Shivering in the Boston air, I realized that Aaron Sorkin’s shitty Oscar would fade into oblivion. I pictured the gap that would inexplicably appear on his trophy shelf and I smiled. It’s the smile that I remember. It had been a long time since I had smiled.
This is a strange way to begin, I know. The Social Network cannot even exist for you, but I could not begin with the suicide. You must have patience.
I held that thought of Sorkin’s shelf as long as I could so I would stop visualizing what would have to be: shattered glass, a bloodstained hoodie. Murder repulses me; I want you to know that. I am, in my own eyes, a repulsive creature. I would have chosen another life. If events had taken literally any other course, I would have remained an underpaid, well-liked, and more-or-less happy teacher of physics.
The violence of it threatened my resolve that first time. I was capable: when I still thought I had infinite time, I used much of it to become an accomplished marksman. But in the minutes before the shot, it was still possible to return the rifle to my duffle, close the door of my machine and leave. I’ll admit I considered it.
If I returned to 2025, wrote a paper for a peer-reviewed journal and presented my time machine, I would have been hailed as the greatest mind of the 21st century. But in seeking fame and fortune, I would have been no different than him.
No, if I returned, it would have been to her, and it would have been to one of three times.
She was three years old in 2010. She wanted gas for her red plastic car. It was one of the Playskool ones a kid sits inside, with the big eyes where the headlights should be. Her flashing Keds ran it all around our driveway. She wore a Superman cape she had gotten for her birthday, and every two minutes she’d Flintstone the car to me, and she’d say, “Fill it up, daddy!” I would have gone back to that day, over and over, just to look on from the bushes.
She was twelve years old in 2019. She wanted a phone. I tried, halfheartedly, to convince her to get something cheaper, but she had her heart set on an iPhone, and I couldn’t tell her no: she was such a good kid, in every way. I signed the contract and handed her the phone, and her eyes lit up because she could talk to her friends like all the others kids did. I would have gone back to that day to snatch the iPhone from her hand, throw it to the ground and smash it with a rock until the chips and plastic were powder.
She was fourteen years old in 2021. She wanted to die. She followed the website’s instructions perfectly: she stood on the chair to loop the cord over the beam in her bedroom, tied precisely the right knot for the noose, kicked the chair aside and dangled until her pulse spent her last breath. I would have gone back to that day to come home one hour earlier and cut her down.
But that would not have solved anything. Not really.
Social media usage among teenagers spiked drastically about 2010. Between 2010 and 2014, rates of hospital admission for self-harm among 10 to 14-year-old girls doubled. Rates of depression and anxiety among girls shot up: a line graph depicting these rates bent upward so drastically that the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt described it as an “elbow.” In 2017, when British researchers asked 1,500 teen girls about social media, they consistently identified Instagram as the most damaging. Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked internal documents in 2021 that show Zuckerberg’s company knew how much damage their apps caused. Facebook’s research found, and I quote, “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression… This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”
Teens compare themselves to others. Teens rely on clicks and comments to bring them self-worth. Teens try to build themselves up by destroying others, like when Miranda Smith looked at my darling Jessie’s picture on Instagram and wrote an ugly slut like you would only get likes with a noose around your neck.
I carry the memorial card from her funeral, always, as a reminder. Jessie Marks, 2007-2021, and above that her beautiful, smiling, child’s face. You must understand how much I still love her. You must understand, too, that I have looked at that picture every day for many years, and I have never once been able to see her face without remembering those words. An ugly slut like you would only get likes with a noose around your neck.
Rage and pain remind me, as they must remind you, that to cut the rope would not be enough. They remind me that to murder Miranda Smith, as sweet as it would feel, would accomplish nothing. Neither action would save the others. You must understand these things. You must know it is all for Jessie, but it is not only for Jessie.
She was unborn in 2003, the time to which I travelled. Neither she nor I nor her mother ever set foot in Boston, or Cambridge, as I suppose the place is more properly called. But he did.
He was nineteen years old in 2003. He wanted fame, money, and popularity. He sat at a computer in his Harvard dormitory—Kirkland House—and devised a website on which male students would vote on which female peers were the hottest, and less than a year later, he would found Facebook. He would later buy Instagram, creating untold millions for his company and massive psychological damage for our children. But first, he would ask his friend for an algorithm to help his coding. His friend would write it on the Kirkland House window, and then Mark Zuckerberg would stand at the window to read it.
