How I Really Feel About Mastodon’s The Emperor of Sand
by Robert Dean
You know when you’ve got mutual friends with someone, and your friends try to sell you on that other friend like, “Oh man, you gotta meet Phil. Phil fucking rules. We went to high school together. Great dude. Kills on guitar. Hilarious. Knows every word to every episode of Family Guy.” And then you meet Phil, and Phil sucks.
You have no idea why your friends love Phil. Maybe it was because you were late to the game and missed out when this dude peaked and owned shit with that wicked sense of humor. (While we’re on it, despite it being funny, people who over-quote Family Guy are annoying.)
You keep giving Phil chances when you see him out. You’re desperate to like Phil. You study up on Phil history. You actively learn about Phil if he’s going to be a satellite member of your crew. You revisit his old material. You ask to be told the stories so that you can search for the deeper meanings in the payoff. Still, you’re just like, meh – Phil. Because Phil is relevant to your community of friends, you deal with Phil and learn to tolerate Phil, not love him as they do.
You’re having a few beers, and next thing you now, he’s there telling boring work stories, but doing a bunch of weirdo cartoon voices. He’s also obsessed with Rick and Morty to an uncomfortable level that makes his constant show references hard to keep up with. It’s kind of draining. But, you endure the night.
Phil LOVES Iron Maiden. Like, a lot and thinks they’re the best band ever when most people like a handful of tunes. Phil gets all obsessional about the content of the lyrics and by word seven of this whack conversation, you’re already fucking bored with Phil. It’s just too much.
You start to wonder if you even wanna kick it with your friends anymore because maybe you’re just as annoying as Phil is. Considering this, it blows your mind. It makes you wonder about all kinds of mind-altering, existential dread shit. Just because Phil is a dork, who thinks bacon flavored everything is cool. He’s spoken at length to you about “nature’s candy” and essentially just ruined breakfast meats for you.
Finally, you just learn to ignore everyone when they drop some Phil knowledge or try to sell you hard on him and his corny jokes straight from the pages of Reddit. Sure, he has some moments where he does shine, and you’re like, fuck – “why can’t you do that all the time?!” And then Phil goes right back to bumming you out. He’s not a bad dude, either. He’s just not your people. It took a little while to get it, but it just is what it is.
Once you’ve gotten over that crucial hump of learning to accept indifference and gain the ability to filter out annoying shit in your life, you can hang with Phil. Never alone, though. That’d be too weird. Phil will never be that cool, and you will never like him like that. He’s a group hangout instance only. You’ve been dodging that Facebook friend request forever and you ain’t about to hit the yes button anytime soon, despite the fact that he’s been following you on Instagram for like a year.
What I’m trying to say is, Mastodon is Phil.
Emperor of Sand is available on Amazon and everywhere else, and the head honcho of this site thinks it's excellent.