a social media trend. I’ve written articles about an entire platform, a world event as shared and experienced on social media, how it influences other media, like film or television. Well, I’ve written them — one of them was even published using real pulp and glue — but not under this handle.
But tonight, a person on my private Top Tweeters list made a specific comment about this whole covfefe debacle that sent my mind through an interesting journey of the last 24 or so hours, and I felt a need to share. This is not an article about a humorous definition of covfefe — though one will be mentioned later— but literally it’s about how this odd little news item has impacted my life in the last day or so, even though I officially missed the entire initial launch of covfefe as a ‘trending topic’ and a state of being.
So my last tweet before I left the computer yesterday was as follows.
For those unaware, one of the kinds of work I do is what I call my gig work. It’s stuff like one-off auditing or merchandising jobs, which I get off of apps like Merchandiser by Survey.com or Gigspot by Research Metrics. Instead of going through the normal hiring and training rigmarole, you just download the app, setup a profile, request a task, get it assigned, complete it and submit the information online, and then you get paid, generally through Paypal. Now it’s not instantaneous. Some apps process payment requests certain days of the month, some have a long wait time for paying — as long as 45 days. But with a little effort and skill, you can establish an ongoing stream of income from these tools.
I discovered this kind of work applying for a part-time merchandising gig on Craiglist — I was a full time merchandiser years ago, and I thought the scheduling flexibility, the extra money and the travel would be good fit for my financial, medical and physical-limitations situations. And while I’ve had difficulty establishing ongoing working relationships in my writing and web-content management work, this would involve fixed tasks, while getting me out of the house. Needless to say, my therapist is thrilled with the positive mental results.
So yesterday afternoon I went out to do a couple of audits. One had to be postponed until this morning, but I completed the other. Then I went home, submitted the information and had dinner with my family — at which point I decided that it was such a nice night that I would go out and do some hotel parking lot audits, that can be done whenever I choose. So I went to a community South down the Iowa side of the river, then jumped over and did some toward the middle of Illinois. It was a good night, that made me feel productive and a bit nostalgic.
And speaking of nostalgia and my therapist, one of the issues I have is remembering the good moments the moment they are gone, so we’ve started a new experiment, where I make audio recordings of good moments or special feelings I should try to reflect on. Here is one I made last night.
This is how I spent my evening, away from Twitter, and the initial fun and games of covfefe-gate. When I came home from my night out, this was the Twitter conversation that took place (ignore the typos, it was late).
So obviously, when I got this reply from Wendy, I had no clue what she was talking about, and I went to Google. I wish I’d taken a screenshot of the search results last night, but the main results I saw were the newly placed entry for covfefe on Urban Dictionary, and this article on Verge, Donald Trump’s cryptic covfefe tweet brought out the best in Twitter. Even though I missed the big covfefe event for work, not sleep, the Verge article felt quite personal to my confusion over seeing the word suddenly appear in my mentions.
My responses on Twitter were as follows.
Thus, I finished my work and went to bed, at around 4:30 AM, knowing I was going to have to be up the next day, around 9:30 AM. So I put the covfefe saga out of my mind and went to sleep. Well, it’s me, so I put it out of my mind and had a little brain-scape about adding a new character to The Librarians, and eventually fell asleep.
In the morning I didn’t even let myself check email. I knew I didn’t have time to mess around. I got up/dressed, packed my little cooler and clipboard, did my second gas audit, and then drove an hour — back to the same town in Illinois I’d been in the night before — for my Pulmonary Function Test.
While I was in the seating area, waiting for the Respiratory guy, I got a news alert on my phone about the next batch of 2nd Wave sets that LEGO Dimensions will be releasing — that game’s a big deal in my household. After reading about the upcoming Beetlejuice Fun Pack, I spotted a link to a CNN article about the covfefe conundrum, and clicked on it out of curiosity. I briefly jumped ahead, to read Al Franken’s excellent suggestion about what covfefe might actually mean, before going back to read the broader article on the subject. This passage stood out to me.
“Donald Trump doesn’t want a Jim Baker,” CNN’s Gloria Borger noted Tuesday night, speaking of the legendary chief of staff for both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. “He’s his own Jim Baker. And he’s his own strategist.”
That’s 100% right. Trump doesn’t think he needs advice. So changing the names of the people giving it to him doesn’t really matter.
Trump’s ongoing Twitter presence is a perfect example of all of this.
This was a major theme of the conversation later that day, when I was having dinner with my mother and sister, and I explained the events of the covfefe-klatsch of the previous evening. We all basically shared the sentiment in the article — he’s a 70 year old man who thinks he knows everything.
Most of us realize our own past ignorance more and more as we age. But Trump has managed to maintain the “I don’t need to be told nothing” angst of teenager well past the point where it was a frustrating but understandable repercussion of having a still developing brain. He’s a grown man who has never had to take the slightest real responsibility for his life or choices, and so continues to operate under the ludicrous notion that the world has nothing useful to teach or tell him — which goes double for the actual experts in his administration who can’t possibly know more than Trump The Magnificent.
My mother’s participation in this conversation is the most telling and interesting thing to note. Normally my mother is so apathetic about politics that she all but zones out when I bring up a story like this. But for her, Trump’s continued demonstration of having the mental and emotional maturity of a 10th grader has actually spurred her to awareness and concern. The way Donald Trump treats his job, his status and the functions of our government like a joke, has pushed her to more political interest than I’ve ever seen from her, in my (nearly) 42 years on this planet. Hell, I might even get her to vote in a few years!
And thus we come to the tweet that I saw in my Twitter feed tonight, that compelled me to share my experiences with the covfefe chaos, and elucidate how this little social media blip has illustrated our current political predicament with such sharp contrast.
Earlier I had noted some really silly comments from some people still hanging out in the way-back seat with Trump, calling this an example of “fake news” and mocking that the mainstream media was bothering to cover this non-story, while there are real things happening in the world. I can only assume that those people are referring to news like how long it took Trump to speak publicly about the heroic and tragic events in Portland, and how he very deliberately tweeted about it from the POTUS account not his own.
But somehow these people managed to miss what I, Nanette, CNN and my apolitical mother figured out pretty quickly. After Manchester, Baghdad, Portland and Trump’s utterly embarrassing behavior overseas in the last couple of weeks, we all needed to spend a few hours focusing on something fun, that would turn this miasma of pain and misery into something farcical and amusing. And let’s be honest, if there is one singular benefit to having this badly-wigged clown in charge of our country, it’s that we get to laugh at his buffoonery — like we did with Dubya before him, and Quayle, and Ford…
Trump’s strange social media behavior is most definitely real news, because each one of these bizarre actions is demonstrative of the kind of presidency he has had thus far — inept, ineffectual, baffling and laced with enough narcissism to make Kim Jong-il think, “Whoa, take it down a notch, dude.”
Speaking of Kim, I will close with another discussion that took place at dinner tonight — that it might be time for Trey Parker and Matt Stone to make another movie. Because after their roasting of Saddam Hussein in “Bigger, Longer, Uncut” and then Kim Jong-un in “Team America,” it would be the perfect trilogy round off to make a movie about Trump, Putin, Assange, Sessions, Comey, Kushner (I could go on but I won’t) and this whole sordid mess. Though they could probably recycle the Satan/Saddam relationship from BLU and apply it to the Trump/Putin pairing. I can absolutely picture a bobble-head image of Vladimir Putin telling a moping Donald Trump, “Hey, that is interesting, let’s fuck!”