I thought about taking a picture of my breakfast, then posting it, the subtext being, you know, how fucking cool and healthy I am. I mean, who eats fresh papaya and mango and avocado and banana straight from a fruit stall on Moon Muang Soi 6 in Chiang Mai, Thailand? Yes, I’d add my location, the subtext being, you know, I’m still in Thailand; the subtext also being that, if you’ve seen my previous posts, I’ve been here for almost a month after an entire month in England; the sub-subtext being that I take longer vacations than most.

And yes, I’d tag my wife so all her friends and family and co-workers and high school sweethearts would know how fucking cool and healthy her husband is, and so they, too, would bestow their likes and loves and OMFG-faces, pushing me past the two hundred, maybe three hundred, mark. My personal record is four-something, I believe, when I announced I’d been sober for twenty years. Oh, who am I kidding? I received exactly 446 likes, loves, and hugged hearts (238, 189, and 19, respectively), with 309 comments, half of the latter being my humble, grateful responses.

Of course, taking and posting a picture of my breakfast and including my location and tagging my wife would then require me to check and recheck my Facebook page every five to fifteen minutes throughout the next several days, waiting ever-so-patiently to like or love or respond to each comment so I don’t appear, you know, desperate for attention, and so it doesn’t appear that I was, you know, checking every five to fifteen minutes, and so you don’t think I might as well be at home in Modesto, California, since all I’m doing is staring at a stupid screen to see how many of my friends are staring at their stupid screens. Why would I spend so much time and money getting to Thailand (via England) to do that?

And I haven’t even talked about staging. I mean, lighting matters. Placement matters. Complementing shapes and colors matter. I couldn’t possibly post my first shot. I mean, my supplements can’t be in the frame even though they always sit right next to the plates of fruit. I want you to think I’m so fucking cool and healthy because of nature’s bounty, not some bullshit that a scientist and marketer duped me into buying for, jeez, let’s just say a lot of money. Okay, it’s about five bucks per day in supplements. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s $8.08. Per day! Which I couldn’t expose because I want you to think that this vegan—for thirty-plus years now, which I don’t post on Facebook because, you know, the biggest knock against vegans is that they can’t shut the fuck up about being vegan—is so fucking cool and healthy without any additional help from those goddamn scientists and marketers.

Then I’d have to consider whether I should include a little snippet of Thai language since one of the many ways I want you to think I’m so fucking cool is that I speak the lingo. And suggesting that I do would then require me to cross my fingers in anxious anticipation that anyone who actually speaks fluent Thai, such as author Ira Sukrungruang, who is my Facebook friend and who often visits his mother in Chiang Mai, would see it, note the shitty translation or spelling, and know I’m a fraud.

Not only that, if I included just nit noi Thai in my post, I’d have to wring my hands over which of my racist friends who don’t think they’re racist—you know, those people from high school who either never changed or changed so much but whom I haven’t unfriended yet because, deep down, I think they have good hearts or we shared some good times when we were kids—would comment with some bullshit sing-song word vomit that gets tons of laughs among their racist friends who don’t think they’re racist. This would then require me to check my post more often than I normally do because I’d either have to delete that bullshit or fire back with a lesson on being woke like me.

But in the end, as you probably noticed (and why wouldn’t you unless you unfollowed me but remained friends?), I didn’t take and share the picture. I just ate my breakfast and moved on with my I’m-in-Thailand! day, thinking about the next moment I would or wouldn’t post.

Optimism One’s essays have been anthologized by Peter Lang Publishing and In Fact Books, and published in The Normal School, among others. He has completed a memoir manuscript, Goodbye, Suicide: A Love Story, and is currently seeking an agent and/or publisher.

Artwork by Barbara Gillette Price