This is something I've been thinking about since college. See, I was a freshman in 1995, and a lot of the people in my class had never had an e-mail address before. I had, but only because I went to a weird high school that assigned them to us. Anyway, thousands of people were suddenly let loose with e-mail addresses and no idea what to do with them, so suddenly I got a lot of chain e-mails. Remember chain e-mails? They used to be a thing. MICROSOFT WILL GIVE YOU FIVE DOLLARS FOR EVERY PERSON YOU FORWARD THIS TO and so on. And something I noticed was that a lot of these chain e-mails would begin with your friend saying, "I never do this, but..." And that got me to thinking about how people can do a thing and still give themselves credit for never doing a thing. And later in life I learned that this was true of people who think abortion should be outlawed -- they will get abortions and then go right out and tell people never to do what they just did, because it's wrong. I realize that the name for this is hypocrisy, but what I don't understand is how it works -- how someone can do something and still truly, honestly believe he or she is not the kind of person who does that thing. And that's something that's been bothering me ever since. I'm sending you this chain e-mail, but I never send chain e-mails. I got an abortion, but I'd never get an abortion. A friend who works for Planned Parenthood told me this joke: "Abortion is acceptable in only three cases: rape, incest, and me."
The Internet, of course, ramps everything up, including hypocrisy, so that you have people acting horrible and then getting really offended at being called horrible. Well, that's always been the case, but the Internet facilitates it.
I felt ambiguous about this after assembling it. See, I truly am less fixated on my romantic nonexistence than I used to be. But I also do have these fantasies where a man hears me nerding out about whatever and swoons into my arms. And it is a sad story about Charles Whitman. He started having these fantasies that were a lot worse than my fantasies, about climbing up into the clock tower and shooting people, and he didn't know why. He consulted a psychiatrist about it, though obviously that didn't help much. When he finally did go up into the clock tower and shoot people, he first wrote a note requesting that he be autopsied to see if there was anything in his brain causing these horrible thoughts. And sure enough there was. You don't want a glioblastoma on your amygdala, though it is fun to say. So if you start having intrusive thoughts about murdering people, please insist on a CAT scan before you act on them, OK? And then don't act on them. Things are hard enough for everyone already.