Hash has come a long way. I don’t mean the substance, which is still in the same place it was 10 years ago, justifying hour-long profound and original existential rants you actually read on BuzzFeed three weeks ago. I’m talking about the # key, the italicised tic-tac-toe board whose primary function used to be that of the weird symbol you needed to find on your keypad so you could finish that phonebanking call you’d been on for the last week.
Today # is a sought-out member of society, the Justin Bieber of your keyboard. In fact # has gotten so popular over the last decade that he’s made his friend @ insecure. Fret not, @, you’re still our favourite Kardashian. But @, you are a dotcom millionaire, the glorious pinnacle of a bygone era at best. # is sexier. He’s a social media millionaire. So I’m sorry @, while I do want a function in the streets, I also want a viral in the sheets. No not the kind that burns later.
Today # is a sought-out member of society, the Justin Bieber of your keyboard. In fact # has gotten so popular over the last decade that he’s made his friend @ insecure. Pic/Thinkstock
Speaking of which, I’m worried about #’s promiscuity. I mean, he’s an adult and he can do what he wants, but doesn’t #he #get #how #dangerous #multiple #partners #in #a #single #sentence #can #be #? He needs to be more picky, or people are going to take advantage of him. And they already are.
I mean, # is a celebrity now, so he hangs out with other celebrities, I get that. But it pains me when I see them use him. They flash # around so he can sell their lipstick or their news program (#TellTheNationNOTELLNOWILLKILLYOUOKAY), or their cheap smartphone sale that lasts four seconds and ends in a man stabbing his co-workers to death with his keyboard because his transaction timed out. But there’s no telling # any of that, he won’t listen. It behoves me to tell you that #’s popularity has gone to his head.
I don’t blame # though, that sort of popularity will mess with anyone’s head, and this wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. Remember how right after emoticons got popular, : was busted in that motel room with six ounces of cocaine and that underage ; ?
If I sound overly concerned, it’s because deep down, I know he has a good heart. A few weeks ago he lent his name to a great initiative called the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, a movement designed to spread awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (rapper name; Lou Gehrig’s disease). It seemed simple enough, film yourself pouring a bucket of freezing ice-water on your head, nominate three friends to do the same (within 24 hours) and donate a fixed sum to charity. And it was a storm, with ALS donations in America topping $40 million in the month that # helped out, according to the New York Times.
But of course, for all the good # intended to do, he wasn’t incorruptible. And celebrities in India fell upon him, jumping on to the #ALSIceBucketChallenge bandwagon (except for Salman Khan, who swears he has no idea who was driving the bandwagon). Who knows, perhaps they mean well, and every bit of awareness helps. But they’re using # out of context, ruining him for the rest of us. It’s one thing to raise awareness that way in America, a country where a bucket of water is seldom reason for murder. But come on famous Indians, think about where you are for a minute. Sonakshi Sinha could see that when she dunked a single ice-cube on her head and said “Save water”. If even the person who thought Rowdy Rathore was a good idea can tell this is a bad idea, maybe you want to think again?
I’m not giving up on you #. You have a good heart. It shines through even today, as you hold vigil over the town of #Ferguson, Missouri, giving voice to those whom the system would seek to silence. And #, you also have a goofy heart, and we love you for it. You make us laugh at 3 am with your #ReplaceMovieNameWithFartSound jokes and even those #TWSS one-liners you’ve told a thousand times before. I just don’t want to see you get hurt, that’s all. So if you need someone to talk to, we’re here for you. I mean, #werehereforyou#
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi