How Many ‘Likes’ Until I Can Show My Mom I’m Definitely Well Liked?
By Jane Harrison
This essay is part of a special series of content produced in conjunction with the live reading series Write Club in San Francisco.
Special thanks to curator and host Maggie Tokuda-Hall, who created an entire evening of female writers. Together we raised $1,000 (The Est. matched door donations) to be distributed among Homeless to Higher Ed and Girls, Inc.
I am almost up to 130 likes. At least 130 people like me. They think I’m smart. They’re mostly people from my hometown, but that’s okay, if they think I’m smart and cool and self-deprecating that just shows how much better I’ve gotten since I left.
Clickity click. Click click.
Let’s look at the project list. Poster? Waiting on pricing. Web ad? Waiting for feedback. Webpage for new powdered protein drink? Waiting on photography of new powdered protein drink.
Oooooo that noise feels good to the hole. The hole likes that noise a lot. The hole loves that noise. Let’s see, clickity click.
Brand-new email from Karen.
Hi Linda, it’s Karen,
(I know Karen, I can see your name and your email address)
Jen says she’s not sure if the copy should go below the line or above the line? Do you have any thoughts on this?
Honestly Karen, I have very few thoughts on this. Maybe two, probably one. I have a thought about those thoughts, so I guess that makes three thoughts. The first thought is that putting the copy below the line looks more visually pleasing to me.
The thought about that thought is, it probably doesn’t matter. Who really fucking cares? I guess that’s two thoughts about the first thought but whatever, semantics.
Delete, delete, delete delete delete.
Hi Karen. Below the line looks more visually pleasing to me, thanks for your help on this, Linda.
The hole is mad. I can feel it, it’s whining very loudly. It’s screeching, what’s next, what’s next?
Let’s look at the project list . . . all waiting. We could get more projects, but then we’d have a lot of projects. And then we’d be stressed about having too many projects, instead of anxious about having too few projects so, too few projects is better. The hole needs something though.
Clickity click on Firefox. Oh look at that, my hand automatically typed in f, and up it comes, how weird I didn’t even choose to do it.
Three notifications. That’s not bad. It’s not great either, but whatever, I don’t NEED them. The hole is slightly pleased. This story about talking to a crackhead has gotten 25 likes in the last hour. The story is funny and nice and self-deprecating so I look like a cool person who talks to crackheads, but also knows she’s not all that, because she like, doesn’t hate homeless people or get scared of black men on the street.
I’ll totally talk to a strange black man, even if he’s a crackhead, cause I’m chill and no one can say I’m racist. I didn’t even say that he was a black man in the post, how unracist is that?
I am almost up to 130 likes. At least 130 people like me. They think I’m smart. They’re mostly people from my hometown, but that’s okay, if they think I’m smart and cool and self-deprecating that just shows how much better I’ve gotten since I left. They’re probably sitting in their dumpy little Minnesota apartments, freezing their asses off and thinking about how well I’m doing since I moved to the west coast. They were super wrong about me, and now they get to daydream about my beautiful life in the Los Angeles sunshine, surrounded by celebrities and palm trees. They’ll press “like,” just to get a taste of the life they’re missing, my life.
I didn’t even say that he was a black man in the post, how unracist is that?
Although people from my old life are easier to please. They like everything. Kind of makes the likes worthless. My new friends haven’t liked it that much. They probably don’t like me that much. I wonder if I get enough likes, will they like me? How many likes until I can show my mom I’m definitely well liked? I bet if I got, like, 600 likes on a post, somebody would want to get me pregnant.
Someone got Karen pregnant. I’m sure she didn’t have to get 600 likes to make that happen. Okay, I’ll just put up this photo of me with Tony from Ava’s record release, because everyone loves Tony and we both look pretty attractive in this photo but he looks especially attractive, and then I’ll get the likes because people who love Tony will like any photo with him in it, and other people will like it so they can let everyone know they support Ava’s record release because her mom died a few months ago and anything you post about her gets a million likes.
