2013: The Year in Epigrams

makeitshortIf you’re a Facebook user at all, you’ve probably noticed the recent appearance in your news feed of a whole bunch of “2013 Year in Review” posts from your friends and acquaintances. This is a feature where, if you choose, Facebook will select your “20 biggest moments” out of everything you posted in 2013 and bundle them up in one tidy stream, which you may in turn share with your network. I gave it a shot, because like a lot of people, I can’t remember everything I did this past year, and yet I’m also a complete narcissist, so I thought it would be good to look back on all the awesome things I’ve done.

As it turned out, I found the results appallingly unrepresentative. By Facebook’s tally, your “20 biggest moments” of the year are those that received the highest response from among your Facebook friends. And I sort of prevented most recognition of most of my real accomplishments from the start, by virtue of the fact that I hardly ever tell Facebook what I’m doing. Part of my reasoning in not sharing what I’m doing is that while many of my peers are getting married, having kids and settling into their dream homes, I’ve been playing guitar in dodgy rock bands, getting dumped by women I’ve met on OKCupid and developing richer opinions on Mark E. Smith. Another part of my reasoning is, how am I supposed to know whether what I’m doing is even remotely interesting until I see how it’s played out?

The upside is that among all the posts in my “20 biggest,” in between the smartphone photos of bathroom graffiti and the announcements for shows that I’d played, there was a series of choice original epigrams. This, I thought, was pretty great. I’ve always believed I “gave good epigram,” and I think it’s a tragedy that there’s absolutely no epigram market these days. By my estimation, 2013 was a really strong year for me in that forum. I’ve always preferred using social media to share observations or to ask questions rather than to reveal my feelings or my whereabouts, but for whatever reason, I rose to new levels in pith this past year.

As always, some of my favorite language gags or tropes never made it into a single essence-crystallizing status update. Recent favorites from the last few years include the concept of the cryptonet (the preferred method of communication among the echelon of people who are so advanced and fascinating they have transcended the internet) and that of the Trippin’ Index (the monthly measurement of the degree to which motherfuckers be trippin’). This year, the big winner in my mind was “froyolo,” which was a joint invention between me and my friend Alison Geisler. To really break it down, the statement “froyolo” translates most accurately to, “Because life is fleeting, it is important at times to enjoy a tasty frozen dessert.” In general, “froyolo” is just something to say in response to a statement that doesn’t make a lot of sense or doesn’t seem like a sufficient explanation, but is probably about as good as you’re going to get. (Example: Toronto mayor Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack in “one of [his] drunken stupors.” Shrug. “Froyolo.”) Unfortunately, there was no “ur” moment on Facebook with froyolo. Honorable shout-out to it, regardless.

Because it’s generally more interesting than what I’ve actually been doing with myself in 2013, I decided to just scroll through everything I posted to Facebook and re-post my best zingers of the year here. I also culled some of my best from Twitter, too, which is maybe cheating, because Twitter practically begs for the epigram format; everything else on Twitter is just a link or a crowd-sourcing request. Granted, not all of these here are technically epigrams, but most are. In roughly reverse chronological order:

“If it seems too good to be true, you’re still gonna have to work really hard for it and come away with 30-50% of the return you’d originally expected, tops.”

“Got an email from the Freelancers Union asking me to ‘become part of the community on our Facebook Page, where we post the latest FU news,’ but in a certain way, Facebook is where EVERYone posts their latest FU news.”

“The Internet: Celebrating more than 20 years of providing people with a forum in which they can feel irrationally proud of every terrible decision they might make”

“We’re always swinging somewhere between ‘WHEEE’ and ennui.”

“The good news is, you’re under no obligation to live up to the unreasonable expectations of everyone who’s trying to live vicariously through you.”

“I used to think I was an introvert, but eventually I realized I’m really an extrovert with some kind of anxiety disorder.”

“The revolution is only a 2,000-word think piece away.”

“Maybe YOU guys built THAT city on rock & roll, but WE built THIS city on a cursed graveyard.”

“That old line about how if you take a certain song that seems innocuous enough and play it backwards, you hear hidden evil messages… y’know, if you’re gonna believe that, it has to work both ways. Like, if you play Slayer’s ‘Reign in Blood’ LP backwards, you’ll hear hidden messages about very nice people who are having a good time.”

“You know, the MTA bus system really is the best way to see all the parts of this city you don’t want to see.”

“After assessing reality for pretty much the whole subway ride in this morning, I’m uncertain why anyone considers ‘keeping it real’ to be a virtue.”

“The hardest thing about knowing what you want is losing what you want.”


“You know, you’re right. After thousands and thousands of years of human beings living together in societies, cultures and civilizations rising and falling in power and influence, it’s remarkable how much our collective values have deteriorated since whenever you were a kid. That and popular music.”

“Happiness is opening the refrigerator and remembering you’d ordered nachos yesterday and stashed them for later. — Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve never had the slightest idea of what happiness is.”

“Today was my grandparents’ 65th anniversary. Sixty-five years! To put that in perspective… that’s longer than I’ve even been ALIVE.”

“Can’t stop, won’t stop, don’t know how to stop, never was sufficiently trained in stopping, starting to feel a little nervous about this whole ‘not stopping’ thing, stopping might be nice, seriously guys, help”

“I need a back rub and to get rid of whatever intimacy issues I have that leave me even more anxious after a back rub than I’d been before.”

“The camera always adds 10 pounds and subtracts 20 IQ points.”

“I’m a better roommate than I am a boyfriend, because what you want from a roommate is someone who picks up after himself and whom you can have a beer with but who otherwise leaves you alone most of the time.”

“I’m going to start a band. We’re going to be almost unimaginably obnoxious, repetitive, and at times incomprehensible. We’re going to be called Earthlink Customer Service.”

“All things are cyclical. Some are just plain sick.”

“The process of aging manifests itself in the sound of your car’s cassette deck eating the Minor Threat tape you dubbed from your LPs when you were 18.”

“I haven’t been ‘in a relationship’ in a really long time, but every once in a while someone makes me a page admin, which is kind of close, I guess.”

“I think a good gauge of how much freedom you have in your life is whether you could feasibly grow a mohawk if you felt like it without experiencing very much backlash.”

“Walked past a sign in a window reading, ‘HELP WANTED — INQUIRE WITHIN.’ Immediately experienced enlightenment.”

“Sometimes I go out and I think people are trying to get my attention and then I remember ‘Brian’ is basically shorthand for ‘white dude born sometime between 1975 and 1985.'”

“Now that I think about it, maybe nostalgia in itself isn’t the problem. Maybe the problem is that so many of us are nostalgic for crap.”

“Funny how readily you can hear advice on how to ‘find success in the music industry’ from people who are not successful in the music industry.”

“I can’t wait until tomorrow. Not that anything exciting is going to happen for sure — it’s just that tomorrow has a certain quality of not being today.”

“Mulling over the canon of classic rock songs that speak of a desire to rock as if there were any particular barrier to rocking in the first place.”

“One of the sad things about getting older is realizing you need to replace the set of cultural reference points you use as punchlines.”

“Heard the Postal Service sold out Barclays Center. So are they going to continue delivering on Saturdays now, or what?”

“Look, I have some problems, but it’s not as though I eat on the subway or anything.”

“All I really want is one of each.”

Want more of this in 2014? Follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty sure you can follow me on Facebook, too. Just, y’know, don’t be a creep.


About Brian

"About you," it says? This whole THING is about me.
This entry was posted in The Internet, Wit and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 2013: The Year in Epigrams

  1. Viva La Pith! Remember to run your own race, young grasshopper. No need to compare ya self with those in the next lane.

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