For ineffable reasons, Twitter has suggested that I follow this well-to-do child. I will not be following a child via Twitter or any other means, but there is something perfect about the Twitter presence of this particular 17 year-old. As a person who worked with well-to-do high school students, I find The RRP archetypal, even classic. He is cool in exactly the way that an affluent teenager is cool, e.g. his description of himself: “17. Swim. HRA.” A Twitter feed is the willful projection of a personality into the world, and adolescence is the willful projection of a personality into adulthood. These two forces in combination make The RRP’s Twitter more than a collection of country club photos and tales of lost sunglasses. It is a distillation of one type of youth. Also, his picture is priceless. You’ll find it after the jump.
Thank god I did not need to expend 1000 words to describe that, because I never could. Just the angle of his friend’s head—also seen in Prebek’s cartoon Nate Diaz—bespeaks the experimental confidence of youth. Also, a tip for rookie tuxedo wearers: holding your hands like that only makes you seem satisfied and at ease if you are fat. If you are a height-weight appropriate 17 year-old, you just look psyched to be wearing a tux.
That level of psychedness posing as worldliness is, perhaps, what makes The RRP’s Twitter feed so compelling. I feel like I am watching the preppy summer I never had, distilled in 140-character vignettes. There is his shout-out to the “hooligans” who threw his bike into the water feature on the 17th hole of the JRCC, and there is the epidemic of lost sunglasses. There is his “life-changing” experience at Virginia Boys’ State. Amid these sepia images of the dash into adulthood, however, there is also the child’s affection for his father:
The RRP thinks his dad is uncool in the way that a parent is uncool, but he also finds him pretty funny. “I’m off to play poker, son,” The RRP’s dad says in an earlier tweet. “Don’t be surprised if we lose the house.” You could spend a whole sophomore English seminar unpacking that one: the classic image of dad going off to his poker buddies, the comforting impossibility of actually losing the house, the juxtaposition of reliability and feigned incompetence. Every person should be able to look back on such a childhood: the material security, the banter, the suspicion that your dad is funnier than the other dads. The RRP’s Twitter feed is like the backstory of a minor character in Caddyshack, if Caddyshack weren’t mean.
It is also a record of the frank opinions of a 17 year-old, which makes it weirdly hilarious. For all his debate team polish, The RRP occasionally reveals the hasty enthusiasms of youth:
Although the dance remains timelessly deceptive in its difficulty, it’s possible that he will change his opinion about the historical significance of Soulja Boy when he gets to college. But that’s the whole charm of The RRP’s Twitter feed: he is certain about stuff now because he does not have much data, just as the reader remembers being much more certain at age 17. It’s not so much that we envy The RRP’s youth or wealth—they manifest in such comical ways—but they are recognizable to us and we smile at them.
It is not a sardonic smile. I would never mock The RRP’s Twitter feed, even though he is statistically likely to grow into the kind of person I don’t like. He’s just so guileless, even when he is obviously putting it on. Each tweet seems so him. Part of that is the flattening effect of Twitter: it is a character study, but everything you know about the character studied comes from the tweets, so of course each one seems like a distillation of his personality. I am glad Twitter’s follow algorithm introduced me to this random teenager, because I feel like I went to high school with him. Also, he might be right about “Crank That.”