Dear Santa,

I haven’t written to you for a really long time, mostly because it didn’t seem worth it. You and I both know what I’ve been up to, and it isn’t putting me on anyone’s good list. But a girl has to make money somehow, so I’m asking you to cut me some slack this one time and slip something in your sack for me this Christmas. No, I’m not writing to ask for diamonds or shoes, or anything fancy like that. It isn’t even a physical item you can rustle up in your workshop. It's complicated.

See, a couple of weeks ago, I was doom-surfing the Internet, fighting with a bunch of neo-Nazis on Quora and flipping between 7 different cable channels, when I noticed smoke in my living room. At first, I figured there was something burning on the stove. But when I went into the kitchen, there was nothing there. Searching the rest of the house, I couldn’t find the source either. So I opened a couple of windows, caught a glimpse of my reflection and the hideous truth came to light: like something from an old-timey cartoon, the smoke that had been filling my place had been blowing out from my own ears. Horrified, I jumped in the shower which seemed to do the trick. The smoke stopped and I decided to surf some cat videos on the internet and forget about it.

This is where things got really weird. I was maybe five minutes into “Adorable Kitten Fails,” my favorite YouTube channel, when I was overcome by an odd feeling. Or rather, by the lack of an odd feeling, or indeed, any feeling at all. Same deal when I watched “Adorable Puppy Fails.” Even “Crazy Cute Baby Sloths Eating Watermelon,” a YouTube channel devoted solely to baby sloths eating watermelons, couldn’t ignite any kind of fire within me. Yeah, objectively, I knew these baby animals were cute, but I had this moment of intense clarity, like, kitten and puppy videos didn’t matter. Maybe they even sucked a little. If I had been able to feel anything at that moment, it would have been terror.

Knowing something was seriously wrong, I called up my good friend Rod and explained the problem. He’s not a doctor, but he watches a lot of medical-based television. He suggested that my brain had kind of overloaded from everything I’d been dumping into it, like an electricity grid with too many air conditioners running. He suggested that too much stuff bombarding my mind and whole shebang had gone kaboom. Aside from not being a doctor, Rod also isn’t an electrician. But he got me thinking. They say women are only given a certain number of eggs every lifetime and maybe that’s the same with emotions. Maybe I fried my feels, or used them up entirely, and now they’re gone and they’re not coming back. Ever.

I’m not going to lie, there are advantages to feeling neither good nor bad. Last week, I tried to teach my computer-illiterate father to use Zoom. Not only did he keep calling it Zoop, but somehow, he spilled coffee on my laptop, even though no one was even drinking coffee at the time. Usually, I’d have felt anger, frustration, self-loathing at getting mad at my father, rage-eating, self-loathing at rage eating, and a whole bunch of other stuff that would ruin my day. Instead, I just shrugged and said we’d figure it out, which totally freaked him out. Trembling, my Dad asked who I was and what had I done with his daughter? Then he said my eyes were dead and begged me to leave. And I did, which caused me to feel nothing at all—not anger, not relief, not joy. Nothing. I was like a serial killer or investment banker: an empty shell of a human with no feelings or moral compass. I knew what it was like to be Jeff Bezos.

But I’m too young to be so dead inside. I want to be able to enjoy baby animal videos again because I literally have no other hobbies.

So, Santa, if you can rustle up some human emotions on this late notice, I’d really appreciate a couple in my Christmas stocking. It doesn’t even need to be joy or happiness. What’s that emotion you get when you see someone fall down the stairs in an amusing way? I’d be ok with that one.

Please help me feel something again Santa.

Best,

Sarah


Related

Resources