NEW BRUNSWICK — In a world where society is constantly berated with social media posts dripping with sentimentality, ads designed to stir up deep-seated memories, and people just looking to create a meaningful connection with another human, there is one man who refuses to move his backpack.
David Michaels, an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University, has taken a stance against the overly personal culture we live in and places his backpack on the seat adjacent to him, preventing students from ever getting close to him. “It’s a protest of sorts,” David said as he pulled up the Fight Club soundtrack on his iPhone 7. “I just need to go against society’s concepts of ‘kindness’ and ‘decency’ and ‘awareness,’ and create this sort of art out of the frustration of innocent Rutgers students.”
And it’s undeniable that David is incredibly skilled at his art form. We got to watch a performance of his, and he was just stellar. When he gets on a bus, he heads straight to the back, often shoving smaller students to the side, and throws his backpack on the seat closest to the window before gracefully landing on the aisle seat. His technique was incredible, but his true brilliance shines through in his interactions with others. When asked to move, he’ll often spectacularly dodge the request by pretending to listen to Martin Shkreli’s “This Week in Investing” podcast. This often leaves the other feeling cold, helpless, and shunned.
Though sometimes, a student will be bold enough to persevere and even tap David on the shoulder. However, no student can rival David’s resolve; and as he stares down these foolish students, with eyes tired from living a million lives, and a stare colder than darkness, the students always resort to standing.
There are millions of artists each year who try, yet fail, to make art so interwoven in the human condition. However, such awareness of the world can leave one isolated, and as David once again keeps the world a backpack’s length away to fully enjoy his lukewarm almond milk, one must ask themselves, simply; at what cost?
BY Dick Toner
BY Mike Hawk