Me and Sad Keanu: A 3D-Printing Story

I ordered him one day from a website that sells 3D-printed objects, a marketplace for goods created in the new way. Then I forgot all about it until the day he showed up, a meme materialized.
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It all began in June of 2010 when a photographer spotted Keanu Reeves eating a sandwich on a New York park bench. In one shot, Reeves looks dejected for reasons unknown. The image was metastatic: he was isolated from the original and pasted into new scenes all over the web. Sad Keanu was born, and then reborn, as a life-like 3D rendering.

But that was all in the computer. Now he'd been printed. This was the real world. What had the the flip-flop done to him? 

Light did not reflect off Sad Keanu the way it was supposed to. It was as if the photons knew he did not belong here.

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I remembered reading The Indian in the Cupboard, and hoped Sad Keanu would come to life. Maybe he would be voiced by a former comedy star -- Pauley Shore perhaps, tuned to that Serious-Robin-Williams pitch. I imagined what Sad Keanu might want. A sandwich, I decided. And we rode to the store.

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The light kept catching him at odd angles. He was all odd angles, it seemed.

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Would he want to make his own sandwich, picnic-style? I placed him in the cheese case.

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But he wasn't interested.

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He seemed more at home with the pre-made stuff.

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At the green grocer, he tried grapefruit.

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But liked melon best.

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Nothing could cheer Sad Keanu up, though.

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I kept trying. I took him to play basketball.

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Sent him down a slide.

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Let him ride a metal horse.

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Listened to records.

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But he was not cheering up.

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Perhaps what he needed was a friend, another Sad Keanu. I took him to the photocopier place and sat him down on the bed.

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The clerk informed me that I could not leave the cover open, that it would use too much black ink. But I feared crushing him inside the machine. So, we covered the glass.

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The replicator did not work.

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So, if he was going to be alone, I encouraged him to commune with nature.

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Stop and smell the roses, I advised.

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Take in the glory of the California succulent.

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Hang out with the green garlic.

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Flowers are beautiful.

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Climb a tree!

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Maybe do some gardening. Smell that mint.

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Kale's delicious if you cook it right, I insisted.

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I turned to culture. Why don't you read some more books, Sad Keanu?

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Maybe investigate Eastern religion?

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You used to love the piano!

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Perhaps take up drawing?

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Just go pet the cat. That works for everyone.

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But he was so sad.

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So, so sad.

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So, so, so sad.

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He could hardly get out of bed.

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Sad Keanu needed a lady, I decided. I brought him binders full of women. He wasn't interested.

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I tried to get him to try online dating. He turned his back on the computer.

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I put him in front of a sign that said FUN, hoping some of the magic would rub off.

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He was sadder than ever. So sad, he found a milk crate and sat among the ratty dandelions.

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We'd been going so many places that maybe it was inevitable. I lost track of him. Where could he be? 

I had to find him! I called out to him. Sad Keanu! Sad Keanu! Anyone seen my Sad Keanu?! But no one even seemed to even know the meme.

Finally, I retraced my steps, figuring he could not have gone far, being an immobile 3D-printed toy. And it was just a few blocks from my house, on a fence covered in flowers that I found Sad Keanu. 

He'd met someone. And he was happy. I let him be.

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