“I pray that one day you will not. But look inside the can, beyond the neon-pink ichor. You want that beverage. But when you are a streamer, that beverage wants things from you. It wants you to drive transactions. And what happens when we drive transactions? I sense your befuddlement, so I will tell you: We monetize.”

“But Father … What if I don’t want to monetize transactions?”

“Then throw away your devices and dive into the sea. But even there you will find server farms. They put them in the ocean to cool them. And those servers, too, are processing transactions, in barnacle-encrusted undersea data centers.”

“So if I monetize … I can make a living as a streamer?”

“No, Son. Not at all. You can drive transactions that brands can monetize, but self-monetization requires far more work. For that, you must place a link in your bio.”

“And where does that link lead?”

“To many, many places. You could write a book of tips and tricks. You could record birthday shout-outs on Cameo. You could resell the goods that brands send you. You could train others to become streamers so that they might have a taste of your success. You could promote cryptocurrencies, at least when bitcoin is high. You could sell ads for mattresses on your podcast.”

“Must I do a podcast too?”

“Everyone must do a podcast. And of course, while I hate to say it, there is Patreon.”

He looked at the ground. “But these things have nothing to do with Luigi’s Mansion.”

“That is the truth, and you must accept it. Now we come to the third and most important Question.” I paused for effect. “Are you Face or are you Hands?”

He looked at me, waiting for me to go on. “There are two kinds of influencers. There are Faces, who show up on camera, even if in the corner, as they stream. They exist in the moment and talk for hours. They sometimes become very famous, and if they can survive being famous on the internet, sometimes they can monetize themselves and become wealthy. Hands influencers, however—they record and edit. They show you things. They are deliberate. They put the camera above the table and you see them at work, their knowledge and skills. You imagine your hands doing the same work. They can teach you to cook, play piano, do calligraphy, crochet, and fix old toys—and, yes, how to make Luigi stockpile golden bones to get one-ups. You may watch them for years and never see their faces. They add tables of contents to their videos. They are your teachers, not your friends. They command respect.”

“Faces are more famous,” he said.

“When they are successful, that is true,” I said. “But Hands are happier. They are rarely in a situation where they must look at the camera and apologize for having relations with another streamer’s spouse, or for watching deepfaked pornography of another streamer, or for saying racist things while they play videogames. Faces must always apologize. Hands need never say they are sorry.”

“But my favorite streamers are Faces!”

“There is a joke—you’re old enough to understand this now—about a statue of a man and a woman sculpted in an embrace, brought to life by a mischievous god for one day. But when he brought them to life they did not sleep together, as the god expected. Instead they caught pigeons and pooped on them.”