I had selected the SRS-A2 Covert, which offered vastly more range than necessary, but also great accuracy with a compact size. A standard length sniper rifle would be too difficult to conceal.
I did not know which window, not for certain. My methods at that time were not so methodical, and I had rushed my research. I am embarrassed to admit that I founded my plan on a movie: only when I knelt on the opposing roof, grinning like a fool about Aaron Sorkin’s missing Oscar, did I consider that he might have invented the writing on the window for dramatic purposes. I panicked. My binoculars shook as I scanned the wall of Kirkland House, whipping from point to point, searching for a marker scrawling on glass. There was nothing, nothing at all. I knew The Social Network was fiction, inventing some characters wholesale. How could I have been so stupid as to think Hollywood would pinpoint the location of a famous man on an infamous night?
I saw the marker.
I needed to be calm, unshaking, and I breathed as evenly as I could as I gripped the rifle. I watched the final writing through the scope. The penman stepped aside. The boy in the hoodie stepped forward. I saw the arrogant grin on his face, exhaled slowly as I had practiced on the range, and buried a .338 caliber bullet in his chest. Shouts and screams wafted through the night air as a young man bled to death on his dorm room floor.
His death might horrify you. You might remonstrate, He was 19, he had done nothing to deserve death. But he would have.
In my time machine, I read the prayer on the back of Jessie’s memorial card. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. I flipped the card to the front and studied her face, tried to love her without remembering the words, but they remained lodged in my brain. Only the dates had changed: Jessie Marks, 2007-2022.
December, January, February. Zuckerberg’s blood had bought my daughter three more months.
Back in the future, I tried to understand how that could be. I had not missed: a certain Harvard sophomore had been murdered in his dorm room in October 2003. He had not created Facemash that night, nor Facebook after. Those domains and Instagram’s all remained unregistered. Without Facebook to blaze the trail, Instagram remained a figment in a future that wasn’t.
But in February 2004, a man named Jack Flanagan had launched FaceSpace, which grew to a billion dollar valuation. In 2011, FaceSpace purchased its upstart rival, E-gram. In February 2022, my daughter killed herself.
The second time was smoother. Flanagan spent spring break 2003 in Mexico, where an accident befell him while windsurfing. The Pacific hid both his unrecovered body and the two .338 caliber bullet holes in his wetsuit. His death bought a month-and-a-half: Jessie did not hang herself until mid-March.
I recognized the problem after eliminating Jim Baines, Marsha Robards, Deepak Singh and thus FaceHub, eTree, and ConnectMe. That trio, collectively, moved Jessie’s date of death only three weeks. The internet had been primed for social media. Zuckerberg had moved first, but he had not been the only. Many, many others would follow. Eventually, I even had to kill the Winklevoss twins. I tried killing Jonathan Abrams, too, back in 2001, but his murder did not move the needle at all. No one gave a shit about Friendster. It was Facebook that began the boom, or if not Facebook, each pale ghost that filled its void.
You will be tempted to stop. You will kill young men and women by the dozen, enough that you become good at it. Efficient. You will admire and loathe yourself in equal measure, and with blood on your hands and shoes, you will sit in your machine hurtling through the years, crying and wondering why. Then, you will take a picture of a 14-year-old girl from your pocket. You will feel her love and you will smile, fleetingly, before you remember. An ugly slut like you would only get likes with a noose around your neck.
As a creature who lives in its intervals, I have lost the ability to reckon time. I believe that in what you would call the last month, I have murdered 23 people. Jessie lives until age 17. Each new death wins only hours.
It’s funny, almost, to remember when I believed a single bullet could be the remedy. I thought Zuckerberg would fall and before his blood could stain the carpet, Jessie’s date of death would leap to 2080, 2090 on the card. I will never live to see that change. In the mirror every morning I see deeper wrinkles, more gray hair, less hair. Time travel breaks down the human body. I feel pain in my joints and chest, and I know that my remaining years will not complete my task. I will fail.
