posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 10:29 PM
Scientists call it the Naked Photo Test, and it works like this: say a photo turns up of you nakedly doing something that would shame you and your
family for generations. Bestiality, perhaps. Ask yourself how many people in your life you would trust with that photo. If you're like the rest of
us, you probably have at most two.
Even more depressing, studies show that about one out of four people have no one they can confide in.
The average number of close friends we say we have is dropping fast, down dramatically in just the last 20 years. Why?
#1. We don't have enough annoying strangers in our lives.
That's not sarcasm. Annoyance is something you build up a tolerance to, like alcohol or a bad smell. The more we're able to edit the annoyance out
of our lives, the less we're able to handle it.
The problem is we've built an awesome, sprawling web of technology meant purely to let us avoid annoying people. Do all your Christmas shopping
online and avoid the fat lady ramming her cart into you at Target. Spend $5,000 on a home theater system so you can see movies on a big screen without
a toddler kicking the back of your seat. Hell, rent the DVD's from Netflix and you don't even have to spend the 30 seconds with the confused kid
working the register at Blockbuster.
Get stuck in the waiting room at the doctor? No way we're striking up a conversation with the smelly old man in the next seat. We'll plug the iPod
into our ears and have a text conversation with a friend or play our DS. Filter that annoyance right out of our world.
Now that would be awesome if it were actually possible to keep all of the irritating # out of your life. But, it's not. It never will be. As long as
you have needs, you'll have to deal with people you can't stand from time to time. We're losing that skill, the one that lets us deal with
strangers and tolerate their shrill voices and clunky senses of humor and body odor and squeaky shoes. So, what encounters you do have with the
outside world, the world you can't control, make you want to go on a screaming crotch-punching spree.
Oh, yeah. Right in the crotch, buddy.
#2. We don't have enough annoying friends, either.
Lots of us were born into towns full of people we couldn't stand. As a kid, maybe you found yourself in an elementary school classroom, packed in
with two dozen kids you did not choose and who shared none of your tastes or interests. Maybe you got beat up a lot.
But, you've grown up. And if you're, say, a huge DragonForce fan, you can go find their forum and meet a dozen people just like you. Or even better,
start a private room with your favorite few and lock everybody else out. Say goodbye to the tedious, awkward, painful process of dealing with somebody
who's truly different. That's another Old World inconvenience, like having to wash your clothes in a creek or wait for a raccoon to wander by the
outhouse so you can wipe your ass with it.
The problem is that peacefully dealing with incompatible people is crucial to living in a society. In fact, if you think about it, peacefully dealing
with people you can't stand is society. Just people with opposite tastes and conflicting personalities sharing space and cooperating, often through
Fifty years ago, you had to sit in a crowded room to see a movie. You didn't get to choose; you either did that or you missed the movie. When you got
a new car, everyone on the block came and stood in your yard to look it over. You can bet that some of those people were assholes.
Yet, on the whole, people back then were apparently happier in their jobs and more satisfied with their lives. And get this: They had more friends.
That's right. Even though they had almost no ability to filter their peers according to common interests (hell, often you were just friends with the
guy who happened to live next door), they still came up with more close friends than we