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October 7, 2013 | by  | in Features |
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Yesterday morning, I accidentally sent an email that simply said “~~U R SUCH A GAY~~” in size-250 italicised lilac Baskerville to 20 or 30 unintended recipients. The person I’d meant to receive it would have appreciated it as the natural progression of a joke we shared. Instead, I hit the wrong thing, emotionally prolapsed and wept on my keyboard. Maybe it happened because I lost my EFTPOS card early that morning and spent the day nicotine-deprived and hungry. I was bummed out because I knew that the people I had sent the email to wouldn’t find it entertaining in the slightest. Some of them would consider it a serious challenge to their sexuality, while others would assume I was a homophobe and committer of digital hate crimes. The thing is, even in the abstract, I still think that email is funny. It’s admittedly a stupid kind of funny, but even thinking about it, I giggle. A lot of time is devoted to either validating or disproving the idea that life is an unnecessary struggle. I’d say that if it is a struggle, it’s because there are very few people with whom you share some very essential things.

Maybe what I’m getting at is that I just really don’t like it when people make you feel weird, like an invert, for doing something harmless. It might just be an adulterated form of self-consciousness, but I think it might be a slightly different thing. A movement of the eyes, a shake of the head: it takes very little for someone to make you feel like you shouldn’t have done whatever inconsequential thing you just did.

I’m not sure that a real person can avoid this. That said, there are some larger-than-life people who might serve as good maps for attempting to do so. Ahmed Angel is one of them. If you’ve missed out on him, let me give you a primer. He’s an Iraqi medical student slash part-time model whose Facebook page is a catalogue of himself posing coquettishly in vinyl bodysuits with clipart tigers and planets. He writes long, nonsensical missives to his followers who respond adoringly. In regard to his weight, Ahmed writes that “…With my height I continued to the doorstep of heaven with pride in myself and my dignity . My weight like a feather when I am happy and joy , but my weight like a mountain when I have adversity in life and exam . I defend about the truth and justice .” Yes, it might (absolutely) be the work of someone in Michigan, but I appreciate it all the same. Even as a comic character, Ahmed’s insouciant pout and seeming assurance that he really is the best person in the world despite the fact that by every measure imaginable the opposite is true suggests that if, perhaps, he were to send an email out to everyone on his Facebook friends list that screamed “~~U R SUCH A GAY~~” in size-250 italicised lilac Baskerville, he wouldn’t bat an eyelash. He would be secure in the knowledge that it was unimpeachably funny and that even if people thought it was the work of a lunatic, hey, it was their loss.

My point, if I have one, is something like this: being emotionally invested in the approval and confirmation of people that you don’t particularly like is very human, and it’s very tiring. Being myopic and self-involved aren’t qualities to treasure in people, but being so attuned to the feelings of others that your own aren’t being properly catered to is a waste of time. Don’t let them win.

Be awful instead. It works for me. Sometimes.


Patrick Hunn has been a feature writer for Salient this year. He is currently completing a BA majoring in Misanthropy and the Internet.

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