The link to the watermelon website sits on a biology room whiteboard.
Columnist discusses extended joke’s effect on her life and the comfort similar ones can offer
By Sophie Yang, ’19
I run a watermelon uprising. Under normal circumstances, “watermelon” and “uprising” should never sit in the same sentence. But that wasn’t what I was thinking six years ago when I decided watermelons needed justice, conjured a decidedly uninformative slogan—join the uprising—and set off to make the joke website of joke websites. About fruit rights.
Since then, I’ve created a watermelon uprising Instagram, scrawled the website link on several dozen white boards, and somehow got 38 sign-ups in two days from Jones Middle School eighth graders two years after I’d left the place. Did I actually believe watermelons were “sentient beings” who “deserved to be eaten” and were deprived of a reaching “something akin to enlightenment” when people smashed them in YouTube videos? Not exactly.
But without really intending it, what was supposed to be an extended joke became a part of how those I know see me. I’m a Tumblr peruser, a notorious night owl and the watermelon girl.
Thinking back, I’ve wasted far too much time and effort establishing an uprising that no one—including myself—may ever seriously join. I could’ve gone my entire life without photographing the melons at Market District.
Yet I don’t regret it. Creating the uprising gave me a place to put my energy. Growing up, I was—and still am—introverted. The uprising was a place to begin conversation, however awkward, with people I didn’t know. I’ve made acquaintances discussing the merits of seedless watermelon, and I have a good laugh every time it’s brought up. Above all, I love it when my friends send me pictures of watermelon merch they see in New York, or when I get a text from a classmate I haven’t talked to for half a year that “Watermelon” by Tom Rosenthal is a good song to check out. It’s a little reminder that people think of me.
I believe that when some of us pass every day with fully packed schedules, thinking academics-academics-academics, tending to extracurriculars or being swept up in social obligations, it’s just about perfect to find something like the watermelon uprising is to me. Something we can go back to, something that’ll be waiting for us in the middle of a long day. It doesn’t matter if it’s productive, or if we have anything to show for it, only that it links us to others. That it makes us happy, however briefly.
This is why I continue to share the uprising and what I hope we can all find a piece of. Just remember that as strange as a concept is on the surface, it can be a very ordinary, very real reprieve—if we only let it be.