Life is not fair. Not that I need to remind you of this most soul crushing truism. There will always be someone (or something, in the case of Alf, the California Raisins, and Loom Bands) that has more acclaim, appeal, and wealth than you. In my case, I'm still fuming about Bruno Mars. That should be me up there on stage! If I could just drop these 15 pounds and regrow all the hair I lost (and develop an almost supernatural ability to sing, dance, wear funny hats, and smirk) I could be him! Alas, there can be only one Bruno Mars, and there are millions of Dave Schillings grinding axes for fun in this world.
Despite what his many impersonators and followers might want you to think, there is also only one Alex from Target. Alex from Target is a child who works at a Target checkout counter in Texas. He's now an internet meme with over 300,000 Twitter followers because a lot of people found a photo of him cute and/or amusing. Alex has a wonderful head of hair, a relatively strong jaw for a kid, and a thin, wiry frame. If you think I'm being lascivious for describing the physical attributes of a teenager, then you probably don't spend much time on the internet. If this is your first day online, let me say welcome. You're going to love this video!
Instant fame will never happen for me. I will never be able to outshine this kid earning minimum wage, bagging impulse buys for strangers so that he can save up enough money to buy a used Jetta before prom. Someone will probably give him a Jetta for free tomorrow. A new one! I'd kill for a Jetta, even if it's missing its hubcabs and was seized in a drug bust. Alex from Target doesn't have to kill anyone to get what he wants. All he has to do is flash those dreamy eyes and remember to remind you of the many benefits of a Target RedCard before you exit the store. That's what real power looks like.
Think about all the wonderful new experiences Alex from Target has to look forward to. The inevitable world tour of cheeky, female-skewing morning shows like Ellen (Ellen tweeted at him a little more than an hour ago, so mark that on your calendar), Queen Latifah, The View, and the one for minorities. I bet he'll even show up on Dr. Oz to explain to a crowd of adoring spinsters how he keeps the weight off while spending most of his free time standing still. I do mini-crunches in the break room and stay away from complex sugars. I'm also not old enough to drink beer. It's that simple.
Being that he is an internet meme cipher with no known personality traits, I have made up quite a bit of backstory for Alex from Target. He's a straight B student, only belongs to one club at school, doesn't do community service unless forced by his disappointed parents, loves The Walking Dead, and has definitely fingered his girlfriend (at least twice).
I also imagine he barely understands the magnitude of what's happening to him. His Twitter page is a mind-numbingly average collection of memes, non-sequiturs, and Vines of people falling on the sidewalk. He's a regular kid, and then at some point yesterday, it became apparent to him that he's now known across the country for doing precisely nothing. The most he could be credited with is not realizing someone took a picture of him doing his job.
Alex from Target is the living, breathing, baby-faced epitome of the American Dream. Sometimes, regardless of effort or accomplishment, fate can take a big, steamy shit on reality and make you something special. That's not necessarily a bad thing. No one believes in the populist lies of the lottery or Publishers Clearing House anymore, so why not put all of your dreams into Twitter instead? Sure, you can't manufacture viral success, but that's the point, isn't it? It just has to happen.
People like Alex from Target make us all feel better for 25 minutes when we think about how a plucky little boy could rise to the heights of Mount Olympus to drink non-alcoholic beverages with Zeus and Rosie O'Donnell. Then, when the 26th minute hits and reality sinks in, we realize this dude didn't even do anything cute like that "Apparently" kid. He's not adorably chubby or a ginger with a speech impediment, which, in my special little book are prerequisites for internet fame.
Remember Ted Williams? The hobo with the golden voice? He had real talent. Of course, now Ted Williams is back to struggling with addiction and may die a cautionary tale, but what these people do with fame is totally out of our control. The important thing is that he achieved his brief notoriety through a unique ability.
Charles Ramsey, the guy who saved those girls from Ariel Castro and loves McDonald's did a Reddit AMA and got a year's supply of free fast food, but at least he saved some girls from a rapist. I can look at the bedraggled visage of Charles Ramsey and say to myself, I have never saved anyone from a rapist. I suppose I could look at Alex from Target and say, I have never had hair that nice.
I don't begrudge Alex from Target this moment. Everyone wants to feel special, at least for a couple days. Instead, I curse the universe for denying me anything remotely appealing to the people who make celebrities in this world: the average teenage girl. I'm just a person. I guess I'm going to have to get used to that.
Follow Dave Schilling on Twitter.