1. Send your carefully crafted, pithy observation to the group text instead. Twenty minutes later, receive one “haha” from a high school friend.
2. Post your joke on Facebook. Attach a photo of a small child for the algorithm. Make your post invisible to your grandparents and your Aunt Jean because it includes mild sexual innuendo. One day later, return to Facebook and see that you’ve received two likes, one shocked face, and seven “care” emojis, including from your middle school choir director’s husband.
3. Post it to LinkedIn. First, you’ll have to reset your password. Respond to the email confirmation. Log in. Scroll through 347 notifications. Observe that someone named Erik, whom you have no memory of ever knowing, is doing keto and recently got a promotion. Update your resume. Fail to figure out how to make a post. Congratulate Erik on his promotion.
4. Go upstairs and knock on the door to the office where your husband is working. Wait for him to finish a conference call. Using the tone of someone making a spontaneous observation, deliver your joke. When he looks at you strangely, remember that you did the same thing yesterday, only you swapped the order of two words.
5. Post your joke to Instagram. First, Google how to make a reel. Watch instructional videos for an hour. Consider making a car selfie video instead. Remember you’re out of under-eye concealer. Maybe a still picture? Write your joke on a piece of torn paper and take a photo of your fingers holding it in front of a window. No, that’s stupid. Create a text-only Instagram story. Change the background color to rainbow. Change the background color to black. Change the font to the curly one. Change the background color to yellow. Publish it. Delete your whole Instagram account in shame.
6. Post it to TikTok—wait, you have to learn a dance first?
7. Text your mom. Receive a response immediately. She doesn’t understand your joke, but she wants to know if you have any Christmas gift ideas for your sister.
8. Try to join Mastodon. The tweets are called toots, and it looks like you need to know basic programming. Receive a message from someone in Germany asking for donations and explaining that the network discourages viral posts. Yell, “WELL, THEN WHAT’S THE POINT, JURGEN?”
9. Restart your abandoned newsletter on Substack and post your joke there. Email everyone you know, asking them to subscribe, including your relatives, former coworkers, people from college, and Erik from LinkedIn. One week later, the only people who have subscribed are your grandparents and your Aunt Jean. Text your mom to ask whether your grandma is mad because of the sexual innuendo.
10. Search online for therapists. A therapist has to listen to your jokes, right?
11. DM a friend and invite him to coffee. Over lattes, deliver your joke. He didn’t really laugh, but also the barista turned on the loud steam thing right over a crucial word. Should you repeat yourself? The conversation has moved on. This latte cost six dollars.
12. While petting your dog, whisper your joke into his fur. Stroke his ears. Whisper, “I was today years old.” Whisper, “Is this anything?”
13. Drive to the dentist’s office and tell your joke to a fish in the aquarium. Squint and imagine the tiny bubbles coming out of the fish are the like and retweet icons. Congratulate yourself. It’s doing numbers!
14. Un-deactivate your Twitter account. Post your joke. Twenty minutes later, receive a lifetime ban because joking is now only available to people who pay thirty-eight dollars a month and change their username to @ElonIsTheSmartest.
15. Go outside. The sun burns your eyeballs. Imagine your joke is a balloon that you’re releasing into the sky. But, like, a safe balloon, not the kind that kills sea turtles. Imagine going for a walk today. Imagine reading a book. Think of a joke about sea turtles. Dammit.