Illustration via Max Fleishman (Licensed)
4chan’s greentext stories are a vital subgenre of Internet folklore. Somehow, over years and years of collective, unconscious evolution, the boys and girls of 4chan established a formula for reciting tall tales: You speak in fragments, highlight specific details in predictably stringent language, and write everything in an ugly, lime-green text color.
These stories give 4chan its rare moments of homemade, human charm. They can still be gross and reductive, but they also provide a level of vulnerability that you can’t find in all the porn and whimpering hatred.
Maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s good! I’m here to enlighten you. Below are 12 of my favorite greentext stories; they range from stupid surprise puns to legitimately affecting stories of life and love. At the very least, I hope they shine a slightly different light on the world’s most infamous imageboard.
This is the perfect greentext story. Just a weird little blog-poem, articulating a very 21st-century pain with a couple sentence fragments. Hats off to you, Anon.
This is one of the most famous greentexts of all time. In fact, I once saw it regurgitated as supposedly original material. Seriously, I was at some jank-ass open mic, and this guy comes up and bombs through all of his own material, and then pretty much recites the “ARE YOU FUCKING SORRY” story word for word. To be fair, it killed, but there was at least person in the room aware of his treachery. It may have been the first-ever IRL copypasta, and I’m happy (but also furious) to have witnessed it.
I have been punked by the backdoor Fresh Prince more times than I’d like to admit. However, this is at least a unique take on an old classic.
This is pretty good, but the last-minute Gabe Newell curveball is what cinches pantheon status. If Donald Trump promised to finally bring us Half-Life 3 I’d actually think about voting for him.
An overwhelming majority of greentext stories are Internet youths doing their best to make each other laugh with silly, clearly fabricated yarns, but a few of them are actually kind of sweet. It’s 4chan, so you need to take everything with a grain of salt, but this one is melancholy and grounded in a way that seems real.
Yes, this is builds up to an eagle pun, but also it’s worth it. Trust me.
Not going to embed the entirety of this one, because it’s really, really long, but this saga might be the best thing to come out of 4chan. Apparently, this kid got a job working IT for his dad’s company, despite knowing absolutely nothing about IT. What follows is a hilarious, exasperating, and just-believable-enough story of juvenile hijinks and delinquency. The idea of feigning computer knowledge all day is amazing, maybe because the guy reminds me (and probably you) of our younger, net-addled stupidity. You should probably read the whole thing here,
Greentexts like this are important to me, because at the very least, they prove that I’m not the only person in the world completely paralyzed by his own thoughts and apprehensions at any given moment.
Another long one, also focusing on an IT guy, but this comes with a genuinely happy ending that may very well be untrue. I think that’s an upside to 4chan—the content is so wrapped up in its own mythology, but it also provides true, legitimate anonymity and a receptive community. So, who knows, maybe this weird, slightly creepy love story is true. I kinda hope it is. Read the full version here.
Really wish we could’ve gotten this on Cops.
There are a number of ways to arrive at a Sir Mix-a-Lot joke, but I have no doubt in my mind that this is the absolute best path to take.
Finally, this deserves to be shortlisted for, like, the America Award or something. What a beautiful little fable (and incredible gut-punch ending).