I recently found out that you can — or at least could — be an intern for Smash Mouth. Though the ska-pop band reached its heyday in 1999, it posted a MySpace ad (aptly titled "WANNA BE A SMASH MOUTH INTERN??????") in 2006, and there's no telling how well it turned out for the guys.
But 11 years after the band reached its (questionable) prime, the real point is not that it's debatable that a Smash Mouth intern ever actually existed — it's that it wasn't me. Four years too late, I'm sitting on a couch in my studio apartment, debating whether or not to YouTube that song from the "Shrek" soundtrack, leaning toward eating cereal instead and overall feeling some pretty acute devastation. Hey now, I am not an all star.
Let's focus, though. Although the internship would (clearly) take my resume straight to the top of every pile, I am not entirely sure why I'm sad about missing my chance. The post's three criteria for eligibility, besides being extremely vague, don't even have the same amount of unnecessary question marks.
1) Do you live in the bay area??
2) Do you need an internship in the music business??
3) Love Smash Mouth???
Answering them in my head over Wheaties, I'm pretty sure my responses would not impress the powers-that-be-or-might-have-been at Smash Mouth, Inc. I do not live in the Bay Area or even, in fact, anywhere near it. I could definitely use an internship in the music business, but I'm not sure what that has to do with Smash Mouth. And I do not, as far as I understand the word, "love" Smash Mouth. Does anyone, really? I do, however, like Smash Mouth. (Keep in mind that none of this would have happened if I hadn't Googled "Smash Mouth" on a whim. Let’s count how many times I can write "Smash Mouth.")
But most importantly, I love '90s music — particularly that of the cheesy (Savage Garden) or angsty (Live) varieties. I feel almost euphoric when the two are in combination, so much so that I can quote entire albums of anxiety-ridden Matchbox Twenty lyrics, and I can tell you which lines make frontman Rob Thomas’ bewildering singing accent sound its most unnatural. (“I wanna take you for graaaanted.”)
What can I say? I had a musically rich childhood.
This makes someone with my guilty (or not) pleasure musical interest the key demographic for listening to Smash Mouth. Although I promise you I do listen to legitimate artists and my iPod is not an ode to Chumbawamba, I do, in fact, remember Chumbawamba. And that is why, among other reasons, I would like to be an intern for Smash Mouth. My resume, and therefore my future career as an underappreciated hipster music writer who admits to enjoying '90s music and is shunned by other hipsters, depends on it. Underneath "Weekly columnist for the Columbia Missourian" could be "All Star." I dare you to say no to me, SPIN.
“Dear Steve Harwell,” I could write. Because he wore sunglasses and seemed fairly cool in all those videos back when I was 10 and MTV actually showed music videos, the lead singer seems like the best person to contact. “My name is Kelsey, and I am a music writer residing in Columbia, Mo. Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed your time on the sixth season of VH1’s 'The Surreal Life.' I’ll admit that I was still a bit confused from that one season with Charo, but I can honestly say that you were the most normal cast member in all of your episodes. I was very relieved that Omarosa did not make a return appearance, and I thought the show’s use of Smash Mouth songs was quite tasteful.
“In fact, I often make tasteful references to Smash Mouth in my own life. When I am not listening to the band, I am referencing it. 'Elizabeth, it is so hot in here that I might as well be walking on the sun.' 'Dane, you look rapturous today. I can’t get enough of you, baby.' It can be said (though, as yet, it has not), that I love Smash Mouth. At the very least, I am currently writing a column about you guys.
“You, in particular, Steve, are one of my favorite lead singers of any no-longer-relevant '90s band. I like you more than the dude from Hootie and the Blowfish, as I am still a little miffed that his name is not actually Hootie. I look forward to your new career as a country artist with equal parts excitement and dread. Maybe you could write a song about me. Give me a job?
"Yours, Kelsey Whipple
"P.S. I have an unnatural talent for picking up laundry."
If I had written this four years ago, I could have curled the ends of my signature, listened to a Smash Mouth song for good luck, closed my eyes and wondered what I would decide if I were Steve. “She liked 'The Surreal Life,' but she didn’t even reference my cameo in 'Rat Race.'” Rats. I could have folded the letter, wafted some Chanel No. 5 over it and actually YouTubed that video from "Shrek."
Or I could write a column about it.
Kelsey Whipple is the deputy editor of Vox Magazine and the world's foremost amateur Smash Mouth expert. When she was in third grade, she was a high-ranking member of her local Savage Garden fan club.