the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

If There Were “Links” in Real Conversations

Tom’s Coffee Shop, near Columbia University. This morning. I am sitting with my two old college buddies, Barry and Rob. Just like we used to do in the past.

Neil: It’s so great to sit down with you both in a real coffee shop, and just talk. I’ve missed our talks together, like back in college. Now all we do is talk to each other on Facebook, never face to face.

Barry: It’s great to hang out with you again, Neil.

Rob: You said that you wanted to talk to us about something, Neil?

Neil: Yeah. Well, it’s more like sharing something.

Barry: Sure.

Rob: We’re here for you.

Neil: I just feel a little sad lately. Like it’s finally hitting me, I’m alone. Like I’ve finally moved on from Sophia or Juli, but yet I really haven’t moved on at all.

Barry: So, are you depressed?

Neil: I don’t know if it is depression. I don’t know, maybe.

Barry: Have you ever read the Bloggess? She writes about depression.

Rob: Yeah, depression lies.

Neil: Yeah, yeah. I’ve read her. But that’s a different type of depression.

Rob: Here’s a link to one of her posts.

Neil: Yeah, yeah. I’m just not really in the mood to read the Bloggess right now.

Rob: She’s so funny. I love her last post. It’s not about depression. It’s about ten words that sound like vagina. It’s just so funny. Here’s the link.

Neil: Not in the mood for funny today.

Barry: You know, the best thing ever written on depression is by Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and A Half. Here’s the link.

Neil: Again, I’m not sure it’s depression. And I don’t want to read anything. Just hang out with you guys. Have a real connection. I already spend too much time online.

Barry: I hear you. Everyone only shows a façade on social media, avoiding real interaction. Here’s the link to an op-ed in Slate Magazine suggesting that Facebook makes all of us jealous and unhappy.

Rob: I read that op-ed. She’s a Luddite. You need to check out this link on Wired magazine to learn that there are no fundamental differences between friendships online or offline. There’s a pop-up in the link, but just ignore it.

Neil: Maybe I’ll never find love again. I mean I know it’s not true, but I feel it in my gut.

Barry: Your story would Juli would make an excellent memoir or Modern Romance piece in the New York Times.  Have you seen the Modern Romance submission page?  Here’s the link.

Rob: Actually, I read that romance stories are not selling that well in the Publishers Weekly, unless it is YA or a sci-fi twist. Here’s the link.

Some guy at the next booth turns around.

Guy: I don’t want to interrupt, but since I am overhearing your conversation, but I’m not listening very closely, I just wanted to tell you that I’m on a date right now, my fifth date since breaking up with my wife of 15 years, and here’s a link to my article in the Huffington Post “How I Got Back Into My Groove After 15 Years of Marriage.” Let me give you that link again, in case it was wrong the first time.

Barry: I never go to the Huffington Post after I read how they treat their writers. Here’s a link to an article in Gawker from one of their former writers.

Rob: Oh, I love that writer. He’s also an excellent photographer. Here’s a link to his Instagram account.

Neil: I know you guys are trying to help. But I just want to hear what you think. I just miss our talks at Columbia. The way we used to share thing with each other.

Barry: I miss our days in college, too.

Neil: Did you see the story from Columbia about that student who is carrying around a mattress as an art project to shame her rapist? Shocking how irresponsible the administration has become making the campus safe for women. Here’s the link.

Rob: The world has gone mad. And no one expresses it better than Chuck Wendig at Here’s the link.

Neil: Do you ever have this feeling, that your heart is breaking? That love is slipping away, like time…

The waiter approaches.

Waiter: I’m Joseph, your waiter, but before I take your order, I’d like to tell that your heart breaking is inconsequential when compared to the broken rubble of the victims of the Israeli genocide in Gaza, or the broken spirits of colored people in this country who face police brutality every day. You can educate yourself on my blog at this link. Now, would anyone like to hear about our specials of the day?


  1. Summer

    this is brilliant. love.

  2. BOSSY

    Fooking hilarious. Link link. Sorry, meant wink wink.

  3. shannon akaMonty

    What’s funny/sad is that in many of our conversations, my friend Des or I will say “I’ll email you the link to that.”

  4. Ms. Moon

    So very, very sadly, this is so very, very true.
    And you wrote it heartbreakingly so.

  5. Catherine Taylor

    Excellent! 🙂 VERY nicely done, man.

  6. alejna

    Neil, this was great. I wish I had the right link to express how this makes me feel. Instead, here is a link to a completely unrelated Onion headline:,8904/

  7. Marinka

    I hate when you get all genius-y. Love this

  8. Fran

    I had something I wanted to say, but I can’t find the link.

  9. RookieMom Whitney

    I snorted. Very funny. But I actually clicked over from (where? G+ I think) because I went to Barnard eight hundred years ago and the setting caught my attention.

    • Neil

      Hi, and thanks. I actually stayed at BHR for a semester and that was fun!

  10. Jana A (@jana0926)


  11. Gurukarm

    Look at this – mucho comment love! (also, Shannon? when someone doesn’t just say I’ll email you the link but looks it up WHILE YOU’RE TALKING and texts it to you 😉 )

    As others have said, Brilliant!

  12. Jennifer

    This really is brilliant.

    And it doesn’t escape my attention that most of us have included our own website URL here when we leave a comment. Because links, y’know.

  13. lisahgolden

    I had to pause from inhaling my ice cream bar to laugh at this. Trust me, that is high praise.

  14. Heather

    Sensory overload PERFECTION. Love love love.

  15. Annie

    I think the real life equivalent to the link is the introduction to the person who won’t shut up and has now derailed the good conversation you were having. For example, instead of Rob giving you a link to The Bloggess, he might call over someone else he knows and say “I want to introduce you to my friend Jessica. She was depressed too. Jessica, tell Neil about how you were depressed and got past it.” And then Jessica talks non-stop for over an hour but doesn’t really say anything helpful or useful. Then just as she is starting to slow down, Rob says, “Neil it was great seeing you today, but I have to get going now.”

    At least the link is easier to ignore.

  16. Ned

    L.A. needs a Tom’s. I miss the crappy food and the good conversation.

  17. Marcy


  18. leila

    I LOLd, progressively. Like a crescendo of LOL. I think you and I are living the same kind of life, just male/female and nyc/middle america. in case you’re in the mood for something funny today, there’s this:

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