Truth

You’re looking at f***ing determination and truth and creativity. You’re looking at loss and sorrow and the effort for a deeper perspective. You’re looking at satisfaction and happiness. You’re looking at a manifestation of a connection so deep and rooted that it’s more real than I am. You’re looking at my face.*

FACE: One Square Foot of Skin by Justine Bateman

*https://time.com/5953951/justine-batemans-aging-face-and-why-she-doesnt-think-it-needs-fixing/

Page 56

The sun started to go down and they headed home.

“Want to work on the rainforest project tomorrow after school?” Lily asked.

“Yes! That’ll be fun!”

After eating dinner, Kevin worked on his homework. He didn’t even think of his channel, subscriptions, likes, or dislikes. 

Focusing on his math, he understood it and completed all of his homework. Fatigued, he fell into an easy, deep sleep.

Page 46

Kevin joined Lily for lunch at her house. They ate in silence until…

“Nothing’s going right,” Kevin moaned.

Lily waited for him to continue.

“My grades are in the toilet, my YouTube channel is in the toilet and I am in the toilet!”

Lily looked him in the eyes and listened.

Kevin wanted her to say something, but he realized that there was nothing for her to say.

“What do you think I should do?”

Page 42

Lily realized Kevin just wanted to pout and work on his channel, so she went home.

For the next few hours, Kevin watched YouTube tutorials on how to record himself playing video games. Then he had to learn how to play one. Finally, he recorded himself playing the video game and posted it. Anxiously, he checked the number of his subscribers, likes, and dislikes. 

Three followers! He gained two! But he also had only 3 likes and ten dislikes. 

It was late, but he wasn’t sleepy. What to do? How to get people to like his channel and subscribe? He laid in bed thinking and thinking. He fell asleep only to wake suddenly in the middle of the night.

Geometry quiz!

He forgot to study. 

Page 40

He refreshed again. He sighed.

“OK, I have one like and one dislike. Five views. No subscribers.”

“C’mon, Kevin. Let’s work on the rainforest. Check it later.” Lily moved on to the sloths. Sloths are so cute, she thought.

Kevin felt sick to his stomach. He felt humiliated, sad, and out of control. His heart was beating out of his little chest – he had to do something. But what?

As he molded the toucans, his mind was on his channel. Why don’t people like me?

Page 39

“What now? Want to work on our rainforest project?” Lily asked.

“Um, OK,” Kevin said distractedly.

As Lily worked on the insects, Kevin refreshed his YouTube page. Lily could see Kevin was stressed. He was turning red.

“Look! Look! I have 4 views!” 

Lily looked at his screen. Indeed, there were four views. Kevin refreshed. 

“What? One dislike?! A thumbs down?” 

Lily went back to her insect-making. “Our video was great. Ignore the dislikes.” 

“Ignore? How can I ignore that? I don’t even have any likes!” Kevin wondered how the other three views garnered no reaction.

Page 30

This wasn’t what Kevin expected at all. He thought they’d be as excited as him. A cloud of doubt began to form in his head and in his heart.

He tried to push it away.

“I don’t have to be the expert on any of those topics. I just need to make it entertaining to watch.” He thought of Nastya and how he didn’t find it particularly captivating, but…190 subscribers sure did!

“Meh, no thanks,” Carlos said.

“Yeah, I don’t want to be on YouTube,” Minji concurred.

Kevin was bewildered.

Page 17

When Kevin got home, he didn’t start his homework, he searched on the internet: “How to start your own YouTube channel.”

This was his result:

  1. Sign into YouTube and click on the user icon at the top right of the screen.
  2. Click on the gear icon to get to your account’s YouTube Settings.
  3. Click on Create a new channel.
  4. Then choose “Use a business or other name”
  5. Add your Brand name and click create.

Kevin felt scared and excited at the same time. 

Page 16

Kevin watched Jesse’s 15 videos. They were short and focused on Jesse playing video games with friends or Jesse talking about a video game.

They weren’t that interesting to Kevin because he didn’t play any video games. 

But 552 subscribers!

Wow.

Kevin wanted subscribers. He imagined so many people admiring him. All the kids at school would surround him in awe. He’d be popular.