Listen. I began work on the time machine in December 2021, a month after Jessie’s original death. Building it took me four years. With careful notes such as I am providing, that time can be reduced, but you absolutely must begin around-the-clock work by February 2023. Begin any later and you surrender all hope; I’ve calculated. Jessie might seem fine if I can press on long enough. Without social media to poison her mind she will be happy, I know it, and you will think she will be OK. You will cherish her, love her, think it impossible that the apple of your eye could kill herself. If I murder enough people in my final years, maybe she will not, but it was Jessie’s suicide that prompted me to build the machine. Because I have forestalled her death, this message will have to be your prompt. You, man that I was, must understand: you must leave her to save her. Jessie carries that seed of destruction. If you do not do this work, if you do not return to 2003 to shoot a man named Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University, Jessie will die at age 14 and the horror will return.
You will fear the consequences. Social media might seem new in your world, but it will not remain a harmless curiosity and it must be stopped. I know my actions have caused… alterations. With Facebook and its successors gone, some friends whom I will not name did not marry, did not have children. Other things have happened or failed to happen. I admit there are costs, but you must weigh them against the coming horror. You do not know what social media will do, to all of us, but especially to children. Jessie.
I leave you this recording, notes on the time machine’s construction, and the memorial card from Jessie’s funeral. I do not need it anymore, and if it cannot spur you to action, nothing will. Check it, daily. If I work very hard and live longer than I think, the year of death might change again.
I am also giving you a list of names, locations, dates and times. I have provided a photograph with each name; there are 1,417. If you use my research, if you do the work well and kill these first fourteen hundred quickly, you can build on what I have done. Every hour, every minute is worth more killing to spare a child’s pain.
Save them. Save her.
100% an orangutan once a year with a sword. The last thing I need is to wake up late for work, aggressively brush my teeth and change, sprint to my car to find a chicken ready to peck me to death. The orangutan will happen once a year, on a date that I can prepare for, and trust me...I'd be ready
Just wear boots
I live on a farm. I live on a farm because I love my husband, Charlie. He loves growing things. I'm allergic to everything so I'm not much help with the animals, the orchard or the garden. I work in the city. It's a three hour commute round trip, but I really don't mind the drive. I love my job.
Arnie, not so much.
Arnie, our resident rooster, thinks I am one of his chicks. Every single morning without fail he is waiting for me by the car, ready for battle. Doesn't matter if the sun is below the horizon or well into the sky, if I am heading to work, he is waiting to crow at me and peck my toes. I can't even bribe him to leave me alone.
If Charlie is with me, Arnie is off chasing his hens. But if I'm alone, better be sure my feet are covered. I actually have scars from the early days before I realized who was boss.
You might say, why don't you just get a new rooster. Well, first and foremost, Arnie, loony tune that he is, is family. You don't just replace family when they get on your last nerve. Much as the idea might appeal. No, family is for keeps. More importantly, though Arnie saved my life not long ago.
It was June, and a traveling circus had come to town. They did one show, Saturday night and then were supposed to go on to the next town Sunday morning. Except their star attraction, Ollie the Orangutan in Shining Armour, escaped. The whole town was put on alert, searching for Ollie.
Clearly, I must attract nature's nuttiest creatures because Monday morning, as I was heading to my car, what did I see but Ollie the Orangutan wielding his not so innocent looking sword as he toppled toward me in his medieval armor, helmet askew.
In the same moment I noticed Ollie, Arnie came into view, full speed. He started squawking and pecking at Ollie's non-armor covered feet. Ollie slowed down, waving his sword inelegantly at poor Arnie, spinning and tipping this way and that. I jumped in the car and called the local sheriff, Andy, to tell him we had found Ollie.
By the time the deputies showed up with the circus trainer, Ollie was on his his back, defeated, Arnie on his chest alternately crowing and pecking.
All that to say, Arnie is both family and our hero. He's a keeper.
I just don't wear sandals to work.
