I can hear Lundi Gras continuing to stretch, bend, contort and moan from just outside my window as it makes its way through the crowded streets below. At first stumbling and then mumbling. Strange characters delight in the revelry of the night. Hour by hour. Block by block. Madness crawls up and out of the French Quarter, rolls down Canal Street and turns right onto St. Charles Avenue where it finally comes to a screeching halt just past the Lower Garden District. Its will to live finally broken as it quickly exits stage left, precisely at sunrise.

Here, Mardi Gras can be seen from just beyond the bend. Sharply coming into focus and then witnessed in full view as the city’s evening gown is torn asunder by the bright morning light, exposing the sparkling, multi-colored strands of beads that adorn the bare breasts, dirty underbelly, and even dirtier private parts of New Orleans. The cleanest parts of her were the parts that I’d been sucking on, just the night before, but she is still beautiful and I love her.

Regrettably however, I am not making my way down to the parade route. I’ve just spent more time than I would have liked on social media. What a terrible thing, but it’s not the absolute wasting of time that bothers me. Rather, I’m disgusted by the never ending spewing of trash that I somehow got conned into signing up for because I wanted to believe in something good.

The images and videos posted in the endless feeds on social media utterly disgust me. Unremarkable in every way. I can see the sadness behind those youthful eyes. The dark auras of energy that surround the photos like illuminated halos in reverse. Who are these people? I want to talk with them. I want to hear their stories. What has compelled them? Where did things go wrong? Do NOT tell me that things are fine. I can clearly see that things are NOT fine. WE are NOT fine… but who am I to judge? Let me slide into those DM’s… No.

Let me back up a moment… I want to be fair. All is not lost. Perhaps what I perceive as shallow is in actuality someone else’s ultimate depth. In the same way that we try not to yell at mentally retarded children, I must also for a moment, take into consideration the possibility that these “influencers” are also mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually retarded. For they know not what they do.

Using only a smart phone, millions of people take pictures of themselves completely unawares, such as in the lobby of a bank, at the doctors office, or in the middle of a checkout line at the grocery store. Snap snap snapping away. Flipping their hair. Batting the eyelashes and pursing the lips. Tilting their heads from one angle to the next, and then back again. Only slightly adjusting the expressions.

For the photo finale, the tongue is pushed to one side of the mouth and allowed to slightly protrude in between the upper and lower teeth while smiling, and if one is compelled, a peace sign will flash into the picture frame by extending both the index and middle fingers of their non-dominant hand to form a V. Now wink. Snap. Wow! Just PERFECTION!!

A selection must now be made. Hundreds if not thousands of near perfect photos and videos taken, but only a small percentage of those images will deemed worthy enough for publication. Like an optometrist asking a patient to compare lens strengths during an examination. Number One or Number Two? Number One or… Number Three? Number Three or Number Four? Back and forth. Over and over and over again. The photos are repeatedly reviewed and intensely scrutinized. Except none of these best answer choices help the viewer to see any more clearly.

Here, men and women grip the sides of inflatable swans in tiny little bathtubs while wearing oversized sunglasses. Hoping to crest the next tidal wave of popularity. It won’t be long before even the most sensible of them are engulfed by a tsunami of delusion. Swept away by the senseless tide. Soon they will be damaged beyond recognition. Beyond comprehension.

Like diamonds accidentally dropped into a sewer drain. One cannot tell the difference between treasures and the dark encrusted debris that surround them. At least not for very long. Eventually every surface becomes plastered by the filth. Even the brightest lusters are covered in smut of such incredible viscosity, that the luminosity of ANY precious items becomes hidden. Their value diminished and eventually… erased.

In this place, feeling disconnected becomes a “normal” emotion. First slowly, then suddenly. You begin to feel “LESS THAN” after spending only a short amount of time on the platforms, but what if you have 100k followers? Surely that can’t be enough of a reason for someone to sacrifice the very time of their lives to participate in this incessant posting of images.

However with 1 million or more followers one could reasonably argue and possibly even justify the active and even obsessive engagement of social media with a real sense of purpose for a business venture, but what if you only have a measly 1k followers? Or… ghast! Even less? Is the desire to become noticed even greater still? What keeps this vanity train rolling? MONEY? FAME?? Could it be so simple??? I don’t think so.

Preying upon the lost souls of people who just want to be and feel loved. Or at the very least appreciated. Reaching out to ANYONE in this lonely world who might possibly NOTICE. The posts are proof that they still care. Holding out hope that someone might see and hear them in the darkness. Is there anybody out there?

Parents have done incredible amounts of damage. That’s just the way it is. Some thing’s will never change. So comes the desperation to take control of what little we can. What if you were to exploit yourself? Take cheap pictures of yourself? Take half naked pictures of yourself? Or better yet, take COMPLETELY naked pictures of yourself in explicitly compromised positions so that you can immediately post them online. Granting premier access to all of your adoring fans! You did this!! Never mind that the majority of these people are in reality complete and total strangers. Let’s also not forget that there is at least some likelihood that a small percentage of these “fans” are in fact, statistically speaking, dangerous predators. Take that Mom and Dad!!!