Everyone will click a button under her name because they want Ava to know they are there are for her in this time of need. Then people will see how many likes I’m getting and it will be pretty hard to deny that I’m person who people like.
Is it my mail or my phone? Phone? Someone liked my self-deprecating tweet about masturbating. The hole likes this. The hole likes all of this. The hole knows that if strangers approve of the grosser things about us, then we’re safe and the hole will be safe.
People from my old life are easier to please. They like everything. Kind of makes the likes worthless.
Scroll down. Wow, bad things are happening. The hole doesn’t like this, this is stressful. Hole says nnnnnOOOO. I agree with everybody, but everybody is disagreeing. What do I think? I don’t know, it probably doesn’t matter what I think. The hole is angry, it doesn’t like feeling like people won’t like it if it doesn’t agree with them.
Ah, photo of a cat with bread on its face. Thank god. The hole knows no one will get mad at it for liking a cat with bread on its face. Retweet photo of cat with bread face. Although somebody would get mad because maybe the cat’s being abused and we should respect the cat’s right not to have bread on its face.
Yay, the hole is saved!
New mail from Karen:
Hi it’s Karen, (yes I know Karen)
Jen and I discussed it and it seems like the whole thing gets pretty heavy if we put the copy below the line. Do you have any thoughts on how we could balance it out?
Oh Karen, Karen, Karen. My thoughts are it looks better below the line. But you don’t like that thought, so I’ll just change my thought to your thought.
Delete delete delete.
Hi Karen, here’s what the copy looks like above the line. What are YOUR thoughts on this? Thanks for your patience, Linda
The hole knows that if strangers approve of the grosser things about us, then we’re safe and the hole will be safe.
HOLE HUNGRY FEED HOLE. Okay, jeez. Let’s see if we’ve gotten any life-changing emails on our personal account. TurboTax, bank statement, Fandango, Fandango, PayPal. No, the hole doesn’t like this, this reminds the hole you’re bad at deleting emails and that you give away your email address too easily. You’ve got 3,000 unread emails. That makes the hole feel bad.
Before we read this let’s just read all of my tweets from the last three months to remind myself I am an interesting person. HOLE SAYS NO. THESE AREN’T GOOD, YOU GOT SIX FAVES AT THE MOST AND THAT GUY YOU WANT TO FUCK ONLY FAVES YOUR TWEETS EVERY SIX MONTHS, AND THEY HAVE TO BE ABOUT FAST FOOD FOR HIM TO EVEN DO THAT.
Ok, fine, let’s go back to Karen.
Hi it’s Karen, (GODDAMNIT I KNOW KAREN)
Now it seems like there’s a lot of empty space below the line. Still doesn’t look balanced. Any ideas? Thanks,
The hole is moving. Something’s coming out of the hole:
“Here’s an idea. I’m just a fucking MONKEY KAREN. My dumb little body and my dumb little brain were made to get food but food is too easy to get where I was born so I figured out a game that gets me things that gets me food so that I could be not bored while I’m getting the food, but now I have to figure out if my game to get food is the game I really want to play. Is it the funnest game? Does the game make me feel special and happy? Now getting food has to make me happy. Not just having the food but the actual act of getting the food has to be ‘fulfilling’ and make me feel like I’m useful to society, and not useful to society in a general way, but in a way that makes it feel like no one else would be able to be useful to society in the way I am.
I could play the game of “pick up the most garbage,” or a fun one like “put bandages on people,” but if I’m not the best at picking up garbage or putting bandages on people, then getting the food won’t be enough. Otherwise I could be dead and it wouldn’t matter. But learning a new game is scary and I need to play ANY game to get the things to get the food, so I’m going to keep doing this game, and this game is apparently to move things around on a box filled with light until you FUCKING like it. DOES THAT SEEM BALANCED TO YOU KAREN!?”