Oregano, Philip, come here. You too, Narnia.
With all my injections and stretches, I may look like I’m 45, but inside I’m feeling all of my 112 years. I’m not going to be around forever.
You know, I wasn’t always just an old man waiting for my pills to run out so my brain could be sent to a cryogenics facility, and my body burned as fuel.
I used to be as young and inactive as you. That’s right, kids. I also spent a lot of time looking at a screen, my eyes wide as I took in digital representations of the world around me.
Sit down, kids, so Grandpa can show you his old Facebook timeline.
Come, wheel yourselves near me while I transfer this file into you. Oh, your memories are full? All three of you? It is a pretty big file, I’ll admit it. 99 years of shares, posts, likes and comments. Turn off your ocular implants, would you? I’m going to project my timeline onto the wall.
Wowser, you see that? That was my very first share. What a funny cat video, and to think I would go on to watch, like and share 20,038 more videos of cats doing funny stuff. I sure did like funny things back then, so much that my friends called me “Mr. You Gotta Check This Out, Hilarious!” I mostly found amusement in videos, but I enjoyed the occasional meme, as well. Oh, the memes…
Oregano, are you even paying attention? What’s that? Oh, you’re watching two movies and the entire compressed third season of Bewitched 2100, chatting with 27 friends and playing 10 games? How about you free up a few piddly gigabytes so you can look at my timeline while you do that other stuff. Hey, I’ll pay you a hundred bucks, okay? Done. Money transferred.
Take a gander at this old video. I’ll be darned. That woman couldn’t park her car to save her life. She kept going back and forth, forward and reverse, but she just couldn’t parallel park. What a riot. That sure is a blast from the past. I really liked that video. I mean, I clicked the like button.
You’re very observant, Philip. Indeed, there is scary three-day gap in my timeline when I was fifteen. No updates. No news feed. Nothing. It was a time of great darkness.
No, World War II was long before that. Nope, I was well into adulthood when the electrical grids were blown up.
I don’t want to scare you kids, but times were difficult, and a lot of places didn’t have Wi-Fi. Entire parts of the country were blacked out, so much that you couldn’t even get a signal to check your email. We were stronger back then, and we survived.
No, I wasn’t kidnapped. My parents — your great-grandparents — forced me to go camping for three whole days, in a national park. Boy, was I ever steamed. I didn’t talk to them for a long time afterwards, not even when they offered to buy me an Apple corneal chip. It took a full week to catch up, to like and comment on everything.
I swore I’d never again go anywhere without Wi-Fi, and true to my word, I didn’t. And I never put your dear mother through any ordeal like that when she was young.
Where was I? Oh, the memes! They were so rudimentary back then. You kids have it easy today. They’re all generated by your MeChip and directly fed into your lifestream. Back in my day, some poor sucker had to literally “think” of funny text to superimpose on an image. Then he’d have to use his fingers — this was back when we still grew hands — to type it all up.
Narnia, get back here. You were rolling away. This is important. I want you to know about life back then. Don’t think I can’t see your ocular implants lighting up. You want some more money? Done.
How about we start by looking at everything I liked. I’ll make it snappy.
New profile pic of someone named Nina, don’t remember her. Hmm.
Post by Christian. “Why does it feel like Friday today? lmao.” What’s that, Oregano? You want to know who he is? How the heck am I supposed to remember? I had 2000 friends by the time I was 16. That’s why they invented the timeline, so we wouldn’t need to remember.
Photo of someone making dinner, liked it.
Clip of businessman beatboxing, liked it.
Someone else making dinner, liked it.
Someone eating dinner, liked it.
Quiz: “Which Protozoa Are You?” Liked it, and commented.
Article I never read, but I liked it.
Link to video I never watched, but liked it.
Another article, never read, but I liked it.
Liked that, don’t remember.
Liked that, don’t remember.
“This is shocking. You have to read this.” Liked, but don’t remember.
Upworthy article. That certainly dates me, doesn’t it? You’re exactly right, Oregano. News feeds everywhere started getting clogged with links to sanctimonious Upworthy articles, and people went bezerk. All across the country, they went on mad rampages. Upworthy got shut down by the feds, thankfully.
Narnia, take yourself off standby. I’m not done. Narnia, are you sleeping? Hello? Philip, can you switch your sister back on? Thanks. There you go. Fifty more bucks each. Transferred.
How did we decide what to write in a post to our friends, you ask? Why, from what I recall, we’d sit in front of our device, be it a tablet or a smartphone, since this was long before implants. I reckon we’d think about things we’d read or seen that day on the internet. We’d say to ourselves, “For a full 2.3 seconds, I enjoyed this amazing photo of Earth as seen from Mars, so much so that I’m deciding to share it with my entire network of friends.”
That’s right Philip, that is awfully quaint, but back then we had the option of keeping an experience or thought to ourselves. No, no, no — we couldn’t just plug into our friends like you kids do. We had to send messages to each other, to click a button. My fingers sure as heck could get cramped.
Narnia, do you need some sugar? Philip, feed her some Coke. What’s your problem, Oregano? Hey, get back here. All three of you. I’m not done. We’ve barely started. I still have over ten million likes to talk about. Don’t you want to see all the funny videos I shared in college? The 20,000 photos of the year I met your grandmother? It’s all amazing. Funny. And shocking. And unbelievable.
Oh well, I’ll just make a video and attach it to your own timelines so you can watch it later, when you’re free.