I was laying in bed thinking about the Pepsi commercial — so congrats on that, I guess, Pepsi people — and I was thinking about how the advertising firm could come up with such a dumb idea for a commercial: trying to make political protests seem totes en vogue, like political turmoil and tension were today’s new Snapchat filters. At first I thought it was just a mistake, that some overzealous doofus with a nice haircut overplayed an idea. And then I guess I wanted to believe that some vulpine* Don Draper type knew exactly what he or she — I see you Peggy — was doing, that the whole idea, the whole motive was to get people talking — changing the conversation. Honestly, how long have we been trying to keep up with one or more of the Kardashians? Maybe the ad people had gone through enough data and realized that people love to talk on the internet and they love to be upset, but after 24 hours on the information superhighway, anger turns to jokes, and jokes turn to memes, until all that’s left is the word Pepsi and the image of Kendall Jenner smiling after giving the creepy guy from Jane the Virgin a can of soda. I thought to myself — and this is at 2:30 am, mind you — hey, maybe there really are no accidents, like none at all, not in advertising, not in real life. I ran through a couple of hypothetical situations in my head, like: What about a car accident? Maybe people want to feel the rush, the rush of fear or death, probably preferring someone else’s to their own, but who knows? What about texting and driving? They want to see what they can get away with, what they can survive. Maybe that’s their way of testing God. What about cutting a piece of your own finger off with a knife? Maybe people are curious. Maybe some people are genuinely curious what they would look like missing part of a finger, or maybe they’re curious about the pain, how much they could feel or how much they could endure. What about an eye? Maybe they want to feel the cold leather of an eye patch and the awe of onlookers as they enter a room. All right, what about the day I left my classroom to go to the restroom, came back and taught the rest of the period and then later realized I had left my zipper down? Easy. From the first day of class each semester, I’m working to bridge the perceived gap between student and teacher; maybe that’s my way of humbling myself, or appearing vulnerable, letting the students in — bad pun probably. You call someone the wrong name to show them you don’t care about them, to establish dominance. You send your boyfriend a text “meant” for the guy you’re cheating on him with because you want to break up or you want to see how much power you hold. You elbow the woman with large breasts because they’re large breasts. You order the wrong food because you want to be able to scream at someone. You drop a ball in the outfield because your father wants you to be perfect. Maybe this is something somebody’s already talked about, or maybe this is just 3 am talking. Maybe I keep bringing up the hour so that if people read this and think “What the hell is this guy talking about?” I can say, “Ha ha. Man it sure was late.” But I’m sure I had microthoughts about that whole scenario long before I grabbed my computer and started typing. Right now, whomever came up with that Pepsi ad is heading home with lipstick on a collar or the smell of some other man’s cologne on their neck after celebrating the viral victory because at this point, they know nothing can stop them unless they want it to. Nothing can stop any of us, unless, of course, we find ourselves at a riot at midday, sprinkled by sunshine, surrounded by handsome protestors. In that case, Pepsi — Pepsi could stop us. Live bolder, live louder, live for now. Pepsi.
*my kids and I have been doing Dictionary.com’s** Word of the Day for like three months, and I felt like if I used this it would make them happy.
**I like Dictionary.com, but I have to say Merriam-Webster is a must follow on Twitter.