Writing some variation of a long-winded think piece about you turning 25 years old seemed like an inevitable brain wave adventure this week. One of those articles riddled with would’ve/could’ve/should’ve/hyperlinks—maybe mix in a last gasp to a final exhale that explains, in serious (?) detail, why the world should explode tomorrow now that Gawker is finished. Boom, man! So many booms! My expertise of judgmental 20/20 hindsight spewing from my fingers to the shinny screen in front of me as quickly as the (sometimes hypocritical) thoughts would pass, I imagined the post would get recommended and enthralled readers would come knocking on my profile’s follow button.
Then, I saw this:
I changed my mind.
You are great. And that gorilla spinning itself into a drunken happiness is proof enough for me—and it should be enough for you, too (and U2), and everyone else. Y’all praise it, now. Shit. You are an invention for the ages, sort of like the wheel, air conditioning and helmets…but it goes beyond these generic examples simply because of what you provide—I can learn about the invention of air conditioning by watching you, while also watching a crazy cat spin a wheel, while also watching a NFL investigation on helmets, and so on.
Think I’m wrong? Google it. (Or check yo’self!)
You are for all ages, too. I’m not saying the level of understanding is equal, but the gist of you is basically the same as a Rubik’s Cube: Grandma and grandpa have the same opportunity as their grandchildren to use you. Whether they get you or not, hate you or not, can solve you more quickly, or they are stuck in the sand and getting a proverbially stubborn rash, it is nothing more than a reflection of the subjective. You are there…if they want you to be. (PS: I hope you’re cool with being compared to a Rubik’s Cube, by the way; the last thing I would want is for you to go Superman 3 on me and turn my sister into a robot or kill Superman (and I don’t mean like the one starring Nicholas Cage.)
And, outside of places that deliver food or perhaps amateur porn producers, it’s arguable that writers have benefited the most from you. If you can’t tell by now, I’m a writer. I’m a big deal—well, to me, anyway. I’ve got opinions and the uncanny ability to form them into fun sentences—that aren’t always grammatically correct. (I’m not an editor. I’m a writer.) I’ve written hundreds of articles and have changed the world from red and blue to a nice shade of purple. When I’m feeling lazy, I’ll do a list or some fun ranking. Yes, yes, I write mostly about sports, but I’d like to think my sweet-ass, obscure movie references that I sprinkle into any given article change people’s days to the Pay it Forward level of a Haley Joel Osment and Burned Kevin Spacey.
Remind me to explain what you’ve done for baseball’s Hall of Fame. Not now, though. No. Right now, I want to talk about me, as it relates to you, and what you’ve done for writers.
Sure, newspapers are great and the writers who fill up the pages are equally great. But your creation has made writing substantially more interesting. And by interesting, I mean lucrative. Money, as you know, is only a horse’s tooth ahead of fame at death’s finish line, which you’ve made obtainable for writers, too. Like the days of people with flags and open land to the West, all you need is a computer—your own, a café’s, your mom’s—some out-of-the-box ideas, mixed with hell-bent desire and perseverance, and the possibilities to supplant your claim as important are endless.
Even if you aren’t a great writer, you have been an amazing tool for achieving scribe employment. That might be the best part of your creation. GIFS (is it really pronounced like the peanut butter?), YouTube videos, Tweets, Instagrams, Vines, Vimeos, Snapchat grabs, screen shot after screen shot…there is so much material—visuals, dude—that can be cut and pasted into an article in place of actual words. It keeps things short and sweet, staying in line with the attention spans…oh hey, look! This dog from Australia likes to get the mail from the Postman. Cool.
Oh shit, sorry. (Walked right into that one, I guess.)
Anyway, these days it’s not uncommon to find an article that has more pictures and other visually fun, clickable-type elements than it does words.
And I’m OK with that.
Take that gorilla, for example. I could have written the opening to this letter, placed that GIF (where I did), followed that with the “I changed my mind” line, and then published it—with proper SEO tags, of course. And presto! Short and sweet…short enough that you don’t have to pause the show because the commercial break ended. One million views and 25,000-plus retweets later, I’ve got my own talk show.
Thank you, Internet, and happy birthday.