‘She said exactly what she meant in complete sentences. [How] the fuck am I supposed to respond to that?’
DENVER—Upon discovering an excruciatingly genuine, honest, and unaffected post on his wall from his grandmother last weekend, Julian Altman, 23, found himself catapulted into a powerful internal struggle between his affection for his Grandma Shirley on the one hand and his full-blown rejection of communicative sincerity on the other.
“So there I am scrolling through my news feed, which is positively rife with mordant wit and ironic pretense,” Altman said, “And Grandma Shirley drops this bombshell of candid, earnest feeling right there on my wall. The woman actually writes a whole paragraph just to tell me I’m ‘on her mind’ and that she hopes the semester is starting off well. What am I supposed to say to that? ‘Thanks! All is well Grandma. Love you too.’?”
“That shit is totally incongruous with my semantic aesthetics,” Altman added.
“When your default mode of interaction involves a presumed refusal to engage authentically with the real world, candid expression of legitimate feelings can really bone you sideways,” wrote linguist Ronald Norbert in an email to The Every Three Weekly.
The post in question—with its unsettlingly honest portrayal of Grandma Shirley’s thoughts and feelings—interrupted a protracted volley of cheeky comments among Altman and his friends about how the exam preparation for an upcoming statistical methods course was likely to require “three kilos of crack and a coffee enema,” to which Altman had responded, without further elaboration, with a link to an enema kit on Amazon Prime.
According to Altman, the capacity of his grandmother’s comment to thrust him out of his aggressively ironic posture was “pretty fucking unnerving.”