There is a Tide in the affairs of men, which when placed in the washing machine causes your whites to become astonishingly white. No? Nothing? I was quite proud of that. Clearly I cannot win you back with transcendent humour. This should have been made clear to me by what happened last night. I suppose you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, or give a new dog old ticks! Wow. Okay I apologise. No more jokes. I’m going to swiftly get to the point and spare us both further embarrassment.
I am sorry for recommending an unfunny YouTube video. Last night’s party was a successful ‘rage’ as they say. Exactly the right amount of people who were invited turned up. The ones that had to be invited but were unwanted happened to cancel, and the extra people that always turn up as plus ones happened to be interesting. For all intents and purposes, this was a well planned and well balanced party. People talked, a few people danced, most people reminisced about previous parties and some people laughed. No one declared their views of the world or of the political climate. All was indeed well.
However, as it is true with parties and also with life, things began to wind down. Some people left owing to the weariness that age brings, others made excuses to go and mate with other party goers and one person simply slept in the balcony with gay abandon. This left only the real stalwarts in the party. The last few determined bunch, you and I and some other people, who don’t get out much and insist on seeing parties through to their bitter, inevitable end -breakfast. Some sort of breakfast with sausages, with an unfathomable amount of grease and enough sodium to sing the batman theme song (sorry). Now as is with all social occasions, someone suggested that we watch a funny video of something they had just seen. It’s super funny and we wouldn’t believe how funny. Everyone seemed excited to do this except you and I. We looked at each other with understanding in our eyes. We knew where this was going, we knew what this party was becoming -a YouTube party.
A YouTube party is a subset of a regular party, usually occurring at the tail end of the party. The YouTube party itself forms out of a lack of conversation or by someone genuinely believing that their knowledge of funny videos on the internet somehow is an extension of their personality. This person usually is pair bonded with someone who looks at them with love and understanding every time they play a video, saying something like “oh, you know him! He’s such a character! Knows the best videos!” They then hold hands and spend the rest of their lives watching each other watching things. It is with great disdain that I look upon these people and their ways. Which is why, when the YouTube party began, I rose to my feet and prepared to leave.
My attempts at PrExit (party exit) were stymied by the realisation that this was my house and I couldn’t make an excuse and leave my own house. I sat down sadly and watched the YouTube party begin to form around me. It did not start terribly. Rahul and Neha, named by their parents by watching Bollywood movies had grown to become vacuous and common. First Rahul put on a video of a funny song that everyone in the world had obviously seen. It was over a year old, an monstrous age in internet years. I sighed as the ruin of my party began. Everyone had obviously seen this song. They would become restless and gradually leave the party, never to speak to each other or me again. I looked at all their faces and tried to seal this moment in my mind. The last time I would see my friends. I started formulating strategies on how to meet new people. What should I do? How had I met this particular batch of friends after the last YouTube party had severed my ties with my old gang.
However, a miracle took place. Some how, everyone began to laugh and chuckle at this funny song. I leapt on a side table in shock. There were genuine sounds of laughter and enjoyment in my house. My friends were really behind the times. People slapped Rahul on the shoulder and congratulated him on his hilarious choice. Neha looked at him with glowing admiration and said “oh you know he just likes the stuff. I don’t know where he finds it!”
Where did he find it? How about the internet, one year ago? A time of different memes and unintelligible, backward lingo. As everyone congratulated Rahul, I burned with anger and everyone’s ignorance that was propelling this undeserved praise on Rahul. But I kept it inside, being a good host and a humble man. Then I watched in horror as Rahul loaded the next video, a criminally old compilation of dogs interacting with babies. More than one hundred million people had seen this badly stitched together montage of golden retrievers and the offspring of rich caucasians. Surely everyone here had seen this!? Surely.
I almost screamed in horror. People were emitting sounds of first recognition. This video was a new event in their lives. More people slapped Rahul on the back. This was getting ridiculous. He was not cool, I knew about this video way way way way way before. That’s why at the end of the video as Rahul got up to play the next one and people hypothesised when he would stop with his recommending brilliance, I stepped forward. See I had just that morning seen a video, a video that was obscure and contained a high level of comedy. It was only shared amongst a secret Facebook group of which I am a part. A group where we only revel in things that few people have seen and discard popular videos which every Tom Dick or Rahul can recommend. I marched slowly to the front. The video that I was recommending was an avant parody of YouTube videos. I had snorted into my coffee mug that morning and made a mental note to share it on my exclusive Facebook group.I loaded the video and stepped back to revel in the glory. I cast a sideways glance at Rahul and Neha to show them this is how it was done.
That video was to be my undoing.
There was silence. No one laughed, everyone looked uncomfortably at each other. Was it not funny? It was funny! However as I watched it again it did seem much less funny, far less funny in fact then when I had watched it alone. What had changed? I hoped for it to finish quickly, so I could load up the next video, but then gazed in horror at the running length of the video. Seventeen minutes. I began to make my way forward to laugh and pause the video, to do something, anything, but I felt paralysed. Paralysed by the silence. Paralysed by the discomfort. Somewhere around the eight minute mark I began to edge forward to shut it off but that was when you cleared your throat. You got up to leave, and everyone followed suit.
Everyone left, and I made them leave. All because of my desire to be the best YouTube video knowing guy, all because I was hasty.
Rahul was the only one who stayed until the end of the video. He wasn’t even watching the screen, he was watching me. After the video ended he clapped a single time, and then left. I was ashamed. I am still ashamed of my behaviour and only ask you for one more chance. One more opportunity to be a better person who shows you funny videos. I have prepared an exhaustive list of one hundred videos that are funny beyond belief. I would not say this lightly. I have worked tirelessly and I think I’m finally ready. Ready to redeem myself, ready to be on top once again. Ready to win you back.
What are you doing tonight?