“masturbation is an escape from literature”: tao lin on the g-chat generation, or whatever we call kids these days

Haley Joel Osment sent Tao Lin a link to a porno site. Tao Lin said, “I already masturbated, should I really do it again.” Haley Joel Osment said, “I already masturbated today also. If you need to I’ll go away.” Tao Lin said, “No, I’m just looking a little.” Haley Joel Osment said, “Masturbation is an escape from literature.” Haley Joel Osment sent Tao Lin a photo of a stripper. “Is she sweating,” Tao Lin said. “I think they oiled her down,” Haley Joel Osment said.

Haley Joel Osment said, “We have been sitting here all night bullshitting and we still don’t know what to do.”

“I can’t take this anymore,” Tao Lin said. “I’m going to masturbate then do some other shit then try to sleep for like 20 hours. Have a good night.”

“Have a good night, I’m laughing,” Haley Joel Osment said.

“Thank you for the chat,” Tao Lin said.


—from Tao Lin, “Tao Lin,”
Mississippi Review Online. A revised version of this story is to be found in Lin’s Shoplifting From American Apparel (2009).