I Fought the Law
"I fought the law and the law won"
What an iconic phrase. A classic tale all in one sentence. Not to mention a great hook to an even greater song. I fought the Law is most known from its cover performed by the Bobby Fuller Four. If its name doesn't ring a bell, listening to the song surely will. It's one of those tunes from the sixties your sure you've never heard of until you play it and realize you've listened to it at least a dozen times on a radio station you never had the choice of tuning to. Even the most introverted zoomer has heard this song at some supermarket. Nobody can forget this jam no matter how buried in their memory it is. As much as music snobs such as myself can resent pop music for its often vapid simplicity, simple songs that transcend their time have a special charm to them. I Fought the Law is one of those songs. Its most famous line elicits many layers, from a statement of defeat to a humorous one liner of a story that explains itself all too well. Typical lyrics about breaking rocks, "robbin with a six gun", and missing their girl tie in with the central mantra of the song. They further express a feeling loss in the context of imprisonment. It's a catchy song about man down on his luck, a tune most would dance to despite its subject matter. I Fought the Law may also be a partial foreshadowing of Bobby Fullers life, or rather his mysterious death which many theorize was a hit by the mob. Regardless of the song's interpretations, it's a timeless tune that everybody has heard somewhere.
The Spiral of it All
There's a queue, in my head, of everything
Tabs, open forever, fading in and out of existence
Sometimes, they fade forever
But mostly, they drift in and out of the depths,
forever waxing and waning like waves on a shore
The waves are dark, right now, and I can't stop them.
They're usually carefree, happy, snippets of sounds, thoughts, sentences in silly voices.
But not right now.
The loudness of a bone snapping, an instant death sentence
The wrench of loss, and the terrible knowledge that I can't run from it even as I run.
It shouldn't have happened.
I screamed, trying to understand, as my heart seemed to shatter.
She should have been fine. She was fine.
It shouldn't have happened.
I keep wondering what I could have done to prevent it all
I don't think it's fully hit yet, but it has at the same time.
She was supposed to live longer.
It's like there's a physical weight on my head, a heavy crown.
I can't get her back, and that hurts more.
White daisies and a dull eye
It shouldn't have happened.
sick, sick, sick as a dog.
i spent an hour mumbling that to myself.
sick, sick, sick.
on the floor next to the toilet, pinching mosquito bites into my arm.
sick as a dog, sick.
i don't hurt myself like that anymore.
i don't think i'm sick anymore. but i don't know how well i am either.
insane. fucking insane.
the dark speaks to me sometimes and i'm pretty sure i can touch the sky.
they're coming to take me away haha!
i'm making it up of course, i just want the attention, some reason why i'm like this.
into the sea you and me.
i can't stop laughing i'm putting on a show for the ghouls in the wall, do they think i'm manic yet?
my weekend's at an all time low.
stop, it's not doing anything, shut up, shut the fuck up.
it's very quiet after.
the definition of insanity
i repeat the mantra over and over
"doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result"
By trade I am an engineer
I repeat the same experiment
I repeat the same experiment
I repeat the same experiment
I get the same result
I get the same result
I get the same result
Aside from being an engineer, I am a human
I am a human who is not insane
depending on who you ask
my grandma might say I am
my therapist would say that I am not
Mental illness has a stigma like that
mania is a unique of insanity
yes, i said insanity
people who are bipolar are not insane
but the symptoms we have are crazy to me
My definition of insanity is different
it is spending all my money impulsively
going out for a drive in a place i know nothing about
gambling my life savings in vegas
starting a novel every few months
having a new business venture weekly
deciding, as someone who cannot run a mile, that I will run a marathon right now
I do follow the Einstein definition of insanity
i try to not spend all my money impulsivley
i try to prevent drives in strange places
i tend to avoid gambling my money away in vegas
i try to finish the novels i start
i wonder if maybe this business venture is the one
i do not run the marathon
Harry Situation Reviews: Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor: Love and Thunder is the newest MCU film featuring the Norse God of Thunder himself, Thor (reprised by Chris Hemsworth). It also features the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Tesse Thompson as Valkyrie, Chris Pratt as Star Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Taika Waititi (who again serves as writer/director) as Korg, and introduces Russell Crowe as Zeus, the king of the Greek Pantheon, and Christian Bale as the deadly Gorr the God Butcher.
