DREAM I HAD ABOUT A PLAY ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
(A FATHER and SON sit on the beach. The FATHER holds a helium balloon on a string. The SON is 6 or 7 years old)
FATHER: Okay. I’m gonna hand it to you, okay?
FATHER: But don’t let go yet.
FATHER: Now, we’ll just take this picture of you (pulls a small picture from his wallet) and attach it to the balloon.
SON: That’s me.
FATHER: Yep. You want to write something on it? A message for mommy to see when the balloon gets to her?
SON: Ummm… that I love her? And I miss her.
FATHER: That sounds good. I think she’ll like that. You want me to write it or do you want to write it?
SON: I can write it.
FATHER: Okay. Here, I’ll hold the balloon and you write on the picture. (FATHER takes a marker out of his backpack) Make the letters small, okay? So you have room.
(The SON begins writing. The FATHER stares at him for a beat, then takes out his phone and takes a picture of the SON. Then he stares at his phone for a bit and posts the picture online. He puts his phone back in his pocket, then goes and sits next to the SON. TWEETER 1 enters, staring at phone.)
TWEETER 1: (typing on phone) Check this out. Father playing with son on the beach. Cute. Forwarding.
(TWEETER 2 enters)
TWEETER 2: Awww… Very cute. Wonder if they’re gonna let that balloon go.
(TWEETER 3 enters)
TWEETER 3: Hope not. You’re not supposed to let balloons go like that. It’s dangerous.
TWEETER 1: They’re not doing anything wrong.
TWEETER 3: Released balloons are a danger to area wildlife. Just sayin’.
TWEETER 2: You have a point.
(TWEETER 4 enters)
TWEETER 4: It’s true. Here’s an article about why it’s dangerous to let balloons go.
TWEETER 3: My cousin works at the National Wildlife Service and he sent me these pictures of dead birds tangled in balloon string.
TWEETER 1: I think we’re overreacting. It’s just one balloon.
TWEETER 2: You have a point.
TWEETER 4: Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice that a father is playing with his son since almost no fathers do that. But It’s also selfish to not think about the birds.
TWEETER 3: Oh, it’s not just a danger to birds. Here’s a picture of six rabbits that choked to death on a latex balloon.
TWEETER 2: OMG. You make a solid point.
TWEETER 4: They just wanted food and they tried to eat a balloon. Poor rabbits.
TWEETER 1: This seems a little reactive.
TWEETER 3: In one of the Carolinas, a wedding party released all these balloons and they got tangled up in electrical lines and birds got all tied up. And then they fell and dogs ate the birds and got sick.
(Enter TWEETER 5)
TWEETER 5: Yes, it’s nice that a black guy is on the beach with a kid. But he’s a danger to wildlife. No discussion. Full stop.
TWEETER 1: What makes you think he’s black?
TWEETER 5: He looks black. I’m not racist.
TWEETER 2: No one is calling you racist.
TWEETER 5: I just pointed it out as a descriptor. He looks black.
(TWEETER 6 enters)
TWEETER 6: Umm…you didn’t just point it out. You said it was nice that he was playing with his son. Like black men don’t play with their sons?
(TWEETER 7 enters)
TWEETER 7: Snowflake! Libtard!
TWEETER 6: This is not political!
TWEETER 7: Maybe people talk about black dads not taking care of their sons because they don’t. Ever think of that?
TWEETER 1: He doesn’t look black to me.
TWEETER 2: Good point. He has privilege on his face.
TWEETER 3: It’s the middle of a weekday and he’s not at work. Must be nice.
TWEETER 6: Must be nice because he’s black?
TWEETER 3: Must be nice because he’s white!
TWEETER 4: Wall Street dad.
TWEETER 2: Good call.
TWEETER 6: I’d like to get back to racist comment that guy made.
TWEETER 7: Why are you people so obsessed with racism?
TWEETER 6: Excuse me? You people???
TWEETER 2: LOL
TWEETER 1: OMG
TWEETER 7: I am not racist, but white people are definitely in danger of extinction in this country.
TWEETER 3: You know what’s also in danger of extinction? The California Condor. What happens if it gets tangled up in balloon string?
TWEETER 4: Here’s a Buzzfeed article about how all the California Condors are dying. Oh, wait…my bad…it’s about bees.
FATHER: Almost done there buddy?
FATHER: Read it back to me.
SON: “Mommy. I miss you so much. I wish you were still here. I love you.”
FATHER: Perfect. You want to let it go now?
FATHER: Okay. We’ll let it go and it will go straight to mommy. Okay?
FATHER: On the count of three. One…two…three!
(SON lets the balloon go. It soars upwards while they watch. FATHER takes out phone, takes picture and posts.)
TWEETER 3: He let it go! This is just wrong.
TWEETER 4: Here’s a Mental Floss article about why people do things they know are wrong.
TWEETER 1: Read the whole thread, you guys. His wife died. His kid is letting off a balloon to say goodbye.
TWEETER 3: I’m not saying I approve of people dying. I’m just saying what about dogs that eat balloons?
TWEETER 7: Unless she died while getting an abortion or living on welfare. I approve of that kind of dying.
TWEETER 6: I can’t even handle this! I’m blocking you! I don’t care if you’re my cousin.
TWEETER 5: Don’t feed the troll!
TWEETER 2: He’s a troll. Fair point.
TWEETER 4: What beach are they on?
TWEETER 3: Looks familiar. Seaside Heights maybe?
TWEETER 5: I work at Seaside Heights. Yeah, that’s Seaside Heights.
TWEETER 4: Can you figure out who he is?
TWEETER: 5: Probably.
FATHER: There it goes. Up and away.
SON: Up and away.
TWEETER 1: Read the entire thread before commenting, you guys. This is getting out of hand.
TWEETER 6: Well then why did you start it?
TWEETER 7: This is just the way it is.
TWEETER 5: Okay. He’s staying at my hotel, you guys. His name is Chad Harris. And he works for the Fish and Wildlife commission.
TWEETER 3: No way.
TWEETER 7: Government employee. Figures.
TWEETER 5: Someone should write his boss and let him know he’s breaking the law.
TWEETER 1: Are you trying to get him fired?
TWEETER 3: Look, if he’s willing to put wildlife at risk like this, he shouldn’t be working for the wildlife commission.
TWEETER 4: Here’s a cracked.com article about people that get what’s coming to them.
TWEETER 5: I’m doxxing him.
TWEETER 1: What?
TWEETER 3: He deserves it.
TWEETER 2: Fair point.
TWEETER 3: Write his boss and tell him that Chad Harris doesn’t deserve his job.
(TWEETERS exit, tweeting)
FATHER: Say goodbye, buddy.
(FATHER’S phone buzzes. He takes it out of his pocket and looks at it.)
FATHER: What? Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me?
(FATHER begins typing on phone furiously)
FATHER: Who the fuck are you people? What are you doing?
(All the TWEETERS return, yelling and screaming at one another at the same time. The SON steps away from the group. The TWEETERS continue to yell, but we can no longer hear them. SON stares up at the sky and waves.)
END OF PLAY