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One day, many years ago, I came up with an ingenious thought experiment which is the true test of how much I’m enjoying a job.

It’s simple. I pose myself this question:

If I somehow had a magical button that would allow me to black out every day at the start of work, waking me up hours later once I’m finished, would I use it? Read More

It all started when I got my first job.

I’d just finished my exams at school and was free to spend my summer however I pleased. I was 16 and still a child, but my mother got me a part-time job working in a government office during the evenings.

For a first job it was amazing: good pay, looked great on a resume and I was good at it too. Everything seemed perfect until the bullying started. Read More

With each year that goes by, my knuckles get a little hairier and my brow gets a little thinner. I change so gradually that I never truly notice it. Each day I look in the mirror and see the exact same person I saw the day before. Only when I look back on old photographs does it dawn on me that I have aged. Read More

Whenever I check my emails I am overcome with a brief sense of hope.

This is it, I think, today I’ll get the email of my dreams.

Sitting in my inbox will be a message from the CEO of some fantastic company saying “Daniel, I’ve read your blog and I’m so amazed by your talent that I’m going to pay you a million dollars for you to lazily write one blog post a month for my company. Don’t worry about the topic, just do what you like. That’s how much we value you.”

A fantasy. I check my inbox and it’s empty. Obviously. People rarely email strangers about anything. Who would want to contact another human being?! Isn’t it strange that we live in an age where we’re more connected than ever but nobody can be bothered to communicate. That would take far too much effort. Why is writing an email such hard work?

Instead, we wait. Checking our emails every 5 minutes in the hope we’ll receive something to validate ourselves. Nothing ever comes. Nothing at all these days.

There used to be a time when I’d get spam. That would keep me somewhat happy. For a few seconds I would be one step closer to that fantasy email. My computer would ding, I’d know there was something in my inbox. An email, an email! This is it. Then I’d check and it would be an advert for Amazon or a cry for help from a Nigerian prince.

Tick. Delete. Tick. Delete.

The process gave my email purpose. It became a form of game. I had to check my emails because if I didn’t the spam would build up. My email existed solely for this process of ticking and deleting.

Then something horrible happened. Google started blocking spam. In one fell swoop I no longer had to tick or delete.

Nevermind though, I still had all that legitimate spam to give me meaning. Newsletters, social network notifications and promotions. They all kept me coming back to my email. Gave me some reason to continue.

Then more recently something even worse happened. Google started automatically filtering these emails into folders for me. I never read them to begin with, I just deleted them, but now I don’t even have to do that. Out of sight, out of mind. My email has become twenty times as easy to check, but also it’s now twenty times as pointless for me to bother with it.

I’m left with nothing. My inbox is now a barren desert. Its only purpose is to mock me. “Nobody wants to email you! NOBODY!”

I’ve literally gone for weeks while travelling where I haven’t been able to check my email, then when I finally manage to do it there’s nothing there. Google has sorted and separated it so efficiently that I no longer need to exist. It’s only a matter of time before they start to reply automatically to my emails for me. Then I might as well kill myself because my life will be so automated that it will no longer matter that I’m there.

The only thing I live for now is to check my spam folder. Maybe my dream email was sent there by mistake? But no, it hasn’t been. Just emails for penis enlargement and sexy ladies.

I guess the only way to receive is to give. Send out emails and you’ll get replies. But there’s no fun in the expected. Knowing you’ll get a reply takes away half the fun. There’s no surprise in that.

Once in a blue moon somebody sends me an email after reading my blog. I get a feeling of warmth inside. For a few moments I’m important! I’m loved. My email is validated along with my life.

Yet when it comes to hit reply, I waver. Am I really going to have to spend 10 minutes of my valuable time writing an email? Who can be bothered with that? I’ve got more important things to do.

Like checking my Facebook.

Hello my lovely DasBloggers (that’s what I call my readers.)

This is just a short post to announce that my girlfriend and I have setup a new travel blog called Anxious Travelers. Yes, we both understand that there’s a thousand other travel blogs out there. However we believe we have our own unique perspective on travel. We’re both pretty anxious people who worry a lot and that provides a lot of difficulties when traveling. We want to share those difficulties and put other anxious travelers at ease.

On the website there will be the usual travel blog stuff: guides, stories, opinions and photos galore. It might not be as serious as DasBloggen is at times, sometimes more informative, other times dare I say it – fun. There will still be the same thought provoking articles with incredibly high word counts that I write on this site though.

DasBloggen has been quiet for a month or so now because I’ve been working on the new site. We have around 30 articles just waiting to be published so there’ll be plenty of new articles to read and enjoy.

If you wish to view Anxious Travelers simply click here. <<<<< That’s a link although it doesn’t look like a link. Magic.

If you want to be informed of new posts you can either sign up to our mailing list here <<< or Like our Facebook page here. <<<

If you do either of these things I will be incredibly happy and may even orgasm a little.

We will now resume our normal service.

Moments ago, I was happily clicking away on Facebook when all of a sudden this popped up in my feed.

Screenshot from 2014-06-09 15:40:13

My happiness was immediately replaced with anger. The last thing I expected to see on my Facebook was the image of young women being hanged. The image instantly caught my attention so I read the text.

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

What the fuck, I thought. My anger was quickly replaced with a feeling of outrage. What a place India must be.

In a matter of seconds I had gone from being blind, to all of a sudden having my eyes opened to the true horrors of India. Obviously I clicked the link to see what I could do.

I read the first paragraph, my mouth beginning to foam with rage.

I need your help. Two young girls were hanged from a tree after being gang raped in the fields outside their home in India and a minister from the ruling party just responded by saying that rape “is a social crime … sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong.”

How could we live in a world where such gross injustices happen? Something needs to be done!

