Last night I started reading the Dril Official ‘Mr. Ten Years’ Anniversary Collection in bed next to my husband, who was trying to sleep. Annoyed by my suppressed giggling, he finally rolled over. “Please turn out the light,” he grumbled. “But I just got to the ‘Diaper’ section,” I protested.
If you’re reading this, you most likely are familiar with the Twitter account known as Dril, but if not, imagine the protagonist from all of SNL’s ‘Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey,’ a bumbling, maladapted fool, but with arguably better intentions. A pudgy, oily man, frequently in a state of undress, who doesn’t go through life as much as he is spilled across it. Now imagine that character is given a Twitter account to post about his triumphs, (more often) failures, and innumerable pet peeves. I won’t use the words “meta” or “irony.” Neither of them help to explain it. Dril is sui generis.
Whether you get it or not, at this point, Dril is an artery of the internet: his tweets become their own memes to be riffed on and reinterpreted, nonsensical sputterings from politicians and public figuresget compared to Dril. The account has over a million followers. And now, the person behind Dril, a man named Paul Dochney, has released a book.
I'll get right to the point: Yes, the book is just a collection of Dril’s best tweets, “best” being an entirely subjective determination made by Dril himself. They’re divided into themed sections—’Jeans,’ ‘Nine Eleven,’ ‘Sorrow,’ ‘Toilet’—delightfully evoking Bartlett’s Quotations, or a joke book you’d find on the back of your uncle’s toilet. Each section is introduced with an illustration, which I presume were done by Dochney, though the preface credits them to Leonardo da Vinci. The book is “Dedicated To every One Who Has Ever Died.”
Some people are upset about the release of the book, decrying it as a grift since the material is already publicly available, and saying the people who buy it are idiots (guilty as charged). But if anyone deserves the leeway to do something like this, it’s Dril.
The grievance people have with the release of the book, I think, is tied to our collective disappointment when Dochney was exposed as Dril, or the grumblings from when he started a Patreon account. When we were children watching The Wizard of Oz, we felt a twinge of disappointment on finding out Oz was just some guy, and as adults we don’t want anyone to pull back that curtain. Any expansion of the Dril character beyond the Twitter account reminds us that behind the jokes, there is just Some Guy, who pays bills and rent, and does shit that makes sense. It’s sort of a bummer.
But I’ve been following the account since about 2011, if I had to guess, which equals 7 years of laughing at this doofus until I run out of air. This justifies $17.99 worth of fiscal support. Dril the character might not need capital to survive (I imagine he is supported by the state and by KFC coupons), but the man behind him does, because this toilet world dictates that we need currency to acquire goods and services. And when you create a cultural phenomenon, one that probably sucks up more of your free time than we imagine it does, you get to profit off of it. Blame capitalism if you want.
I asked Dril what he thinks of his detractors. “theyre punks who want to topple my empire because i refuse to kisis their rings,” he told me in a Twitter direct message. “putting the shit you wrote into a book is one of the most normal things a writer can do. the mother fucker garfield has been doing it for 50 years. go egg his house instead you pricks”. Three minutes later, he added, “Apologys for swearing.”
Anyway, fuck the haters and trolls: the book is worth it. (Apologys for swearing.) There are a bunch of tweets in here from years past that you may have never read before, or had forgotten about, ones outside the top 20 or 30 that constantly drift across your timeline and your consciousness. In the preface, Dril refers to his tweets as “Prestige Short Prose.” I know this is a tongue-in-cheek characterization meant to make fun of the snobby lit theory types who want to make Dril out to be some highbrow art project, but honestly, “‘jail isnt real,’ i assure myself as i close my eyes and ram the hallmark gift shop with my shitty bronco” is as good as “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Straddling this divide—part art form, part jokes to read on the toilet—is why Dril is so good at Twitter. It’s kind of the only legitimate way to use the platform.
Dril is working on a new book already, which he tells me is “pretty much a collection of short stories, interviews, and the sort of content that geniuses love to share with each other on social media...an anthology of shit. The vast majority is brand new.” This will likely placate the people upset about the contents of the ‘Mr. Ten Years’ Anniversary Collection.
What’s important is simply that this first book exists, so that one day, centuries from now, after the bombs go off and EMPs take out the electrical grid, long after Twitter has died, a solitary wanderer may find a scrap of paper buried in the ruins of my Brooklyn apartment building, and they will lift it up to the dying sun and squint through their protective goggles to read: