young man looking up at all the ads in Times Square
PHOTO: Joshua Earle

Kids! Get inside! Enough of that fresh air and frolicking around playing some useless chase. Inside now! Don’t you know you haven’t done your PlayStation yet? Five hours every day. Why do I have to keep hammering on about it? I’ve been telling you this since you were toddlers: Endlessly play computer games. Endlessly buy computers games and then endlessly buy accessories. Eye stress is good. Debt is good. Late nights up in front of the TV or computer consuming is good for the economy. Play your part!

Food! What’s this about healthy food? Don’t you know I can’t make the same money on healthy food as you can make on ultra-processed food? Not to mention the fact that I can design junk to be chemically much more addictive. Don’t you have any consideration for me? I can make five times the profit if you eat that junk food than those crappy vegetables. Come on. Get with the program. Have you had your liter of Coke yet? How many times do I have to tell you? Just stay away from that water, right. OK, if you must, at least drink it from a plastic bottle, none of that tap stuff. Don’t you realize how much effort we’ve gone to to undermine confidence in tap water?

These clothes of yours. You’re wearing them too long. Haven’t you heard of fast fashion? If you don’t have at least two pieces of clothes in your wardrobe that you’ve never worn, then you’re just not with it. It took a lot of work to get people to buy five times as many clothes as they did 30 years ago and to wear them half as long. Single use, that’s the way to go. Just wear it once then throw it away. Then you’re with the program.

I need to talk to you about your rubbish. You’re not producing enough of it. When I see the bin overflowing with plastic and other junk, it makes my heart glad, because then I know you’re consuming. Then I know I’ve brought up another generation to be proud of. You’ve gotta think consumption. Every time you’re bored, pick up a product. Go online so that I can track you. Every time you get hungry, pick up a sugar-saturated snack. Banish hunger. Banish from your life any inconvenience. You’ve got to learn that you’re worth it, just do it, be with it and take what you want when you want. Debt is good.

See the other kids. They’re obese. They’re eating the junk. They’re addicted to sugar. They’re spending every single minute they can online, or gaming, or watching TV. See the effort they’re putting in to being good consumers. But you, you prefer to go for a walk. You’re talking about veganism. How on earth am I going to monetize veganism? You’re worried about the climate. I’m worried about you. Too much conscientiousness. Where’s the fun? Life is branding. Debt is good.