Double: Here for It, #283

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

When I went to go vote on Tuesday and told the poll worker my name, she looked me up and said “Robert Thomas? You already voted by mail.” But, reader, I did not vote by mail because mailing things stresses me out. It’s hard enough for me to get a birthday card in the mail on time; I’m certainly not going to leave the fate of democracy up to my poor executive functioning skills. Cut to me 30 years in the future telling stories to my little robot grandchildren. “Abuelito,” they say (I am living in Puerto Vallarta in the future), “Abuelito, why did you let the bad guys win the elections?” And I reply, “Okay, you have to understand that finding a stamp was a whole ordeal.”

At the polling place, confronted with a falsehood about my epistolary electoral experience, I immediately turned into McGruff because there was a crime afoot!

Why is she calling the police on a boom box?

I gasped, truly, like lifted my hand to my clavicle and everything. A fraud on my vote?! Seeing me performing a one-person telenovela the poll worker asked, “Did you vote by mail?”

“No!” I replied with so much bass in my voice I was immediately cast in the Barry White biopic. The no came out so forceful that I surprised myself. In the social hall of a South Philly Catholic church, I turned into Charlotte York Goldenblatt at Carrie's almost-wedding.

Another poll worker came over to help, double-checked my address, and told me that there was someone else in my district with the same name. I said, “I don’t have time for another nemesis.” This was me walking into the voting booth.

Vote for farce! Honestly, I think we might have to move to another district to avoid this guy. I don’t even use my first name that much, except for when I’m doing official, highly consequential things like participating in democracy or purchasing theater tickets. It’s unlikely that this other Robert is going wreak havoc on my life on a regular basis but nevertheless, I still feel like I need to move. First of all, this guy is clearly already better than me at mailing things on time, which puts me on the backfoot. He could be letting loose absolute chaos on me and all my affairs right now and I won’t even know until the mail carrier arrives on Monday.

Can you imagine the stress I’m under? And, as if that’s not enough trouble, now comes news that I will probably lose my Twitter verification in the next few weeks because I am not giving Elon Musk one brown penny. This is, on the whole, fine—Musk has completely undercut the point of verification—namely that you knew that anyone with a blue check had proven their identity and could therefore be trusted to actually be representing themselves accurately on Twitter. Now, this didn’t mean that everything that Blue Checks said was true or made any damn sense. It was just a marker that said, basically, “this fool is for real.” In any case, now any fool can get a Blue Check claiming to be anybody they want to all for the low price of $8 and if you don’t pay the $8, you lose your Blue Check.

In the old world, I would have thought that this would not affect me as I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to steal my identity. Like, dream a little bigger, babe. What are you going to do with my identity, log into my teletherapy appointments and solve my problems? Well, call me Lumiere cuz you can be my guest!

But now that I have this local nemesis, all bets are off. My identity is on lockdown! Even I know who I am. That’s how serious I’m taking this.

Of course, a week after Musk announced the new grift, Twitter shut down the pay-for-check business because people kept using it to impersonate companie to hilarious and embarrassing results. One patriot posed as a verified account for Eli Lilly, the company that owns the patent for insulin and has hiked the price up exorbitantly despite the fact that the inventors of insulin sold the patent for $1 to benefit humanity. The fake Eli Lilly account tweeted that insulin was now free, which then resulted in the actual Eli Lilly account having to clarify that, well, no they were going to keep charging people for having the audacity to want to live.

Musk keeps having to tweet out amendments to his hastily cobbled together rules and policies and it has the same energy as when you send out a file with the name “Project_v3_final_FINAL_ACTUAL FINAL_USE THIS ONE_draft 2.doc”

I just don’t see how this Twitter fiasco is going to resolve but I don’t think Musk is going to be the one to solve it. I wouldn’t be surprised next week if he appoints a new CEO named Miss Viola Swamp. I’d be fine with that, as long as she was verified.

People have asked if I’m going to move to the new server Mastadon or some other platform, but I can’t leave Twitter yet because I signed up to stack chairs at the end. So if you see some person claiming to be me, ask him if he knows where his local post office is. The truth will come out!

Find R. Eric Thomas: Website | Books | Instagram | Twitter

Writing elsewhere

This month in Elle, on Black Panther and the power of a secret

‘Black Panther’ Is the Secret That Got Out
The best pop culture discoveries feel like a private gift. Sharing is hard.

Random thing on the internet

My friend DJ Hills is publishing a chapbook of poetry and you should order it today!

I don’t have time for another nemesis,