There’s an oft-repeated Online Age proverb that goes something like this: “Every day, the internet picks a protagonist. Try not to let it be you.” It’s a bit like the old “May you live in interesting times” curse, except as applied to fucking up on Twitter, and today’s chosen protagonist is what we, in the online journalism game, refer to as a “doozy”: A guy going by the name Shane Morris (although who can say, given all the mendacious shit we’re about to describe), whose online presence over the last week has been an eerily accurate recreation of that time Homer Simpson fell down the Springfield Gorge.
If you encountered Morris during the earliest parts of his newfound internet infamy—i.e., the bit where Homer is still soaring on the skateboard, confident that he’s king of the world—it was presumably with a thread he posted on Twitter this Monday, in which he told a rambling, largely improbable, not especially well-written story in the “Buckle up, gang, because THIS’LL BE A WILD ONE” style of online discourse. Said story concerned Morris finding a “kilo” of heroin hidden in an old van he bought a few years ago, then smuggling it across state lines, selling it to a friend, and ripping off the original owners when they came looking for their drugs. Despite the tale’s various unlikely elements, it caught a modest amount of social media traction, hitting nearly 70,000 retweets on Twitter. (Or, as it’s known in more traditional internet metrics, one “Hey, check out my Soundcloud”’s worth.)
So far, so airborne. Over the next few days, Morris announced that he’s been so inspired by the success of the story that he’s writing a screenplay; he apparently lined up a lawyer and an agent; he even said he’s fielding offers from studios to turn it into a film. He also begins expressing worries, though, about people’s reactions to the tag of his story, in which he reveals that the owners of the heroin in question were members of MS-13, one of the most dangerous gangs in the country—and an organization that doesn’t take especially kindly to people ripping them off, then bragging about it for sweet, precious RTs.
Which brings us to today, which, in our trusty Simpsons parable, maps on to the moment when Homer suddenly realizes that he’s not going to clear the gorge, and probably never could: Morris hops on Medium, announces that the entire Twitter story was bullshit, says he’s sorry, digresses repeatedly to talk about his talents as a crafter of supposedly believable tales, and then essentially begs MS-13 not to, you know, murder him. (This, followed by a since-deleted link to a GoFundMe for his attempts to apply lessons gleamed from a book titled How To Disappear to his and his wife’s lives, the ultimate classy move.)
Of course, the thing about lying online is that once you start, it’s almost impossible to prove that you’ve stopped; certainly, a snippet of dialogue with his weed guy featured in the Medium piece was no more convincing than his story of swapping rap favorites with a hardened gangster in the original tale. Also: Most mea culpas resist the urge to go on at length about the “brilliant imagination” of the person making them, especially when said brilliant imagination has just been supposedly used to wreck the ever-loving shit out of the man’s own life.
Per The Daily Beast, GoFundMe is currently investigating the circumstances of Morris’ account (cue the ambulance slamming into a tree, and the stretcher gently rolling out the back) so this particular self-inflicted dunking may still have a few dribbles left to go.