The weirdest $40 I ever made (aka “MOGAI Tumblr broke into my house and purchased my inside jokes for $18.95 a piece”):
This is a long and winding tale, so buckle in everyone. We’re gonna take a journey today.
First, I’d like to take you back to tumblr in 2013. I know, I don’t want to revisit it either, but at some point we all have to face the 10 pages of posts tagged “#wank for ts” that lie in the depths of our archives.
It was fall of 2013, and I was doing great. It was my first year of high school and I didn’t have many school friends, but I was a pseudo-member of a gang of 20 some-odd college students from twitter and tumblr who loved Les Mis. We called ourselves the “angry queers” and spent literal MONTHS of our lives arguing with enjonine (Enjolras/Eponine) shippers. We were like, so cool, you guys.
One day in October, the topic of matching #squad outfits came up on the angry queer twitter feed. Me, being desperate for attention and validation from these people who were all a good 4-5 years older than me, decided to made these shirts on zazzle:
(Side-note: the second shirt is a reference to Kat prousts, who had recently gained meme status after telling everyone the story of how she accidentally broke two completely separate dicks on completely separate occasions.)
I screencapped pictures of the shirts and posted them to twitter with a (half-joking) call to arms:
As you can see, the reviews were raving, so I submitted the shirt to zazzle officially for sale, and then promptly forgot about it for 2 years.
Eventually, time passed and people moved on. In what now strikes me as an egregiously overdramatic reaction, I had a dramatic falling out with the angry queer #squad and was blocked by 50+ people over various social media platforms in less than 24 hours. So our transatlantic zazzle poetry gang was not going strong.
That brings us to one fateful day in spring 2015. I logged in to my old email account to look for a school document, only to find that I had been receiving emails from zazzle for the better part of two years:
Notice at the top of the page, there are FOURTY-ONE emails from zazzle about “recent sales”. The earliest one appears to be from march 2014:
To my horror and extreme fascination, literally dozens of people spent 20 bucks on what was essentially a shitpost from 2013.
Not only that, they had seen that there were only two shirts for sale, one of them reading “KAT BROKE TWO PENISES”, and they STILL decided to shell out the money for it.
Since then, I’ve received an average of two emails every month letting me know that someone had purchased my design. it became kind of a running joke between me and my new group of friends.
Some of you might not have been familiar with the Les Mis fandom, so I’ll try and put this context for you: Imagine if you found out that all the terrible Invader Zim art you published to deviant-art in 2009 was being sold as physical prints, and people were paying good money to hang up your past shame in their house. That’s what this felt like.
As the classic Passover folk tune reminds us, if God had JUST made a random one-off joke viral, then dayeinu, it would have been enough. But He didn’t stop there. In a twist of fate so bizarre it seems orchestrated by Hugo himself, I recently moved 2000 miles across the country, got a tinder, and stumbled across this profile:
At this point, I’m flipping shit. Someone just basically used MY CREATION as a means of (indirectly) flirting with ME. Thus, the ourboros is moved from itself to itself, sees itself, and is present with itself.
Obviously, I swiped right, and the next day I received a message from the heavens:
At last, I had met my maker. I can’t explain how it feels to talk to the very person responsible for your super villain origin story, but I sincerely hope each one of you will one day experience it.
Inspired by this recent turn of events, I decided to check my zazzle account, and lo and behold, found out I had been receiving royalties for my design this entire time!
Zazzle.com usually doesn’t send checks out until $100 of royalties have been earned, but I paid $5 just for the sheer novelty of getting a check addressed to “Angry Queer Apparel”, which I look forward to receiving in 3-5 business days.
So: to the 31 Americans, 13 Brits, 1 Australian, 1 Canadian, and 1 Eurozone citizen who purchased my design; thank you for the 35 bucks!