“Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance,

Everybody thinks it’s true”–Paul Simon

The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant went to pick up the dry cleaning, and there among the hangers we spotted it: The Prodigal Shirt. Gone for months, searching perhaps for more glamorous closets, back again humbled and wiser we presume. The other shirts, like the Older Son, looked on envious and spiteful. Probably hanging out in clubs, untucked, they think, while we have to schlep to work with this joker. Is that a faded trace of lipstick under The Prodigal’s collar? Next thing you know he’ll be sporting French cuffs. Your clothes have to be laundered for a reason my friends.

Speaking of mysterious disappearances, The Rant has been enthralled by our new favorite digital verb: Ghosting. Those ghosted suddenly find themselves utterly cut-off from someone they previously thought might be The One, or at least a lasting bud. But now your soulmate/BFF greets with silence your ever-more frantic texts, selfies, frowny emoticons, Facebook posts, Snapchat pleas. What went wrong? Can’t they even give a thumbs-up to the dessert we barely had the energy to Instagram in the midst of our despondency? The Rant assumes certain readers have speculated we could give a TED Talk on being ghosted. You know who you are.

Our ever-impersonal means of personal contact makes the avoidance of confrontation increasingly easy. Just ignore the screen. But the illusions of intimacy we create lead to genuine emotions that can’t be silenced as easily as our phones. What causes us to long for the imaginary relationship in the ether while we shut out those present in front of us? We treat those ready to love us right now in the present, in the flesh, like ghosts every day to chase imaginary friends and lovers in cold bundles of code that can never embrace us.

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