Hey, you wanna be popular? Of course you do. Everyone does. I can help you, you know. I can show you all sorts off neat tricks that'll get you in with the "in" crowd in no time at all. It'll be easy and fun, right? You believe me, don't you? After all, I used to be popular, too. Everybody knew my name. Really! Honestly! They did! For weeks, I was the buzz of the school. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing my name.

"Hey, did you hear about that guy? Seth?" They would say to their friends as they strolled along to their next class.

"Yeah," the friend would reply. "Such a shame. He was a cutie."

Of course, that's just one example of one conversation between a particular pair of young women. There were plenty more conversations between other people that went in much different directions.

"There's some rumors going around about Seth. You think they're true?"

"Dude, I have no idea."

Haha. That was a pretty common one. Obviously, someone wasn't using their brains. People can be so silly sometimes!

"So, I heard that Seth Hartwin kicked it the other day."

"Yeah, but whatever. He was a bitch."

"A complete fake."

"Annoying asshole."

"Fag."

"Moron."

"Bastard got what he deserved."

See? Center of attention! Me! Just like I always wanted. So what if things didn't go according to plan. So what if the only reason I became so popular was because I died. Living, dead. Same diff, right? Of course. Popularity is popularity whether it is negative or positive. But that doesn't matter to people like you and me. Why would it? It's not important, because we know that sacrifices must be made to get what we want in life.

In my case, I sacrificed my life.

Yup! You heard me right! Maybe you already guessed it, though. Anyway, as I was saying, I used to be an average guy. Not a care in the world. Young, full of energy and hope. Nothing special and content to be nothing special. That was back in Elementary school, back when having an imaginary friend was still somewhat socially acceptable. Those were the good ol' days where ignorance was bliss.

Then came middle school and the awkwardness of puberty and awareness. Things were kind of okay in the beginning. Sort of. At least, they were okay while I was still lost in my own world and unable able to hear the remarks of peers. Once I opened my ears, that's when things went downhill.

Like most children, I was teased. Being tall wasn't cool, apparently. Whoops. Nothing I could do about that, however. But what made it worse was the ever so delightful fact that I was kind of heavy. A typical American diet of shit supplied by parents too lazy and worthless to cook proper, wholesome meals for their son guaranteed chunkiness. So I was teased for being fat.

Daddy dearest, to put it simply, was Scrooge come to life. He loved money more than he ever loved me or my mom, that's for sure. It should go without saying that all my clothes were hand-me-downs from older cousins, or bought from thrift stores that smelled of feet and mothballs. Pleasant, right? Thick glasses that looked awkward on my still developing face added ammunition to the fire, and I became the weird fat kid with the gross clothes. Yay, me!

Maybe if I had taken more pride in myself, maybe if I hadn't cared so much about what others thought of me, then I would have turned out okay. Obviously, that isn't the case. I was obsessed with the opinions of others, and I hated myself for not being up to their impossible standards.

Just like you.

You know what it it's like, don't you. I don't see why you would still be talking to me if you didn't. You want to know my secret, you want to know how I went from being the looser to Mr. Popular. You want to know my recipe for success. You self-centered whore. You're so clever. You probably already know what I'm going to say next.

Anyway, back to me. Back to poor, pathetic Seth. I did what any unhappy little awkward boy would do. I let my hair grow long so that it would hide my face from view. I wore dark clothing in order to blend in with the crowd and decrease the chances of me being noticed. I avoided people as if they were carriers of the plague. I sat in the corner, kept quiet, watched those around me, and I learned what it would take to be popular. Boy, did I learn. Ha!

During the summer between middle school and high school, I changed myself. Every little thing that I had learned about being popular was put to use. Pay close attention, now, because you'll need to know this vital information, too. After all, you want to be popular just like me.

Tip one: be skinny. I achieved this through a combination of diet pills stolen from my mother, starvation, and Adderall that I may or may not have obtained illegally. Please feel free to use whatever weight loss method is the most comfortable for you, but please remember that you'll never be skinny enough. Ever. Also, you'll never be muscular or attractive enough. Physical perfection will never be yours, so you better work your ass off for it.

