Fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and of the theater of the absurd, owe it to themselves to check out the Dirty Box of Pandora. For just a short story it packs in an awful lot of social relevance and philosophical profundity. As a brilliantly funny lampoon of social media interactions, on-line dating, and the whole idea of building quality relationships in the virtual world, it can’t help but shock the reader into a higher sense of just how the internet is reshaping us daily. At the same time, behind all the ridicule is a loving homage to the age we live in; the author can’t help but adore his own characters and the stage on which he sets them.
Written by the next generation on line—let’s see, where are we now, Gen-X, Y, Z—I’m running out of letters—the tale is suffused by a color blindness when it comes to race, is devoid of sexism, ageism, and any sense of cultural superiority. None of this stops the scribe from having great fun with the broken English of characters struggling to communicate in a 2nd, third, or maybe fourth language, to add to the miscommunications and sense of disconnect that often accompanies trying to reach across great cultural divides while in cyberspace. Though the walls that separate us all have fallen on the internet, if not in the real world, it’s clear we’re still not past all the shock and awe that comes when faced with all this strangeness for the first time of such different peoples, lifestyles, values, and ways of seeing, looking at, and interpreting the world. As to how you walk that fine line exactly of celebrating all that’s weird and wonderful in us and in our daily interactions with one another, while making fun of ourselves at the same time, well that’s the Zen of it, isn’t it? To be so fully immersed in our world and yet distant from it; the paradoxical stance can only be resolved by what artists understand as Flow State. For non-artists, simply reading this story will put you in Zen mind long enough to know what I’m talking about.
Highly recommended for readers who enjoy lightness and whimsy in order to gain a counterintuitively deeper and more profound understanding of their world.
Note: to my knowledge, this short is currently only available on Wattpad. Though the author has a website with still more strange and wonderful tales entirely worth exploring, some of which will be the subject of future reviews. If you want to get the jump on me with drawing attention to the other titles from such a unique voice among writers of any generation, or simply wish to enjoy traveling further down the twists and turns of his mind, all you need do is go to this url: http://www.howlarium.com