I would like to draw your attention to an under-diagnosed but no less crippling disease that affects millions of Millennials across the globe. A disease that deserves its own advocacy month on the calendar. A disease whose sufferers deserve support groups, and possibly a tax break on online purchases.
Instant Gratification Syndrome, or IGS, is a debilitating disease characterized by emotional servitude to the Now. Some limitations that sufferers face include: inability to prepare non-instant foods (anything that requires preparation, baking, grilling, or microwaving in excess of 14 seconds); inability to mail packages (due primarily to the ever-present lines at the Post Office, particularly exacerbated in light of USPS’s current financial woes); and an inability to order custom-made furniture.
Later stages of the disease result in not being able to wait the two days in between a first date and a follow-up phone call without lapsing into total mental collapse. Currently, the only known cure for IGS is living in New York City, but even this treatment is only palliative, and is often addictive.
I live every day with IGS. I eat exclusively pre-packaged foods; I can’t watch movies that don’t present a coherent and predictable plot line within the first five minutes; and today, I’m pretty sure I’m going to get bed bugs, because I’m wearing a dress I bought from a thrift store yesterday and couldn’t wait to get cleaned before I wore it.
Online shopping is the worst for me. I find the three-to-five days between the moment I click “Purchase” and the arrival of my package to be sheer agony. If, in the event that the clothes don’t fit, most of the time I will wear them anyway, because waiting for the exchanged garments to arrive is so far outside of my pain threshold as to be ludicrous. I will suffer through the lifespan of a given product knowing it is the wrong thing, but helpless to ameliorate my own circumstances. I hobble around New York with pinched and blistered toes, quietly weeping, another invisible victim of IGS.
Travel is also equally prohibitive. Even when the transit in question is a mere 45-minute subway ride from the Upper East Side of Manhattan to Brooklyn, because of the involvement of a train transfer and the possibility of an extended wait on the Union Square platform, I find myself tied to my computer at home, surfing Pinterest like an over-caffeinated hummingbird. This makes international—or even national—travel out of the question. The mere thought of a nine-hour plane ride to Italy causes me to break out into a rash across my chest. Oozing pustules brand me with my own inadequacies.
What the average citizen doesn’t realize is that the repercussions of IGS are bigger than any one person: If I were ever to be captured and tortured for state secrets, all they would need to do is set me up with an online Amazon account and set all the delivery times to 14+ days. I’d cave in a day.
Though living with IGS is challenging, those of us who suffer remain hopeful that one day there will be a cure. The advent of the disease has been circumstantially linked with the invention of the Internet—to this day, sufferers often experience what is known as a “Non-Gratification Blackout” when they hear the original AOL dial-up tone—but no definitive research has been done into the origins or pathology of the disease. As of now, the only resource out there is a series of list-based online articles on surviving day-to-day life that form a kind of informal support group for those with IGS who read and leave comments on them.
So please, help us spread the word. Only by a concerted public outcry—the kind of long-term campaign that IGS sufferers are unable to mount ourselves—can we convince Big Pharma that their R&D dollars would be well spent on IGS.
Get involved. Those of us who suffer from IGS can’t wait.