Thor is back. He's back in shape and in action. But he also discovers that his hammer Mjolnir has been re-forged and moved on to another worthy wielder, his old girlfriend Jane Foster, who has become the Mighty Thor. But their touching and awkward reunion is cut short when a new enemy, Gorr the God Butcher, seeks the death of all gods of the Marvel Universe.
I was definitely excited for this next installment of Phase 4. I like the character, I like the cast, and I like Taika Waititi. So why didn't I like this movie? Well, it's not that I didn't like it, but it wasn't as good as I was hoping for.
First, let's talk about some of the positives, however I should point out that some of the positives follow with some negatives. First positive is Thor and Jane Foster. I like seeing these two characters (and their actors) reunite after all these years. Hemsworth and Portman have great chemistry together, and their characters just make a great couple.
And if anyone is wondering how Jane Foster is able to become the Mighty Thor, just know that it is exactly like the comics.
Christian Bale was great in this movie as the main villain. I know there's probably a ton of memes out there right now quoting "you either die a hero, or you live long enough to become the villain" since he originally portrayed Batman for DC in the Dark Knight Trilogy. Regardless, he's still pretty damn awesome in this movie... when he's on screen. Sadly, his character only has limited screen time. Gorr from the comics is a recent and very compelling villain from Marvel. He's actually been able to do some significant damage against the titular God of Thunder in many encounters. What we do get is good. You understand his plight and why the character is such a misotheist. I just wish we could have seen more of him.
And there were some pretty good jokes. Waititi can write some pretty witty dialogue that has me rolling. Check out Jojo Rabbit and What We Do in the Shadows sometime. And while having funny dialogue is a common factor in these MCU movies the problem here is that it completely offsets the kind of tone this movie is trying to be. Is it trying to be a comedy? Is it trying to be a romance? Is it trying to be dark because there's a bad guy that can summon shadow creatures with his god-slaying sword? I'm not entirely sure, and I don't believe the movie knows either.
Finally, I hate to admit it, but the film starts to get boring in the second half. I cannot pick a point in the movie where I started getting bored but I certainly felt it. I wasn't even entertained during the final act, the epic hero vs villain fight. It was like all the fun I was having in the first half suddenly got drained out of me in the second.
The sad truth is that the Thor movies haven't been the best that the MCU can offer. Don't get me wrong I like the character Thor. I love how he is and how he fits in the overall MCU. Too bad his movies don't really do the character any justice. The first one was okay. The second one I can't for the life of me remember. And lastly the third one was a fun watch. Sad to say, none these films have reached the top tier when it comes to be Marvel's best. My guess is how do you make a character, who is essentially a god, a likeable and relatable character?
I finally understand why this film is considered divisive among the MCU fans. There things I liked and things I didn't like. Whether you like or hate it is your call. Let's just hope that if a fifth Thor does get made it at least can be called worthy.
-Thor & Jane
-Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher
-Some good jokes
-Boring second half
Final Grade: C
So those are my thoughts on Thor: Love and Thunder. Have you seen it? What were your thoughts on it? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check out more reviews here on Prose!
Jane Foster: "Not bad for a human?"
Thor: "Not bad for a god."
#harrysituationreviews #film #opinion #Marvel #superhero #action #fantasy #scifi #comedy
State I’m In
I have been gone for a long time. Part of me is sorry for not updating anyone on anything; part of me understands that I have been quite busy lately and have not really had time; part of me knows that part of the reason for that is the fact that I have wasted too much time. But this is not an apology, though I am sorry. Writing is a passion of mine that I have missed greatly. In fact, as of late, my fingers have been itching to brush across my keyboard and actually type out something other than Pen to the Paper---not to say that I dislike it, it's just not the same as sitting down and writing a story, a mind-wandering, an essay, a song, et cetera.
This, however, is not the purpose of this post.
I have been looking into colleges lately. After graduating this year in Pensacola and taking a walk around the PCC campus, I felt a calling to go to school. Pursue a higher education while trying to obtain my pilot's license. The call was strong. A riptide pulling me out to sea. So, I have been searching. Thinking about the minors I will be taking, trying to figure out how in the world one studies for an SAT, and all of that fun stuff associated with trying to head off to college. I have a year, so though I don't worry too much about getting things done, affording college and flight training on top of it is a major concern of mine.
