Ben Bateman would like to congratulate you on signing up for your Xtroversion Plan.


Thank you for signing up for Xtroversion Basic!

You’ll receive: Unlimited in-person talk with family, your cat, and one (1) friend, as well as 120 minutes to respond to authority figures and peers. You will feel deeply uncomfortable in every other situation and halfheartedly joke with your one (1) friend that everyone but you must have gotten some kind of manual. They did, and it was sent to them free when they signed up for Xtroversion Silver.

You may not attend social gatherings larger than two people.

Thank you for upgrading to Xtroversion Silver!

You have unlimited talk with close friends and family, sixty (60) minutes to speak awkwardly to acquaintances, and one (1) uncomfortable minute to stammer at an attractive stranger. You are also entitled to unlimited talk with one (1) love interest, but you may only speak in labored metaphors.
You may attend parties, but only to complain about how much you dislike parties.

Thank you for upgrading to Xtroversion Ivory Tower!

Alongside all the talk included in Xtroversion Silver, you now have SmartSpeak™. Conversations may now consist of referencing books and articles you’ve read. This will leave you momentarily happy, but you’ll be haunted by the sense that you’ve abandoned even token attempts at human connection in your scramble to confirm an intellectual identity.
You drink heavily at parties.

Thank you for upgrading to Xtroversion Gold!

You now enjoy unlimited talk with all peoples. You are now allotted one (1) partner for Deep Talk™, which includes up to six (6) years of long, winding conversations followed by up to 50 years of watching full television series in silence. Your winks are taken seriously.

You may feel quietly superior about choosing not to attend parties.

Thank you for upgrading to Xtroversion Platinum!

You cannot stop speaking. You have 45 minutes to hate yourself for this every day. In these brief moments of clarity you realize that if you could be quiet, just for a few minutes, you would be able to connect with others in a lasting, life-affirming manner. You are contractually unable to do this.
You are required to attend every party.

Thank you for upgrading to Xtroversion Ultra!

You have unlimited talk with every creature. A stenographer’s record of your every word wins the Nobel Prize for Literature, repeatedly. Branches of Western philosophy are rewritten to include you as the basis of ontological exploration. You may speak to God; He is contractually obligated to listen.
You are every party.

Illustration by Kathryn Newman

Ben Bateman is an editor at The Bygone Bureau. He grew up on a mountain in the middle of Nowhere, CA, and his eerily encyclopedic knowledge of nowhere and mountains stultifies critics and other animals. You can email him, follow him on Twitter, and read the rest of his work here.