Throughout history, people searched for a Fountain of Youth. They looked high and they looked low. Sensible, lucid people like Alexander the Great (356 — 323 B.C.), Prester John (12th century A.D.), and Ponce de León (1460 — 1521). They weren’t all hucksters and lunatics.
Five hundred years later we’re still chasing the fantasy, but narrowing the search. We’re down to cosmetics counters and skin care aisles. Although we haven’t ruled out late night infomercials, so we troll the cable stations, just in case. What we’ve discovered is a bounty of pricey moisturizers and diet supplements and naiveté. If those aren’t enough, there’s always plastic surgery.
Well, guess what. The Fountain of Youth isn’t a fountain or a lotion or a surgical procedure. It’s a button, ladies and gentlemen, the blue one that says ‘Publish’. The instant you press that thing, presto chango, you’re an awkward, self-conscious 12-year old waiting to be picked in gym class. All elbows and knees and orthodontia, silently pleading ‘pick me, pick me, puh-leeeze pick me’.
It’s awful. And it’s thrilling. In one quick, easy step, you go from confident, dignified grown-up to insecure, flustered adolescent. You’re knee-deep in anxieties, convinced you’ll be the biggest laughingstock in Internet history. Hello, puberty, long time no see.
You’re riddled with doubts, beset with them. What were you thinking, you ask yourself? Are you crazy? No one’s going to read that, it stinks. Sure, the piece was fine, what?, six seconds ago, but now it’s a woeful lapse in judgment. A spectacular, flaming embarrassment.
That, my friends, is adolescent angst, pure and simple.
Thus begins the long, agonizing wait between Publish and Like, which is nothing short of torture. Cheeks flush, eyes dart, there’s fidgeting and squirming. What we want is to disappear, for the floor to open up and swallow us whol — wait, is that a … it is. It’s a like. Oh, yay and hallelujah. What a relief, we don’t suck. We have worth. We can breathe.
Still want to be young again? Fine, hit Publish. Go ahead, I dare you, nyah nyah.
Wow, I’ve got to grow up, I haven’t even pressed the button yet.
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