Thankfully, beside the writing was the perfect solution. A petition. I signed it feeling instantly gratified that I’d done something to prevent such horrible things from happening again. I then decided to share the link with all my Facebook friends so that we could all sign the petition together and truly help Indian women to escape from the torment of their society.

I closed the link knowing that everything would be all right in the world. I was getting hungry so I made a sandwich. Then I watched an old episode of Friends on TV. By the end of the episode I’d forgotten those Indian women even existed. But we all lived happily ever after anyway. The end.

Wait. No. Shit. That’s not what happened.

Ok, I saw the photo. Anger. Read the quote.

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

Outrage. Clicked the link. Felt my rage building. I was almost over the edge, I was just about to enter my details into the petition’s text box when I had to stop for a moment. Went back to that quote one more time.

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Like…you could almost say that at any one moment in India at least one woman is about to be raped, is physically being raped or has just been raped. That thought disgusts me, which is good, I wouldn’t sign a petition unless I felt strongly about it.

I’m inquisitive though. I just really love to do some maths. I wondered to myself, how many women are raped a day?

Let’s say three women an hour. Twenty-four hours in a day. Holy shit. That’s 72 women in the whole of India raped every day. Seventy-two! Fuck. Let’s sign that petition. Actually, no wait, that’s not enoough. How many women per year. Just for curiosities sake. 72 multiplied by 365 days. 26,000! Fucking hell. To put it into perspective that’s almost a whole stadium of women raped every single year in India. That’s disgusting, there’s no doubting that. That statistic is a fact and it’s a horrible one. Still, now that I’m buried in statistics I must continue.

I wonder, how many women are raped in America each year? Let me just check. Lalala.

The answer is almost 85,000. Hmmm. I’m getting confused. That’s more than India. A lot more. Actually, let’s go backwards. That’s 232 rapes every single day in America! That’s almost 10 rapes an hour. That’s a rape every 6 minutes! Chances are somebody in America, somewhere is being raped right now.

Then why is nobody saying anything about it? Where’s the petition to save American women from rape? America clearly has problems too, so why aren’t thousands of Westerners signing and sharing petitions about it? Here’s my theory – India is a developing, far away country and really it has no affect on us or our lives. Secretly, deep down inside we don’t give a shit about India. But when we’re suddenly confronted with this fact – say when we read a website detailing the horrors of India – we have to do something to prove to ourselves we do actually care.  So we sign a petition and that’s enough to make us feel like we’re doing something and that we really do care, honest!

America is too close to home though – heck, for some of us it is home. But if somebody brought the fact up to us that rape in America is just as bad, if not worse than a developing country most of us would just put our fingers in our ears and go, “Lalalala!” Not literally, of course, but we’d just shrug the information off and ignore it. Otherwise those same good morals might force us to take real action, heaven forbid we might actually have to do something!  Who the heck wants to take real action when there’s old episodes of Friends to watch on TV?

Still,I feel like doing more math. Let’s find out the percentage of women raped in each country per year.

Rapes per year divided by population of women

America – (85,000 / 161 million) x 100 = 0.052%

India – (26,000 / 600 million) x 100  = 0.0043%

So every year in America 0.052% of women are raped, where as in India it’s 0.0043%. Each percentage is pretty minuscule. So minuscule in fact that it’s hard to even care.  Once you turn all those women into numbers they cease to be women anymore. They have no names, no faces. They’re just a percentage.

We’re learning something here. If you want to use statistics to argue, don’t use a percentage. It’s too abstract. Not like

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

which is so lovely and graphic. Who is this “woman” who is being raped? You can almost picture her in your mind, almost feel her pain.

But how much can we really trust these statistics? Nobody knows how many women actually get raped in a country, these statistics are simply reported rapes. In other words, a million women could get raped in India each year, but there’s a possibility that only a small percentage of them are reported due to the systematic oppression of women in the country. Or (much less likely) less women could be raped each year because some of the reports may be false. So really we should take all statistics with a grain of salt.

The statistics aren’t used to inform or quantify the problem, but rather to create outrage. It’s so easy for us all to feel annoyed by the plight of women in India because quite frankly the majority of us know nothing about the place. We can easily imagine it to be some dusty hell.

America on the other hand, we’ve been there, we know it’s much like any other place, so it’s harder for us to believe it may also have a rape problem. Harder to create outrage.

With so little information about India at our disposable we have to base all our opinions on a sentence such as.

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

It’s a trueish statement, but it’s sly because it’s used to create a world in our head based on our lack of knowledge and prejudices. We instantly believe India is a place much worse than it actually is.

Obviously, my issue here isn’t even connected to rape, but rather the use of statistics to influence our emotions as well as the instant gratification people get from what they believe to be charity.

I believe rape is completely wrong and if somebody gave me a button to end rape in India, I would push it. That button doesn’t exist though, yet I believe people online think of petitions (and other forms of Internet activism) in much the same way. They think you push the button and then the problem is solved.

At the time of writing 415,000 people have signed the petition and I’m sure it will easily reach the goal of 1 million. But what will have been achieved other than making thousands of non-Indians feel gratified by putting their name in a box.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. This fucking guy right here, this smug self-righteous asshole thinks he’s better than us, but what does he do? Does he selflessly give blood to help AIDS sufferers? Does he donate half his earnings to orphans? Does he spend 10 hours a week helping the homeless?

No, I don’t do any of those things. I’m just as crappy as the rest of you. The difference is I know I’m crappy and have learnt to live with it. The question is: what’s your excuse? Oh, you shared a link on Facebook, I see, I guess you are a better person than I am after all. Good for you.

I’ll make sure to give you a wave while I’m in Hell and you’re in Heaven.

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