I was hunched over, leaning in closer to the screen. I was searching his face for the name of a woman, but now I’m sitting back. I’m drained and overwhelmed. It’s almost as if he was created as some sort of superhuman, a rogue genetics experiment helmed by some sort of underground society, the Illuminati, or the Masons; People who know exactly what we’re turned on by and how to get us to buy it.
I think of myself as sort of a savvy kind of guy. I understand the manipulation that I’m subjected to every day. I submit to it with a grin. A knowing sort of smile. I see you caressing my ego, stroking my dick, making me want you without my consent. Like we’re all in on this huge heist of the mind, the appropriating and merchandising of our culture and emotion. I get it; we’re all trying to make a buck.
With him, I can’t even pretend I’m hip to their plan. I am, but I’m totally not; the second he starts to play that beat up Stratocaster, I’m completely enthralled. I don’t know where I am but on his hands on the fretboard, on his lips over those words. I’m part of the target audience (MALES: 19-35, FEMALES: ALL AGES). I didn’t even mean to be here, watching (I was looking for videos of cats climbing on top of dogs), but now, I can’t stop.
I’m leaning into the desk again; I’m eight inches away, breathing a little heavy. My ass hurts from this stupid computer chair I found on the street leading up to my house. My back hasn’t been straightened out for hours. Its 4:53 a.m. and my ears are contorted in a painful, painful way by these earphones I stole from work.
I can see his emotion, when he’s playing, even before, as he smiles out to the crowd. He knows the stranded feelings he’s going to summon back with his voice even before he begins.
And yet, it’s so convincing. I’m taken in completely. He’s stuck on this stage, trying to vomit out so much feeling and love, he’s choking back the flow with his words, you can see it in his face. He just closes his eyes, and I know he’s felt the pain that I have.
He’s just convinced me in that first verse that if we were to get together and drink a couple beers, just to talk, that he would become my best friend, one I respected. I would know that when he gave me advice he would mean it. He’s intelligent; he knows what’s going on in there. He can see what I can’t feel out loud in front of the girl I love. He knows what’s going on in the hearts of men in the 21st century—a cold, emotionless, digital age. He cares about grooming and taste, good sense and aesthetics. I might even try to kiss him, after I’ve told him about all the girls I’ve never had the courage or good sense to try to love.
He would know what I mean.
deL is a self-made man, working from San Francisco (Full Disclosure: on this website). His influences include the artist Robert Brady, and art-deco from Washington D.C.