Tip two: be just like everyone else. Pick a stereotype. Any stereotype. Whatever you feel will work the best for you. I went with emo. This required dying my hair black and getting it cut in a ridiculous fashion that requires an absurd amount of morning preparation. All my baggy clothes were a big no-no, and were thrown out in favor of super tight skinny jeans that made it really uncomfortable to sit down, and black graphic t-shirts from bands I didn't really like. My ugly glasses suddenly became cool. Add a bit of makeup and metal jutting through extra holes in my face and I was good to go. Don't forget that, along with the physical appearance, you need to know what kind of behavior is acceptable for your stereotype. Make sure you know have at least a basic knowledge of trends and conversation topics if you're not a good actor.

Tip three: be the center of attention. This, obviously, is the most important thing. That's what popularity is all about, right? Gotta have all eyes on you at all times, or else the world will stop turning. Shyness is no longer an option. Do whatever it takes, even if you later feel ashamed. Don't worry, it won't matter. You'll be popular. You'll be like me.

You'll be just like me.

Now, all of this is good and stuff, but sometimes it's just not enough or needs some spicing up. After a year or so, people got used to my face and I started to fade into the background again. Not good. Not good at all. I was never really attracted to boys, but in order to get the attention I craved so much, I paraded myself around as bisexual and made a big fuss over gay rights, made out with boys in the hall, and whatever. It worked. It got the attention I wanted.

For a while.

A few months later, it was old news, and I was desperate again. Next step? Take attention whore to a whole new level of whore. I became the backstabbing friend. The "It's okay, baby, it's alright. I can pull out. He won't know a thing." friend. The friend that you can't look in the face anymore. That guy. You're jealous of me, aren't you, you little fucker?

Aren't you just so pathetic. I know what you're doing. You're sitting on the edge of your seat. Eyes wide. Hands clenched. Hanging on my every word. You're wondering what happened next. Don't worry, I'll tell you. I'll tell you because I want to help you be as popular as me.

By that point, I was pretty damn popular. Goal nearly completed. But it wasn't enough. Oh, I know, I know. That seems impossible. How could someone as amazing and cool as me still be unknown to those poor miserable souls wandering through the halls of my high school? I was shocked, too. As unlikely as it seems, I was running short on ideas. Lucky for you, you'll have me to help you along, so you'll know what to do next instead of floundering around with a goddamn clue or original idea in your useless head.

Cut.

Nothing screams "I need attention" more than self mutilation. No need to compliment me on my genius, I already know. Since some of you are bound to complain that cutting doesn't fit in with your chosen stereotype, you can also do drugs. Drugs works with everything. If you want to be extra cool you can be like me, and do both. I do believe that it has already been established that you do want to be like me, since you are so eager to be popular, so I shall elaborate.

I started out little. Just a nick here and there to see the reactions of the people around me. Didn't get too many comments. Little cuts happen all the time. Hell, you can cut yourself on your own thumbnail. No big deal. To reach popularity, you must be a bit more extreme. I made the cuts longer, and more people noticed, and commented, and then it was all about poor Seth and how badly he needs special attention.

That's what I wanted. Popularity! People knew me! Eventually, you shall have your name whispered behind palms as you walk by, too.

But, like I said, you have to be a bit more extreme. Those silly little boys and girls will get used to you pathetic little marks, so you'll have to go deeper and deeper and deeper. If you're really dedicated to being popular, you'll do just enough damage to land you in the hospital. But that's not good enough. Not for me. Not for a bitch like you. Go to the next step. Let it all out.

It's not hard! Promise! Do what I did. Put the blade to your skin and pretend you're cutting up chicken. Haha. That was funny. If you aren't laughing, you should be. I'm popular. I will admit that it hurt, it's not so tough to ignore when you're high as a kite. So even if you weren't doing something before, I suggest you start before going to this level. So much easier. When all that red starts to pour out, you'll feel great! The more that flows, the more popular you'll become! If all goes according to plan, come morning, you'll be dead!

Everyone will know your name. You'll be mourned. Just like me, right? Prayers will be said for you. You'll get your own group on Facebook. A little memorial service. People will swap their rumors and say such flattering things. Just like they did for me. The ultimate level of popularity will be yours.

And then . . . ?

Then I was forgotten, and everything came to an end.