Hey. We’ve talked for a few days now and I believe it’s time for me to come right out and say this: you are trapped.

No, wait, shh, don’t leave. Let me hold you, stroke your head and reassure you that you are…and it’s okay. May I call you George?

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George, I know this comes as a shock, but I’m inclined to believe that you knew the truth. You knew all along, didn’t you, George of the fandom jungle? Look at where you are right now. Do you see it? There’s likely a picture, meme, action figure, poster, album; or a tab open on your computer right now with your favorite actor, idol, music act or fan fiction at the ready. You, George-not-quite-Costanza, have told yourself that you are a great quitter and can quit this whenever you want. Lies.

At some point, you’ve wondered why you’re into any part of the fan lifestyle. You’ve stared into the glare of a computer, tablet or smartphone screen awaiting confirmation of your order processing, only to feel 6 seconds of dread. It’s okay, ol’ Curious George. You cannot stop.

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Did you know, Georgy Porgy puddin’ pie, that you are a part of something so amazing, so consuming, that it’s studied on a scholastic and academic level? When you have some free time later, go ahead and Google the phrase “studying fandom culture” and be amazed. Let’s take it a step further by nicknaming us The Ardent Ones. We are the passionate, deeply committed fan base of our respective faves; and, we, in turn, are in too deep for the following reasons. (I wanted to say something here along the lines of blasting off, George, but The Jetsons might not be on your radar.)

“Look at this!”

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Try as we might, we cannot resist shiny things. Being a fan means seeing the shiny, glittery, OMG-moments better than a general passerby. You gobble up interview footage. You see the new hairstyles and squeal. A photo of a new outfit comes down your timeline and your fave is currently the most fashionable person in the entire universe. You’re running out of room on your phone for more screenshots and no one can save you.

There’s a quote for that

For virtually any conversation, you can find a way to add a song lyric or quote from your faves. I don’t even have to create a full paragraph here because you’re thinking about quotations and song lyrics now.

And there’s vocabulary, too

There’s a lingo to being a fan and social media is all for it. Yeah, it’s like a sponge, just waiting for a nice squeezing. Extra points if you can add something to the aforementioned list.

That sums it up, George. I could go on but I’m certain you’ve got the point. And to those who just don’t understand? Stay pressed.

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