We live in a world with a finite number of precious resources – oil, coal, and most importantly, free articles before we hit a paywall. In this framework, we must choose wisely and use what limited number of free articles we have on pieces worthy of our clicks. Yet, like any other precious resource, it only takes a second of carelessness for waste to happen. This ruinous negligence happened to me when I clicked on an innocent link to ‘Who is Taylor Swift’s BF? 5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Joe Alwyn’ – only to realize a moment too late that I had used my last free article on this careless click.
The devastation I felt as the web page loaded was immeasurable.
I read the article with sinking sadness – all I had wanted to do was know once and for all who the fuck Joe Alwyn was and why he was popping up everywhere, but my reckless curiosity got the best of me. Now like a modern-day exiled Napoleon, I’m shunned from any and all New York Magazine articles for the next month. All because I had to click on a listicle that was just bullet points from his goddamn Wikipedia page.
For the next hour, I just sat there in a ball of anguish and regret.
But I’m trying to find the silver lining during these dark times. Rather than hold a grudge about the fact that now I can’t read Jennifer Coolidge’s interview about the White Lotus finale, I will take solace in knowing that Joe Alwyn was almost cast as the little boy in Love Actually and am ready to dole out this little tidbit at any dinner party I go to in the near future. And if a trivia question ever comes up asking which Oscar-nominated films Taylor Swift’s boyfriend has appeared in, I’ll be able to list them with ease. It’s not much, but it’ll have to do.
While these 5 fun facts were not worth the last of my carefully allotted paywall-free articles, I will treat them as a cautionary tale the next time I’m haphazardly clicking around the internet as if I have all the free articles in the world. And even though I still feel like I know next to nothing about Joe Alwyn, this brutal lesson in mindfulness is a learning moment I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
At least I still have a New York Times article lef– God damn it, I just clicked on their summary of the Harry and Meghan documentary.