Time Wasters

July 10, 2009

So I have a 9 to 5 job that involves sitting in front of a computer – who doesn’t these days. And like many office dwellers, I have found ways to pass the time; a little Facebook Scrabble here, some textsfromlastnight there, a Cracked or Pitchfork article in between. And God help me when it comes to twitter.

But one of the most entertaining of these sites is FML, whose last two initials stand for “my life” and hopefully the first one you can guess. This is pure schadenfreude, the horrible auditions of American Idol combined with the ball smacks of America’s Funniest Home Videos with a tiny dash of To Catch a Predator thrown in. If I feel bad laughing at these stories I only read the “most deserved” entries – there at least I seem to be part of some Karmic wheel of retribution. Besides, I suspect those people just want the attention, no matter the cost of public embarrassment.

So when I was recently linked to the website MyLifeIsAverage, I couldn’t imagine that it would be interesting. It sort of says as much in the title. I mean, I don’t waste my time playing the Sims, you know? Why would I want to read about these people doing what I’m doing.

But it is fascinating, in a sort of meta take on the social media that is the internet. By itself the website would not work. It requires the reader to understand the structure and terrain it exists in, its relation to other major milestones like FML.

Once you have that understanding, MLIA has its own sort of brilliance. Some of the posts are clear responses to items on FML, where the twist at the end of the vignette is that there is no twist. But the more sophisticated posts are the ones with the least subterfuge. They unfold with reassuring ease into a life that you already know:

Today I decided to clean up and organize my room. In the first drawer I cleaned out, I found my old gameboy with my favorite game in it. Instead of finishing my room, I played gameboy all day. MLIA “

MLIA is a mantra, whereas FML is a curse or a bemoanment. FML requires that everyone else either commiserate or say you deserved that one. MLIA is acceptance. It is the lotus path. It isn’t somebody shouting at you through the highspeed DSL “LOOK AT ME!” It simply is.

Today, I will post this article. And some people will read it. MLIA.