“It was a combination of factors, to be honest, but if I had to pick the thing that pushed me over the edge, it would have to be the email chains,” admitted X, a former FBI agent whose name has been omitted for security purposes. To further preserve anonymity, their pronouns have also been randomized throughout this article.
X verified that government monitoring of civilians as parodied in the popular “My FBI Agent” memes are largely true. “To be honest most of the monitoring now is done by the computers themselves. AI and all that,” he said. “But they also assign civilian monitoring to newbies as a sort of test, you know? Figure out who’s got the stamina to stick it out in the long run.”
“When I first learned I was assigned a college student, I thought it would be cool. Maybe I’d learn some stuff. And I did, you know? I learned about historical trauma and ‘Othering’ and that Freud was a total crank. I discovered that a lot of people have surprisingly strong feelings about Timothée Chalamet—and who Timothée Chalamet is. I also figured out that when college students call someone ‘neoliberal,’ they usually mean ‘vaguely capitalist,’ and when they say ‘capitalist,’ they mean ‘evil.’ So yeah, I did learn a few things.”
“But man, those emails. It’s ridiculous, right? Honestly though, I think that’s how they got under my skin so bad. Because they were small and petty. Like a tick or something.”
X was hesitant at first to elaborate further, insisting he’s “moved on with her life,” but eventually agreed to expand on their email comments.
“It was the paradox of it all. On one hand, they’re usually being aggressively considerate of other people, right? About like, different cultural sensitivities and privileges and whatnot. But then at the same time they’re also being totally rude. How do you manage to completely overthink something while simultaneously displaying a total lack of impulse control? How does that even work?”
At this, X went into a coughing fit and pulled an inhaler out of their bag. “Stress-induced asthma. Before that Wellesley gig I hadn’t had an attack since I was seven. Now I can’t look at an umbrella now without getting triggered.”
“But anyway, I’m sitting there in my cubicle, reading through another one of these ID card-induced email discourses, trying to make sense of it all, and the more I think about it, the less I understand. It’s like when you say a word over and over, and eventually it doesn’t even sound like a real word? Before I know it, I’m finding myself just sitting there, staring into nothing, into this deep existential void. Serious David Lynch, “Twin Peaks” type brain-twisting. So I’m teetering on the edge of this yawning chasm of despair when the dweeb in the cubicle next to me comes over and asks me I have a fork he could use.”
“I cracked. Just cracked, like a walnut. Totally lost it. Did I say I quit the FBI? …Yeah. Well. It was a, uh, mutual decision.” At this, X decided our interview was over, refusing to describe the process of this “mutual decision” beyond the equally vague phrase “conscious uncoupling.” However, she did share some parting words of wisdom:
“Seriously, you all have an email problem. Have you ever considered that the whole Clinton thing might have been karma?”