strong dumb take

Shut Down the Internet for the Rest of the Year

A broken computer.
Photo: JohnDo/Getty Images/iStockphoto

I spend, on average, about 12 hours a day on the internet. Most of that time is because of my job, but a significant amount of it also involves scrolling through Twitter, witnessing people get into insane fights about podcasts on Twitter, and clicking through every single photo on a restaurant’s Yelp page before I eat there. This is all to say that I am extremely, irrevocably online. But the other day — somewhere in between learning that Twitter founder Jack Dorsey reportedly sent some of his beard hair to rapper Azealia Banks to make an amulet to protect him against ISIS and looking at my 400th blurry photo of a dumpling appetizer — I was struck with a brief moment of clarity from on high, and emerged with an indisputably genius idea: Let’s shut down the internet for the rest of the year.

Back in June, my esteemed colleague Kelly Conaboy wrote about my esteemed former colleague Emily Sundberg’s grandmother’s suggestion to turn off the internet for one weekend per month. Unfortunately, the powers that be foolishly refused to heed this advice. Perhaps if they did, I wouldn’t be here, feeling weary and desperate to retreat into the woods and grow out my beard and get aggressively into herbal medicine. “Michael Barbaro?” I’d mumble, gruff and braless, to a young backpacker who wandered onto my land. “I haven’t heard that name in years.”

In any case, now is absolutely the ideal time to unplug the entire internet. We have two weeks left in the year. Everyone is winding down, preparing to spend time with their families, celebrate the holidays, and/or reflect on their numerous disappointments and shortcomings over the past 12 months. We are all unified in our exhaustion. As my esteemed colleague Callie Beusman sagely pointed out in support of my plan, “The celebs aren’t even doing antics.”

In terms of logistics, it’s necessary to note that this plan wouldn’t be like an authoritarian government shutting down the internet as punishment but, instead, a nice and cozy break for us to briefly rest until 2019. As with the internet-free weekend plan, we’d still need to maintain some services for emergency purposes. Most importantly, you could still stream television, but the only options would be Vanderpump Rules, Billions seasons two and three, Springsteen on Broadway on Netflix, and the Fireplace for Your Home video.

Assuming this plan will go off without a hitch and the internet will be gone from tomorrow until January 1, you’ll need to prepare for our two weeks of blissful freedom from emails and Slacks and tweets about basing your stripper name on your favorite salad dressing. Download your offline maps and restaurant menus. Check out a bunch of library books. Print out your most treasured pictures, whether they’re of stranger’s dogs or Gritty or whatever sex stuff you’re into. Then log the hell off.

Shut Down the Internet for the Rest of the Year