The Phantom 500: An Exposé – Michella Ore

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“…And who am I?

That’s one secret I’ll never tell.

You know you love me.

Xoxo…”

You rarely hear about them, but when you do, it’s usually at night. You’re complaining to your friend about seeing the same 80 people going to parties and wondering where the rest of campus is. Your friend mentions the  “Phantom 500,” and you spend the rest of your night trying to unwrap the mystery behind the most elusive and exclusive group on campus. Who are they and how does one become one? That’s what I’m here to reveal to you.

Note: For purposes that can only be attributed to a lazy typist, “Phantom 500” will be from here on out slickly streamlined down to “P5” (it also make it easier for the author to feel like an agent of sorts).

After getting close to the source (because the P5 need friends, too), I was left with some tips that are guaranteed to make you, reader, the most qualified contender for entering the ranks of the group. To test my information and provide you with such an intimate insider’s look, I adopted all that I learned, which culminated into the lifestyle seen by many as securing a spot in the famed P5– flying under the radar. Now, in a school of 2,100, you’re probably wondering how does one exactly “fly under the radar,” but I assure you–it can be done.

For starters, wear muted colors. Any person who’s ever tried to go about their business unrecognized, whether it be getting groceries or stalking, knows that clothing is key to remaining incognito. No bright, florally crap will make the cut; instead you have to opt for  a neutral palette–consider it blending in with nature. Extra points if you can manage the same rugged texture of tree bark, which our school has an ample supply of, but that would mean giving up moisturizer. This author wasn’t invested enough to be ashy for the cause but if you want optimal results, one must do what they must.

Second, go about your day as expressionlessly as possible. Do you want to be known as the person who contorts their face in glee when they’re told they’ve gotten the last batch of honey walnut? No. Because you don’t want to be known at all. Instead, be the person who barely reacts. You’re handing me a free cup of Purple Cow? I’ll take it, but you’ll never know my true feelings. The fire alarm’s been accidentally triggered for the fifth time this afternoon? You won’t catch me vocalizing my annoyance. No, if you can catch a glimpse at all, I’ll be silently standing, slightly removed from the most removed person–not too much to draw attention to myself, but enough to remove me from your scope of vision.

The third important rule to get to the point where the P5 will embrace you with open arms is to never leave your room. “But I have to go to class!” you reason. Fine. Go to class, but go no further than that. Any chance you get, you should be en route to your haven, your cave, your sanctuary (whatever glorified name you wish to assign to your closet-turned-living space). This is where all the P5 retreat. Nestled in the top floors of nondescript buildings reside they who will not be named except by association. And it makes sense; there’s no place least likely to witness human traffic these remote, top floors. Pause for a moment, shed your purple pride, and admit that for a school that claims to be as athletic as ours does, I bet you couldn’t  find a student who would willingly commit themselves to the draining trek of ascending and descending four flights of stairs throughout the day. But that is what makes the P5 some of the brightest amongst us. They figured out a way to cut the “workout”–they rarely descend.

I did all of these things and more and soon found myself in a place I’ve only heard discussed in hurried, library whispers or in drunk, derisive jokes at Meadow–amongst the P5 elite. But soon, a tugging on my soul was too strong to ignore–it was time to go back. You’re probably wondering how I transitioned from the P5 to the Remainder. My spiritual journey back was actually not so difficult, as many would probably assume; after some rigorous physical therapy, I was able to start making facial expressions again, much to people’s satisfaction. I also returned to my bright colors–just on the nails for now (I’d prefer not to alarm people with the sudden, renewed radiance in my life). Lastly, I had a conversation with my bed and explained that we just couldn’t keep this thing we had going on any longer. After laying it down hard, I feel I can safely say there is no expectation of prolonged occupation on either end. And with my parting words to my bed (and my room, but we both know I’ll always come back), I took my first confident step back out into the light and into the masses.

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