The internet is lonesome and atomizing and weird, which is strange when you consider that Bringing People Together is the one aspect of its ostensible promise that is unquestionably a success. It’s probably not the internet’s fault that, having been brought together, everyone just immediately started threatening to kidnap everyone else, or trying to ensnare everyone else in oafish multi-level marketing scams, or both. It may be that humans are just not built to handle this volume of stimulus or this kind of weird animus or this particular kind of togetherness, which manages to be both claustrophobically close and airlessly, endlessly distant. It may also be that humans are just bad! Anyway, it’s a strange place to live and a strange place to work.
The easiest thing to do with all this is to compartmentalize it, and divide your life into the part of it that is real—this is where you spend time with friends and family, eating sandwiches and getting headaches and so on—and the part of it that lives, howling, in various devices. This is not quite correct, but drawing and maintaining some sort of distinction is helpful and probably as close to healthy as any of this gets. All of which made it that much stranger when a box of old baseball cards—they came from Oregon and were mailed in an old Apple printer box at a cost of $18.58—arrived at the Deadspin offices, addressed to Let’s Remember Some Guys.
This was strange because it crossed between realms, from the unreal world of these goofy web videos and the real world of the U.S. Postal Service and hundreds of near-identical Larry Sheets cards. It was also strange because it is a weird thing to have an anonymous benefactor just up and mail hundreds of baseball cards. Just on its merits, that is a strange thing to do, and a strange thing to receive.
But if the origins of this gift have a faint sense of the uncanny about them, it was clear what we needed to do. Friends, Lauren and I opened the box. We remembered the guys. We found a weird card issued by the Milwaukee Police Department. It’s a strange thing to do, all of it, and yet somehow it all feels quite natural.