This piece is part our new series, "I Did It!", a collection of first-person essays celebrating outlandish means and wild achievements. Submit your own story to "I Did It!" by emailing The Airship’s editor at Arv@AirshipDaily.com.
Becoming an Internet meme was never so much a goal as something that just happened, simultaneously adding itself to and crossing itself off my bucket list. But hey, at least now I can die knowing that I was on Meme Generator.
Back in 2012, I wrote a blog post for Thought Catalog entitled “The Worst Parts of Being in a Band*.” I intended for it to capture the sentiment that everything about being in a band is both terrible and amazing — that the small challenges of the experience prove to be the biggest rewards. Unfortunately, poor form and a tiny editorial oversight conspired against me. Without the final, disclaimer-style paragraph, the entire post could be read as balls-down, sincere whining — my own mistake considering my tone was apparently too dry to detect irony and I was working under the naive assumption that Internet readers reach final paragraphs. Also, my editor left off the title’s asterisk — the only thing that preemptorily hinted that all is not what it seems. (Honestly though, this was a shitstorm of my own creation.)
Commenters, who were unable to read between the lines, unwilling to read to the end of the post or simply rendered dumb without the knowing wink, took me to task for being an overprivileged, ungrateful hipster, poser, man-baby, etc. Things spiraled off of the comments section and on to Facebook, where people I knew were incidentally discussing the post and people I didn’t know were shit-talking the band I had been in without realizing that their friends (my bandmates) were in the same band. It probably didn’t help when I jumped into the fray trying to explain myself, which instead seemed to foster an atmosphere between that of “The Artist is Present” and a carnival dunk tank.
Maximum Internet-ness was reached (if you don’t count this — writing online about something that happened online — as the apex of it) when, through the blog comments, I discovered a Meme Generator page using my Twitter handle (@ArvSux) and old avatar to ridicule me mercilessly.
Being on the Internet, my meme is predictable in many ways: ad hominem, casually racist and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. When I first discovered it, I realized that I could get really butthurt about it — but what good would that do? After all, my meddling in the comments had only gotten me deeper into the shit-talking hole. So instead of trying to fight it, I shared the Meme Generator page with my friends on Facebook and Twitter. They got a pretty good kick out of the whole thing while contributing generously to the number of memes generated. C’est le web, I suppose.