To Whom Nothing Really Concerns Anymore:

It is with mustered, performed regret that I announce my imminent departure as your self-centered, mythological scapegoat. Though I have served faithfully in this capacity as a deflection of your own grotesque vanity for many millennia, I believe it is far time I step aside to make space for—well, you.

I have lost motivation for my role of being the embodiment of vanity. To put it lightly: remote work has challenged the core values I once held dear. The reflection pool of my youth proved more flattering than any HD screen. There, I never witnessed myself sneak slivers of string cheese during meetings, then try to chew with any sense of dignity (it was far better, never knowing my vile contortions while eating). There at the water’s edge, I never scrutinized how much I nodded, vigorously and with humiliating exaggeration before a green light, to execute any semblance of feigned interest toward others. There on the sunlit surface, I never needed a “touch up my appearance” Zoom filter, ineffective against hiding the cystic acne now wrecking my once flawless face (which I suppose has absolutely nothing to do with my new, all-snack stress diet).

For thousands of years, I sustained my important position as your vain mascot with pride. But these “trying and unprecedented times” of The Selfie That Never Ends have shattered my conviction of my undeniable beauty. Now, I know I am as common and nasty as everyone else’s pixelated mug.

Along with my notice, I would like to request an exit interview. I propose the following agenda:

  • For the sustainability of future narcissists, I recommend a special budget dedicated to preserving appearances. I can’t tell you how much of my own salary I’ve spent on pimple patches and novel facial products promising to boost my morale. But then again, maybe not. None seemed sufficient for the challenge. I confess, at times even I questioned the point of presentation and self-obsession while the world seemed, as they say, a roiling dumpster fire.
  • As I mentioned to HR, I would like my name cleared of pathological blaming. I think we can all agree that narcissism and the utter fixation with one’s self (proven in the wake of a global crisis), have become a communal affair, no longer belonging to any one individual.
  • Last, I insist my name become associated with its right, proper, and lovely etymology of a daffodil (Order, Asparagales; Family, Amaryllidaceae; Genus: Narcissus).

Though I know you have lost your capacity to care for much beyond the confines of your little world, particularly when it comes to the unemployed, I will describe my future plans anyway. Given the saturated job market of my field, I’ll enjoy my few remaining years hunting the lands of Boeotia again, no longer driven mad by the unattainable object of my desire. The prophet Tiresias predicted that I would live a long life if only I never discovered myself, and I admit I have discovered much more of myself than I ever wanted, enough to haunt a hundred lifetimes.

I leave it to you and your capable hands—or should I say faces—utterly convinced you are more than qualified to carry my mantle. Between your Zooms, Google Hangouts, FaceTimes, and Marco Polos, you’ve been doing the job far better for a while now. It is high time you got your fair title.

Sincerely as I can summon, which is to say, not much,
Narcissus


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