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I will not video chat with you

There are only three things in this world that are more unsettling than webcam chatting, and they are as follows: 1) Waking up hungover at noon and realizing you were supposed to be at work at 9am, 2) Going through the security line at the airport and suddenly remembering there’s weed in the extra zipper pocket of your backpack, and 3) Walking in on your grandmother eating out your girlfriend.

I cannot, under any circumstances, understand why a person would want to video chat with another person. The thought of using Facebook, Google+, or IM services in general makes me a little queasy, but ask me to use them while being watched on a webcam by others and the ensuing anxiety will be so crushing that I may give myself a root canal in my bathtub just so I’ll have something less awkward to do with my evening.

I’m not a prudish man. I’ve done things. Why, back when I was a young scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, I did all sorts of things. Crazy things! The sort of things that would make your mom and dad weep in horror if they weren’t such degenerates themselves. However, vomiting into a thermos outside Stargate Nightclub while a rogue sex offender tries to get payment for a gyro I purchased from his mobile vending cart is not nearly as horrendous as the thought of watching myself on a webcam, completely ignoring the other person’s video feed and silently freaking out about whether or not I always look this stupid, and why none of my friends have informed me of how ugly I am.

I’ve been on webcams before. I even tried doing a “hangout” on the Google+ social site, but it was a disaster. In the period where you check your image before entering the session, I noticed my hair looked weird. I walked to a mirror to fix it, but it didn’t look weird in the mirror. After five or six more trips between the webcam and the mirror, I realized my hair only looked odd when my image wasn’t inversed, and that this weird angle of my hair was the way everyone saw it all the time.

It freaked me out a little bit. As this realization washed over me like syrup over already-soggy pancakes, I kind of felt the same way one feels after smoking way too much pot. I was shaken. I didn’t like this new me, with my feminine Cindy Crawford mole now planted on the opposite side of my face. I could either adapt and get used to it like a mature adult, or give up and watch reruns of King of Queens, a TV show I hate.

So I turned on King of Queens and put away the webcam for good. After more than 30 years of wrongfully assuming the image of me in a mirror was exactly the way I looked to others, I no longer wished to view my actual self. I was too old to have something that new and shocking introduced to my consciousness, and I preferred believing the inverse me instead. So I did, and this calming self-deceit has kept me very happy and content ever since.

Today a friend messaged me on Facebook and said, “I’ve decided I’m going to Facebook video chat with you this week.” I made it clear that this was not happening. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. I would rather die in a vat of Tiffany For Men cologne – my lungs completely filled with that smelly toilet man hooker juice – than chat on a webcam. I immediately terminated this friendship and blocked them from every communication device I own. They deserved it. I mean, how dare they?

Some of you may be saying, “But Paul, you’re a horrendous pervert with no sense of shame or dignity. Surely you must at least like naked webcamming with ladies?” No. If I can see myself, then that sense of shame and dignity I’ve been carefully ignoring all these years will coming roaring back like a taco truck plowing through a crowd of vegans. I don’t want to know I’m awful, and webcams do nothing but demonstrate that.

Also, it’s 2011. Anything anyone does on a webcam will be recorded and posted on 12 different websites in the time it takes most of us to sneeze. I don’t need that, and more importantly, you don’t need that, dear reader. You just ate lunch, and you’d like to keep it down for a while.

For those of you who like video chatting, have fun. I know I will when I’m watching your boobs on the internet. Just don’t ask me to do it. My father fought in Vietnam, goddamn it, and he’s given enough to this country for both of us. Stop trying to make me dance like a monkey to entertain you. I don’t dance and I only look slightly like a monkey, mainly because of my large ears. Reading this column off the sticky floor of a Hardee’s restroom is the closest anyone’s getting to a video chat with me.

 One Response to “I will not video chat with you”

  1. Kara says:

    By far one of my favorite articles thus far.


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