Take your beach chairs and your car floor mats and get out of my life!
The above pic, purportedly a screencap from Google Street View, was posted to Reddit last week under the title, "Google Street View captures the glorious moment when my buddy kicks his now ex-gf out of his house." It quickly shot to the front page of Reddit and spread across the web almost instantly.
We nearly posted it—we wanted to so badly—but it smelled too fake, even with the OP's "backstory."
Cool story. By "cool" we mean, "completely incomprehensible, elucidating nothing."
Now, sensing that the context for a pic on the Internet might be fake is far from a reason to keep from sharing it. In fact, putting up stuff that's probably fake is pretty much our job description. And really, let's get over ourselves. It's not like we're reporting on the protests in Istanbul here.
And this kind of post was tailor-made to go viral. It had everything the Internet craves: public humiliation (all her stuff's out on the street!), vengeance on an ex (works best when it's a cheating female, or just any female; the Internet isn't a fan of females generally), and a popular modern technology that we're all enamored with and terrified by in equal measure (the Orwellian Google robots may be cataloguing our every move, but they also caught some girl getting thrown out on her ass!!!).
Google Street View is the special ingredient. All of science fiction says we should be terrified of the machines invading our lives, but we love when they accidentally catch us being human. Take this very popular post, for example, where two people jumped out of their car solely to have sex for the Google Street View van.
Witness the joy. It's like they're taunting the machines with their humanity. "Hey futuristic, all-seeing, all-knowing robots!" they're shouting. "Look what we can do! We can even create life this way! We shove ourselves inside each other, do a little rubbing, and make each other feel ecstatic! Jealous much?"
What that post has over this breakup post is, for one, it isn't mean-spirited. But more importantly, it was shared with a link to the Google Street View live site, proving it wasn't bullshit (the couple's since been blurred out).
The only evidence that this breakup pic really was captured by Google is the little Street View guy in the bottom left, which could easily have been shopped in. Aside from that, we only have the word of the anonymous OP to go on, but eagle-eyed commenters quickly picked apart the OP's story:
Oh yeah. Why would her boyfriend toss her floor mats and beach chairs on the street?
The only way this break-up story still holds water is if the couple was living out of their car. "That's it. You take your floor mats and get the hell out of our home!" the guy shouted before speeding away in tears.
At this point, it's obvious the pic is bullshit, and the larger question is, "Why are we wasting so many words CSI'ing a dumb internet pic?"
There are a couple answers to that question.
A.) We're bored. It's summer. Summer's boring.
B.) We're still bummed that we couldn't score the traffic by posting the pic, and we're hoping to still wring some views out of it by posting it just to pick it apart. (THIS!)
As as has been proven day in and day out, we have no problem posting something with an unverifiable backstory. While a lot of stuff getting shared has a context or backstory that seems fake, we don't mind suspending our disbelief when the story being told is at least amusing. In the case of this breakup pic, the story just kind of sucked. So for future reference, here are some alternate backstories the person who posted this pic could have run with that would have made us more excited to post it:
1. Google Street View captured my friend's girlfriend (a genetic scientist) emptying everything out of her car to try and find the necklace and locket she lost. It contained a lock of her grandmother's hair, and she was planning to use the DNA from the hair to clone her grandma later that afternoon.
2. I got drunk one night and had to pee in a bag in my girlfriend's car. It was so dirty in her car that she couldn't find which bag the pee was in the next day. Google Street View caught her emptying eveything out to find the bag of pee. She broke up with me hours later.
3. This is my sister, who is insane. She thinks garbage is money. Here she is emptying all the garbage out of my car so she can count it. Oh and Google Street View caught her doing it too. In this picture, she thinks she's a millionaire.
4. I am the girl in this photo. I have a trash fetish. This is me gathering all the trash I could find. Right after Google Street View snapped this pic, I had sex with all that trash. It was so fucking hot. I'll never forget you trash. Thank God Google Street View took a picture of the day we met, trash.
5. The guy in the Google Street View van held a gun to my head and told me to empty out of my car. He said it's his personal mission to paper Google Street View with photos of scattered refuse. He thinks this planet is garbage and he wants Google Street View to reflect his view. Google Street View van drivers are dicks.
Go ahead and fake stuff, you guys. Just, please, take a few minutes to be a little more creative with the backstory you invent? Maybe even workshop it a little, read it at some open mics. Make sure you've really nailed it down, then post away. Better lies make the Internet a better place.
Sources: Bob Powers