Everyone had been asleep when the meaning of life left a comment on his or her blog. “I feel so weird doing this,” the meaning of life said. “I’ve never left a comment on someone else’s blog before, but what you wrote about the taste that refreshes--it moved me. Then I read everything else you wrote starting with ‘Everyone Starts a Blog,’ and I couldn’t help but cry. All this stuff about me--I mean, you really think that much of me? I wanted to send you an e-mail, but I couldn’t find your address or your apparent earlier messages. I remember them vaguely. I must have been a bit out if it when I wrote that stuff about your spouse. I mean, I do know him or her--and he or she is wonderful--but I wouldn’t talk about bedroom performance in public like that. I’m much more classy, as you can tell from the photos on my blog. Anyway, come find me at the marina. You know I have a boat and love it and am there almost all the time. Call me--leave a message. I’ll get back to you, I promise. Your spouse speaks highly of you.”
Everyone was taken aback by the comment’s sycophantic tone. Everyone wondered if this was another joke. Everyone had been searching for the meaning of life for half a year and had had just one previous contact and that unpleasant. Everyone wondered what his or her spouse had said about everyone that the meaning of life would want to be met so badly. Everyone was nothing like the meaning of life. Everyone was not happy or rich. Everyone did not have a tan. Everyone was not fit. Everyone had given up Popsi Cola--the meaning of life’s favorite drink, as well as everyone’s--nine months earlier in a futile attempt to lose weight to attract back his or her spouse, futile because everyone had actually gained twenty-two pounds since starting his or her diet.
Everyone’s mind raced like a body falling from a twelve-story office building. This did not bode well, because a body inevitably hit the ground.
Everyone asked his or her friend the Internet for contact information for the marina. Everyone was supposed to be readying for work. Everyone had children to wake, a dog to feed, oatmeal to cook and eat, a bus to meet. Everyone didn’t care. Everyone was living in the now. No day like today to do what you could do tomorrow, everyone thought.
The Internet was annoyed. Everyone had barely said hello and now he or she wanted all kinds of information about the meaning of life. It was the Internet who had helped everyone contact the meaning of life in the first place: had suggested starting a blog, had told everyone how to write it, had showed everyone the meaning of life’s website. The Internet had been around for everyone all along, and it had gotten nary a word of thanks. The Internet felt taken for granted.
The Internet went off.
Everyone continued to type excitedly into his or her computer, but the Internet wasn’t listening.
It took a couple of minutes for everyone to notice, and when everyone did, he or she grew angry too--of all the times for the Internet to go silent, this would be it.
Everyone refused to give in to the Internet’s bullying. Everyone picked up his or her phone and dialed. “Information please,” everyone said. “I want the number for the marina.”
“Which one?” the voice asked. Everyone felt as if he or she had not heard a voice in his or her home other than that of the kids in months, and everyone was moved to tears. Everyone was reminded of the spouse who had left. The spouse was like an operator wanting clarity. Everyone could rarely supply it. Everyone could not supply it now. Which marina?
Everyone needed the Internet.
Everyone typed into his or her computer. The Internet was still not listening. Everyone decided to write a message, post it later.
“Dear meaning of life,” everyone wrote. “Got your comment. Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. I was thinking of you when I began writing it. Please tell me more about yourself. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Everyone realized that he or she was writing sycophantically as well. It was as if everyone and the meaning of life were in love with each other and could not wait to meet. Everyone knew what this meant: he or she would be disappointed. That is how love worked. That is how it had worked with everyone’s spouse, who had left everyone for the meaning of life. But the spouse had stayed with the meaning of life, so perhaps the meaning of life was the real deal.
Everyone had to take that chance.
Everyone wants you to read the book on which he or she is working, a novel everyone is writing in order to find the meaning of life, with which everyone’s spouse ran off. But everyone has to finish the novel before everyone can know where the novel begins. In the meantime, there are all these distractions, such as the twelfth-floor window at the office building where everyone works out of which people or maybe just one person keeps jumping or falling--everyone isn’t sure--or everyone’s sexy coworker Sam, whom everyone is struggling valiantly against to keep from becoming a paramour. It’s kind of pitiful, actually, the way everyone keeps begging you to read, sending you e-mails, dropping it into conversation (“I have a book, you know?”), posting links to it on social-networking sites. Everyone figures that if he or she begs enough, you will break down and try it. Everyone is like a dog that way, watching you eat your dinner. The way you handle the dog is to push it away from the table, lock it outside the room. Sometimes, of course, you hand the dog a bite, an inch-sized bit of beef, and that is all everyone is asking for--a bite, that you read just the first line of his or her book. The problem is that you know everyone too well. If you read one line, everyone will beg you to read another. Just one more.
To start from the beginning of the novel, go here.