Yesterday my roommate confided in me a secret he'd been harboring since the spring of '97, a simpler time when the Titanic was sinking nightly at a theater near you for a mere $6.25 and teenagers across the globe were jiving to the timeless, ultra-hip beats of Hanson and the Spice Girls.
"Corey," my roommate said to me, "my life is a mess. I'm twenty-five years old, I've been stuck in the same highly lucrative job for nearly two years and I only have one master's degree. I thought by now I would be…oh, nevermind."
"What, roommate?" I asked. "What did you think your life would be like by now?"
"No," I coaxed. "Tell me."
"Well, I thought by now..."
"Go on," I urged.
"I thought by now I'd be the lead guitarist in a kick-ass glam metal band called Streetcorner Lovechair."
I waited in silence for him to continue.
"I mean, who am I, man? Would my thirteen-year-old self even recognize me if he walked past me in a bar?"
I started to mutter something about the Illinois drinking age, but when I saw that his pain was real, I stopped myself.
"Look at me," he said, his voice cracking. "I don't even have pink hair, man." His lips started trembling. "I don't even have pink hair!"
"It'll be okay," I said, pulling his head to my shoulder. "I promise it'll be okay."
Although I didn't have an answer for my distraught roommate, I did have Photoshop. And an idea.
For minutes and minutes I toiled over my 13" MacBook, cutting and pasting together the pieces of a ridiculous dream that my roommate could never achieve in a gazillion trillion years on his own.
Moments later, I presented him with this:
He glanced down at the fake album jacket of his equally fake band and then looked back up at me, a single tear welling in his eye.
"Corey," he said, "I really appreciate what you've done, but I can't accept this."
"Why, roommate?" I responded. "It's just a JPEG image. It literally cost me zero dollars."
"No, I mean can't accept your gift because it's all wrong."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"I changed the name of the band," he answered.
"I changed the name of the band," he said again. "Streetcorner Lovechair just didn't vibe with our hypothetical image."
"Uh, okay," I stammered. "What name does vibe with your hypothetical band's hypothetical image, roommate?"
"Second Story Vomit Shower."