With the prevalence of social media and its growing importance in daily life, it is imperative that we learn to interpret status updates. You know what I mean. As you flip through your mental catalogue of online contacts, you are no doubt able to begin grouping their status updates into categories such as the following:
BUCOLIC - Short descriptions of daily life. ("I am drinking a coffee.")
HYDRAULIC - Inordinately impassioned pronouncements, apropos of nothing. ("Life is awesome!!!!!")
SYMBOLIC - Weird little wanna-be-intellectual asides. ("Dreams are the walking reality of our sleeping phantasma.")
MELANCHOLIC - Pity-seeking notes. ("Everything is awful. Life is walking death.")
ALCOHOLIC - Self-explanitory. ("Hrermmm ajk;ljl;das!!!!!")
VITRIOLIC - Incoherent passive-aggressive rants conveniently hidden from the very ones to whom they should be addressed. ("CRAZY MOTHER-IN-LAW ALERT!")
HYPERBOLIC - Over exaggeration to the point of silliness. Even when pared down to the core, these should still be taken with a grain of salt. ("Woke up from most epic nap of all time to discover that my rampaging toddler has utterly destroyed entire living room, leaving not one stone upon another. Complete devastation!")
If you know me even moderately well, then you are probably already very well aware that I fit into that last category -- Hyperbolic! This tendency is so obvious that my sister/roommate Bethany has taken to going out of her way to explain to people that I tend to, as she puts it, "live life in a state of hyperbole."
Unfortunately, this misleading statement may lead you to believe that you cannot trust anything that I say! That simply isn't the case, however. Even the most hyper of your Hyperbolic friends probably speaks the truth some of the time. And like my fellow Hyperbolics, I do desire to give you an accurate rendering of my daily activities.
I just try to do so in the most entertaining way possible.
In an effort to help you understand how Hyperbolic Status Updates work, I have asked Bethany to take some of my actual status updates and sift them for Hyperbolic content. She will then interpret them for you, giving you what she believes to be an accurate rendering of the events that inspired the posts.
STATUS UPDATE 1: "This afternoon, the wall housing our central A/C unit decided that it wanted to be a waterfall instead! Currently building an ark while Bethany collects the animals.”
INTERPRETATION: First of all, we've known the A/C was having issues for WEEKS! We took turns saying we were going to call it in and not doing so. We tried to ignore the damp carpet for a while. Ruth was finally (and randomly) spurred to action at ten o'clock on a Thursday night, and she finally called maintenance. Apparently A/C malfunctions are an EMERGENCY maintenance problem, so I had to stay up with the maintenance man and carpet cleaner while Ruth would make occasional Twitter updates from her room, and made one Very Special Appearance because she heard us talking about her. (THE "ME MONSTER" CANNOT BE RESTRAINED!)
STATUS UPDATE 2: “Workout fun: was told to kneel on Pilates ball and keep my balance. I basically rolled around, fell over, and tried not to lose teeth.”
INTERPRETATION: She spent more time thinking about getting on the ball and then spouting bursts of semi-hysterical nervous laughter than she did actually trying to balance on the ball. I think she balanced for about three seconds right at the end of the round.
STATUS UPDATE 3: “CRUSHING EVERYONE AT SCRABBLE! I AM UNSTOPPABLE!”
INTERPRETATION: Pretty sure I was asleep on the floor for this event. But I will say this: the only way that statement is in any aspect close to the truth is if she's playing against the podlings. If our usual Scrabble partners (Lin and Steven) or our mother was involved, she may have been winning, but not by that huge of a margin. It's very likely that she just won two games in a row by a reasonable margin, mostly due to pulling good tiles.
STATUS UPDATE 4: “I'm about to falcon punch Thursday right in the face!”
INTERPRETATION: I'm just as surprised as you are that she knows what a falcon punch is!
STATUS UPDATE 5: “Worked out so hard this morning that my legs are no longer responding to normal commands.”
INTERPRETATION: Since she worked out with Coach Ray, this is very likely and not at all surprising.
STATUS UPDATE 6: “This morning I awoke to the reality that my cold has mutated into a chesty, wracking cough that makes me sound like a ninety-year-old chain smoker.”
INTERPRETATION: She purposefully lets phlegm collect in her throat before she tries to talk so it rattles around and makes her sound pitiful. It's gross. Also, she takes her temperature obsessively anytime she even gets a sniffle.
STATUS UPDATE 7: “Either the old man behind me in line was hitting on me, or he was legitimately insane.With the types I attract, sometimes it's hard to tell.”
INTERPRETATION: If she was in Port St. Lucie, then it's very likely the man was off his rocker.1
STATUS UPDATE 8: “My printer is full of demons.”
INTERPRETATION: This means she waited until the last minute to print something out and now is going through the 'don't-have-ink-or-paper-or-toner-and-the-stupid-thing's-not-even-plugged-in' routine.
STATUS UPDATE 9: “Never mind the SCREAMING coming from my classroom... because today there's going to be a MURDER.”
INTERPRETATION: One word: MacBeth.
* * * *
As you can see, even though Hyperbolics still do speak the truth, some interpretation skills may still be required on your part.
However, the key here is to learn to enjoy status updates the same way in which you enjoy moments of the day: one at a time, each being individually evaluated for its own worth and value. And just like moments of the day, most status updates will be forgotten almost instantly, passing forgettably into the haze of the past. There are some, however, that will stick with you. Some that will worm their way into your consciousness, coming back at unexpected times to lighten your dark day with a quirk of the lips or a halfhearted chuckle.
Those are the status updates that we, the Hyperbolics of the world, wish to offer. May you receive them gladly with eager eyes and warm hearts.
1 - If you're a local, please take time to read the linked article from TCPalm.com, in which the author offers the soothing premise that Port St. Lucie "isn't a complete disaster." Hilarious!