I feel like, lately, I have just been wasting too much time. I have once again been sucked into the endless pit of micro-satisfaction that YouTube provides. I have always struggled with it, but, lately, it has increased once again. Something is looming behind it all, but I did not realize that until this week.
I have once again been avoiding responsibility. My self-esteem and confidence, though far higher than they have been in years, are dropping again. I find myself struggling in social situations once more. Hiding. Keeping to myself. Oft, I stare off into space, at first in a pensive mood, then going blank and focusing on this feeling in my gut that won't waver.
The feeling of emptiness.
I don't know what the cause is, but here I am, trapped in this void. I think that I am subconsciously searching for something to fill that void. I think that's why I have been having such a hard time escaping the YouTube trap lately. I think that that is the reason temptation, after being clean for almost five months, has been knocking on my door again. Every coping mechanism I have had is throwing itself at me in desperation, but nothing is working. I mean, I just fricken ate ice cream, then sneaked the last piece of cake my grandmother bought from the store yesterday.
I can't shake the feeling. I feel fake again. Telling people that I have been doing well. Bringing it up to my parents, whom I love and trust immensely, is just something that I can't fathom. I think about it and freeze. I could write them a letter, but I feel like I have given them two too many letters to even try that.
I can't open up to people. And yet, opening up is what I know I need to do.
I need a shoulder to lean on. A friend who knows that I'm going through something, but instead of pushing lets me put my head on his/her shoulder and just stay like that for a while. I need a hug, but I don't want to ask. My best friend lives a seventeen hour drive away, and the closest friend I have here has been AWOL lately, so I haven't been able to talk to him.
I then remind myself that, "Hey, Caleb, you're super religious, aren't you? Isn't that what God is for?" Wasteland by NEEDTOBREATHE then floats through my head:
"Oh if God is on my side
Then who can be against me
Yeah in this wasteland where I'm livin'
There is a crack in the door filled with light
And it's all that I need to get by"
I try singing these words with conviction: like I mean them. I pray and ask for help. I ask God to tell me what's wrong. To be my shoulder to lean on. But I leave feeling the same.
Yesterday, my parents took me and my little sisters to the lake nearest to us. We swam in it for a while and had a blast! But as soon as the festivities were over, if I stopped for just a second to think or stand still, if I stepped out of the lake for a moment, I felt it. That feeling of emptiness. My entire ride home, I spent in silence, staring out of my window blankly, reminding myself of Wasteland and praying to the Lord for help. At home, I walked into the house numb and expressionless, hoping that someone would notice and say something, but also wanting to hide away in my room.
I feel stupid admitting to it, though. My life isn't hard, I don't have it bad. My parents love me, I have a scholarship for the first step towards my dream career, I am one of the lucky few whose best friend has been his best friend since he was literally a newborn... and yet I feel empty and alone.
I feel immature admitting it, but sometimes I wonder if it stems from not finding someone to love. I want to have someone to love deeper than just as a friend. Looking around at the kids my age and younger who are dating doesn't help. I have never had that. But I don't think it's my time yet, and there is only one girl in my life I would ever consider dating, and I would never ask her out for fear of losing a nearly nineteen-year long friendship. I also must remember that I have a lot of maturing to do yet, and starting a relationship when I'm older and more mature is more likely to last. Along with that, as a Christian, I believe that finding someone is a gift from God, not something I accidentally stumble upon one day and then work to keep. Though that last part is definitely still true.
But I know that that isn't the case. Sure, I feel lonely every now and then, but I am ready and willing to wait as long as I need to find the right person. We get so eager and rush into relationship after relationship... I don't need to be that way.
I miss my cat immensely. Not a day goes by that I don't think about Bear.
I am struggling. And I am empty. And I don't know what to do. I mean no disrespect to God. It's only human to have a hard time seeing His hand in these low moments.
This low, however, has lasted a long time. I just want to escape. The crack in the door filled with light seems to be closing. I'm losing hope, but trying to keep my chin up. The water is rising above my head, and I am growing tired.
Privileged. I may not be rich, but I feel privileged because of the love and support around me, and therefore guilty about the emptiness within me.
But I wait. I wait for God to heal me miraculously. I wait for someone to say something. I wait for that hug and that shoulder to lean on.