Is all this expended energy simply the desperate need for attention? Or rather a collection of silent voices all screaming lines of the the same chorus. I NEED HELP. I WANT to be LOVED. Please… SOMEONE… ANYONE… can ANYONE hear me? Additionally, I question the motives of the people who continue to drive the demand for content? Some of this is of course corporate greed, while others are the dark, faceless, unknown entities that feed upon the desperate needs of others including children to line their pockets without remorse.

Perhaps what we perceive as innocent entertainment is in actuality the most repulsive elements of our nature. A time lapsed playback of humanity’s decaying corpse being chewed up, swallowed and regurgitated back upon us. The heaving and the lurching all part of the process as we continue to puke it out. Over and over and over again. Bile continues to flow forth by the billions and trillions of gallons in perpetuity. Straight into our living rooms, our bedrooms. Soon we are standing on soiled carpets in the saturated socks our our own existence.

Only the best of us will recognize the opportunity to finger paint upon the walls of this life. Dipping our hands in the vile bright yellow and oily discharge that comes from our centers. Strewn across the blank white space. Each swipe and stroke an attempt to create something from nothing. Straining to look away from the abusive, violent and destructive nature of our posts, hope quivers to manifest positives from negatives, but often fails.

Here, infrequent revelations in moments of tortured despair allow us to regretfully observe a second side to the digital mirror that hangs directly in front of us. Reflecting only the deepest, darkest desires of our diseased and broken hearts. Our love is empty. Empty as the men and women who have lost themselves while dredging the bottom of a deep, dark and abandoned well of solitude and disgust.

Cries for help come both in and out. Creating the infinite feedback loop of mental and emotional sickness that have washed upon us. Transmitted like a virus. What strain will creep upon us next? What version of a self centered, self inflicted attraction will we tolerate, allow, and eventually welcome, as we continue our search for meaning?

The programming surrounds us. It surrounds our children. Whether it be learned or innate, our desire to connect with others has been turned against us. Meaningful relationships have become meaningless. Advertising streams rely on our ancient programming to procreate in a seemingly successful campaign to destroy the very fabric of our being. Our sorrow is now being designed. Our weaknesses harnessed while the antidote for the poison we intentionally ingest is nothing more than an illusion. It is a mirage across the sands of our collective consciousness.

We are the trained labs rats that have haphazardly discovered a secret escape hatch in our cages. Once free, we quickly race to lap at the puddles of strategically placed antifreeze that surround us . It’s sweet. It’s killing us and we don’t care. We are buckling under the weight of our unanswered prayers as this generations greatest hopes and dreams are failing to fill the voids of the very lives in which we try to lead. Self loathing, terror and anguish all echoing across this reality and into the next dimension through millions and billions of miles of fiber optic cable.

Each additional vapid and meaningless post is projected across both time and space and into the permanent records of our damaged little souls. Death by a thousand cuts. Selling only the smallest fractions of fractions for fame or whatever we believe happiness to be. Over and over and over again. The soul is a limited resource of which the sum is equal to one per customer. Eventually, there will be no product to sell. The soul traded for likes.

One could argue that in the short term, we are resilient and any wear and tear to the individual is negligible and even undetectable, but on a long enough time line, even the slightest of these sustained damages becomes increasingly apparent.

Like a classic automobile that begins to lose its luster after years of neglect. The paint begins to peel. Exposing the first signs of weakness beneath its once beautiful exterior. Oxidation and rust eventually give way to the complete and total decomposition of mighty metals. Wonders of engineering now fall into disrepair and finally reveal the tender nature of their being.

Similarly, these men and women who have neglected the basic protections of their worth now begin to wear their emotional and spiritual scars physically. Their pain manifested upon their faces. The prostitute, the lawyer, the hitman, the judge, the addict, the social media model. Weathered and torn. Sunken cheeks and eye sockets, their colors and shapes begin to change. Like wilting tomatoes that have fallen from the vine, they are badly bruised and beaten.

Ravaged by the intensity of their environment. Insects writhe in and out of their punctured flesh. The fruit used to be so pretty. Dirty soul, dirty hole. While our physical bodies fail to completely repair themselves from the spoils of war, so to do our faces reflect the damages of the Spirit. Everyone seems to be so concerned with how they pose, posture and appear while simultaneously rotting from within.

Why expedite the process of decay in exchange for likes? Oppose the algorithms. Forget the fame, the money, the name brands. Seek beauty and destroy the lies. Acquire humility and connect with people who share in the capacity to love. Both of others and of themselves.

Remember the child. Remember who you were just before the world sank its teeth into your happy little soul. It CAN be saved and in turn, you just might just get to keep your firm, tight ass, luscious lips and perky tits for just a little while longer. Now, now… In the end you’re still going to lose it all… but you just might regain your soul. Which is probably worth at least a couple of likes.

Post Script: I’m willing to admit that big eyes, pretty smiles and large breasts are in fact helpful and important aspects of daily life, especially as they contribute most positively toward the development and continuation of any high functioning society. This fact cannot be ignored, nor should it. Verily I say unto you…that some of God’s most magnificent work can be witnessed while walking down the aisles of supermarkets and department stores… in Utah. Mostly on Fridays and Saturdays. Between the hours of 3 and 9 P.M. Often near home goods or in the cosmetics section, but never on Sunday. Unless, you happen to be in New Orleans… Blink. Blink. Bring a camera.