There was a strangely alluring scowl on her luscious lips as she slapped me across the face. Just like they do in the movies. As her hand connected with my smiling cheek, the ukulele in my lap hit the concrete. An instant moment of regret washed over me. I wish I had mounted a camera from a nearby tree, just so I could’ve seen this hit from a limited third person perspective. I’m sure it would’ve been Hollywood material, something that would win Oscars for Best Short Film.
It was a good slap.
Almost as good as the time those “Hollywood phonies tried to give me their autograph” or so said Andy Samberg in his phenomenal Saturday Night Live clip “Threw It On The Ground.” Having attributed a considerable amount of the 39,026,434 views on YouTube, a number of 5,003,078 could properly describe my obsession with the short. It was purely inspirational. Especially to a moody high school sophomore with a closeted “rebellious” nature. It moved me. Particularly the ending lines, or so-claimed “moral of the story,” which is “you can’t trust the system! Man!” My life was given purpose. Although I did not go around throwing free hotdogs on the ground (that would be littering!), I began to live up to my notorious reference to pop culture—Mr. Anderson. Reality did not quite feel the same anymore. Everything seemed plastic and artificial. In a sense, I felt that maybe I had garnered some higher awareness of the world, some extreme knowledge of the inner-workings of pop culture, and that I, like those living outside the Matrix, was not a product of the system!
Man, I was not a part of that! I decided to dedicate the rest of teenage life to fighting it. No scams or products of the man were going to manipulate me. The system would not control me. I made a Facebook account, then deleted it. After 1.34 hours of fame. Because I wasn’t a part of the system. I proved to my eye-rolling friends that I could break free. The system had no shackle on me! Lay’s Potato Chips told me “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One.” I went Chuck Norris on that shit and they lost that bet. I wasn’t a part of the system. High school dances came and went. Did I buy a ticket? Do you really think I wanted to support the education system? I was above their tricks. Or so I thought.
I entered college, feeling like the biggest hipster on campus. I was too far outside the system to conform to skinny jeans, scarves, and big glasses. Listening to LPs and drinking organic tea was too mainstream for me, so I listened to air particles and drank water. The chemicals in anything flavorful was part of the system. As I drifted along in my self-considered “higher level of thought,” fall turned to winter and winter to spring, and I found myself ordering the boxed DVD collection of Star Trek: The Next Generation off Amazon.com. While it pained me to go through the system of the internet, there was no other way to acquire my long-desired DVDs (Yes, Blu-Ray were too popular and VHS was bordering on mainstream hipster). Being the well-aware off-the-grid system-fighter that I was, I maneuvered through the virtual aisles of the Amazon.com before pinpointing the New & Used price of $0.99. I was so clever. Amazon couldn’t have disposed of them for that cheap. It was a steal. I clicked that “Add to Cart” button as fast an over-caffeinated trigger-happy cop rushing to the donut shop.
But then the system caught me. Shipping and handling was an additional $7.99. That was 8 times as much as the product itself! Damn system. But then I noticed another chink in the system’s armor. “Eligible for FREE super saver shipping.” That’s what I’m talking about! So I proceeded to checkout and selected the free shipping option and slapped on that “Submit Order” button. I received an error message. The system told me I had to have an order of $25 or more to qualify for the FREE super saver shipping. So I bought a ukulele for $34.99.
There was no way in hell I was going to pay for shipping and handling.
Once I received my items after 5-10 business days, I pondered the future purpose of the ukulele. I had absolutely no musical capability and I could not rightly hang it from my wall or put it on a shelf without actually playing it. Considering it cost me so much money, I decided it would have to be an investment. Just to screw the system over more of course. I needed a return on something the system could never get. Not money. Not fame. But sexual favors. Girls loved music. Any guy with a guitar could reel in as much poon as he wants, all guys knew that. But this was a ukulele. That I had no capability of striking a chord on. There was only one option left. The best option in my opinion. A prop for a pick-up line.
So I go up to this girl, a really good-looking girl I might add, and delivered it. I thought it was pretty clever.
“Cool ukulele,” she said.
“You know what else would be cool?” I retorted.
“What?” (There was actually a smile on those luscious lips)
“If you could lay me.”
She slapped me instead. I guess I could’ve gotten that without the ukulele. But hey, at least I got free shipping and handling.
Then I did the only thing suitable for me to do. I took the ukulele and threw it on the ground.
The moral of the story is you can’t trust the system. Man!