Lonely people tend rather to be lonely because they decline to bear the emotional costs associated with being around other humans. They are allergic to people. People affect them too strongly. Let's call the average U.S. lonely person Joe Briefcase. Joe Briefcase just loathes the strain of the self-consciousness which so oddly seems to appear only when other real human beings are around, staring, their human sense-antennae abristle. Joe B. fears how he might appear to watchers. He sits out the stressful U.S. game of appearance poker.

--David Foster Wallace, E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction

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