I read with great interest Jake Nichols’ article in Cowboy State Daily about a “famous for being famous” social media influencer who was paid $70k for strutting around Jackson Hole doing nothing but looking cool and providing vicarious kicks for all the un-cool among us.
That got me thinking, and as my old football coach constantly reminded me, “Miller, every time you think you weaken the team”. So I called my editor, Jimmy. That’s not his real name, but for the purposes of this column, lets call him Jimmy.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: “We’re missing out, amigo! The big money is in monetizing all this post-Millennial cultural angst and ennui. All we need to do is make TikTok or YouTube videos and taunt GenZ with how much fun they could have if they were as groovy as us.”
Jimmy: “But we’re journalists….”
Me: “We need to be influencers, too. Hunter Thompson would approve.”
Jimmy: “Sounds dangerous, count me in. But where does the money come from?”
Me: “The kids, man. They pay good money to watch videos that offer them hope they can be more than losers. BIG money!! We’ll be driving Porsches and drinking good beer before you know it.”
Jimmy: “Far out! Can we do this somewhere warm?”
With this tacit ok from my sensei, I put together a plan. We’d rent a mega-yacht for a day, anchor it in a pristine bay on Sardinia’s Emerald Coast and surround ourselves with Euro-trash turbo-cuties and ex-pat oligarchs from Leningrad. All beautiful people, of course.
Jimmy and I would lounge casually yet seductively on the foredeck, drinking mimosas. Lithe and tan youngsters would splash and cavort around us, reinforcing the subtle message that Jimmy and Rod are cooler’n the Kardashians, and everyone needs to send us money.
My mental image was jarred to reality as I pictured us under that Mediterranean sun, sporting our hipster Stetson Open Roads and Pendleton speedos. All that unsightly body hair!
So, I had another chat with my editor.
Me: “Jimmy, I have the shoot set up for May. But we need to do something about our grotesque hairiness before we step in front of the camera.”
Me: “We need to get Brazilian waxed. Everything south of the belt buckle. Pronto.”
Jimmy: “Ouch! But it’s for journalism, right?”
Since we hadn’t made a dime yet on the project, we couldn’t afford to have the procedure done in some chi-chi spa in the Greater Wilson Metroplex. So I called up an old friend, a semi-retired septuagenarian voodoo priestess in the Witness Protection Program living in the suburbs of Buford.
I explained that my editor and I needed cheap Brazilians, and she asked, “Is he cute?”
So, our first TikTok video was NOT the Sardinian bacchanal that I planned, but an eleven-minute cinematic masterpiece of Jimmy and me getting waxed on the Summit. Mike Vanata, whiz-bang videographer from WesternAF in Laramie, filmed and all he wanted in return was a semi-automatic weapon manufactured in the eastern bloc.
Since this is a family newspaper, I can’t provide a link to the video. But I can describe it.
Jimmy and I are splayed out on hay bales, buck naked except for a spackling of orange goo plastered on our loins. A dozen or so nubile twenty-somethings are drinking Busch Lite and dancing to Nine Inch Nails in scanty swimwear, attending to their guilty pleasures.
Our practitioner chants something in a Haitian dialect, twists the head from a chicken and grabs the hardened wax near our navels. When she rips the wax off, our agonized screams don’t need to be dubbed in post-production. That hurt!
The live audience reaction is mixed. Some of the ingenues cringe, some laugh uncomfortably. But, in the comment thread online, a GenZ co-ed from Akron made our day when she said, “That’s photoshopped! Guys that old can’t look that hot.”
The money should start rolling in any day now.