This boy's tragic story shows how beautiful childhood really is

The content of 4chan, like memes themselves, has grown and expanded from a small corner of the internet, like a darkened pustule of flesh, into a viral infection that has taken over society. Now, music and television shows live or die by the memes they inspire. Art, or memes, are mass-produced by nameless figures. Everyone knows the meme, but the creator of the meme is never of concern. They are the impersonal viral (in the sense of a disease) hive-mind genius of the internet.

Today, 4chan still exists of course, as a kind of progenitor of the entire web, a pre-human ape that would come to evolve into the world-dominating species. Boards like /pol rose out of the shadows to support Donald Trump through 'meme magic', and /b, the random forum, has always been home to shocking and inhumane content as well as moments of genuine insight and comedy.

This recent post, which went viral on Imgur, is an example of 4chan at its emotional heights. Prepare to be gutted:

alt Credit: Imgur

Damn.

This is a beautiful, pristine, archetypal childhood until the boy's mother is taken from him, and his innocence, the pizza and the gaming, are left as monuments, old obelisks of a time long-gone. It's perhaps the cruelest fate for a family possible: one day, without warning, someone simply doesn't come home. The random brutality of the universe is now a part of your life forever, and has marked you in a way that will never relent, and will never cease to change you.

I'm the sure the poster wishes, always, that he was awake every night, no matter how late, to see his mother come home, and that regret only makes it more terrifying. The memories of gaming, half-listening to your mother late at night, made even more chilling by the wish that you had sat and reacted enthusiastically at every word.

Now, in his 20s, this boy is left to replicate the pure days of his life, before this incident severed his memory in half and put him on the wrong side of his own life:

alt Credit: Imgur

It's a microcosm of the millennial mind itself: a person in their 20s relentlessly seeks childhood, searching for nostalgia, the resurrection of old meaning, the pure meaning, when things made sense and the great Dionysian chaos was not an all-consuming void. But those days are gone, and the best we can do is try to fit into them once more, first as tragedy, then as a farce. The tragedy this poster underwent only makes his nostalgia a thousand times more powerful and unbearable.

If my mother, or my future wife, or sister or anyone like that was randomly killed, I too would fall into a kind of nostalgic-delusion, an eternal desire to return to the unmarred and un-shattered world of paradise, before the fall into this life that never should have been mine.

alt Credit: Getty

The lesson here is to value everything you have, and to live with gratitude. There are two modes of being: gratitude or resentment. At any given moment, you have a thousand reasons to pick resentment. But gratitude is the choice that comes with a certain faith in being, above pain.

Choose gratitude.