The other day, while we were chowing on Christmas dinner, a friend asks me, “Ben, if you we’re to send the message in the bottle, rather than find it, what would it say?”
I have to say that’s a question best reserved for drunks who have the bottles in my opinion, but if one we’re so inclined to go through the trouble of finding the materials to do such a thing, I imagine the message would go something like this:
If you’re reading this then I’m assuming you’re at sea, and ‘Ahoy mate’ is the proper greeting for such a place. If for some reason you’re not at sea, let’s assume you’re at least close by. Last time I checked, messages go into bottles to be thrown at or into the ocean.
Listen, the reason I’m writing this letter is to appeal to a greater cause. We’re part of this hypothetical universe, you and I, in which messages in bottles are, for some reason, important. So, here goes:
If you’re lost at sea and you happen upon this bottle, I’m sorry to say that there’s not much hope for you. Unless you’re on a well-maintained ship that’s on a long voyage, on the same ship only to get into battles with pirate ships, or, in certain cases, being on the pirate ship and destroying everything in sight. Thinking about it now, the creator doesn’t like any of those things, really. Sure, they’re fun to think about, but they’re either too romantic, too clique, or just too bleak to write about. So, unless you’ve got the prerequisites for a compelling story in his mind, I’m sorry to say that you are as useful a thought to him as flatulence in a strong gust.
Now, if on the other hand you’re holding the bottle, and this note, on a beach, you may be in luck. This is, unless you’re on a beachfront property, in which case you’re doomed to a swift end. ‘Why?’ you may ask yourself, me, the creator, or all three of us at the same time. Because having a beachfront property is only interesting if it’s swept away by a hurricane, raided by giant crabs, or subject to destruction via a more enormous sea creature. In short, beach front properties are boring.
Now, if you’ve gotten this far in the bottled message, you’re in luck! It means the creator has made it so you’ve found this bottle on a beach, stranded, with minimal chance of survival; But, it gets even better. You’re about to traverse through the most excruciating pain, utterly dreadful starvation, antagonizing mental breakdowns, and an overall plethora of events that catch you running for your life. Don’t worry though, you’ll either have a slow death after millions have heard your story and your creator will forever be hated for it. If you’re lucky though, you may be someone he decides to keep around, in which case he will be revered as a genius and paid millions for his work of putting you through such hellish circumstance, having you come out by only the skin o’ your teeth.
No need in knowing my name. You’ll probably never meet me; no, I know you will never meet me unless the situational hypothetical calls for such things. Even if you did, you wouldn’t know unless I drew a picture of myself, and I’m a shit artist, mind you.
So, there my friend’s mouth stood agape, cigarette burned down to the filter as the conversation had traversed outside. “That’s sick,” he says.
“It’s the truth,” I returned.