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The worldwide web of woe sometimes best avoided

Washed Up column by Sarah Juggins, Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Logging on to the internet: it is an activity guaranteed to make you feel miserable.

Right now, at this weird and unsettling time, what everyone needs is a little bit of good news.

Well folks, my suggestion is, if you want to feel better about yourself, do not go on to any form of social media. In fact, do not go onto the internet at all.

Washed Up column by Sarah Juggins. Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Washed Up column by Sarah Juggins. Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Three separate incidents have persuaded me that the internet will only make you feel worse about yourself.

I logged on to the Lynn News website to have a trawl through the local news. A side-bar caught my attention and I clicked on it. Quite why I clicked the link I will never know. The headline was ‘Outdated Fashion Trends Old Women Still Wear’.

As I sat at my computer wearing a hoodie that actually harks back to my hockey-playing days, the first image was of an elderly woman wearing a hoodie.

Now I am not an ‘old woman’, but I am also not a fresh-faced 20-year-old. As I sat gazing at the screen, I could feel wrinkles growing and skin slowly melting downwards into saggy pouches. It was not a good moment.

Then there is the moment you open your junk mail folder. I don’t know what algorithms exist around the name ‘Sarah Juggins’, but the vast majority of emails that, fortunately, get moved into junk are all about three things: erectile dysfunction, seniors insurance, and gambling.

Some of these escape the filters and hit me full in the in-tray, usually first thing in the morning.

It is not a good way to start the day.

The third incident is one that is indicative of a wider problem. I write for an international sports federation which means I often have conversations with people in other countries.

Last week I was speaking on the phone, in a private conversation, to a hockey coach in Argentina. Just a few hours later and I was being bombarded with adverts for flights to Buenos Aires, travel tips for Patagonia and hotels available in Mendoza.

All I could think was that there was nothing about my life that could escape scrutiny – and that was the thing that made me feel worst of all.

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