In October of 1993, Salt-N-Pepa released Very Necessary and I turned 12. I had a friend named Karen Reed during my middle school years, and her mom was a bit more permissive than mine about the kind of music Karen was allowed to listen to. She had a cassette of the "Shoop" single, which included a bunch of remixes, the square and educational song "Let's Talk About AIDS" (as a companion to their hit "Let's Talk About Sex"), and the B-side "Emphatically No".
I borrowed the cassette from Karen and listened to it A. LOT. Because "Shoop" was an awesome song (and I dare you not to find it so even now) (the outfits are a little dated, but the model around the 2:30 mark makes it all worthwhile), and as it turned out, so was "Emphatically No". The title is kind of all you need to know; a dude propositions the sweet ladies of S-N-P and S-N-P turn him the hell down repeatedly. I have now had this song in my head on and off for nearly 20 years, and when I was 12 was the last time I had any access to it.
Some weeks ago I tried to find "Emphatically No" on the internet to see if it was as cool and funny and empowering as I remembered. All efforts in Google, BitTorrent, iTunes, Amazon, and even YouTube failed. Apparently this song was not available in 21st century media. Amazon did offer the CD single, though, so I thought, hey, I'll bet I'm not the only woman in her early 30s who heard this song as a tween and wonders what happened to it. I'll get the CD, rip it, put it on YouTube, and then I'll get a bunch of poorly spelled comments thanking me for my efforts.
So I ordered the CD. A week or so later, I got a message that the order was cancelled. When I wrote to ask what happened, I was told that due to a UPC scanning error, it turned out they never had the item to begin with.
Okay, no problem. Just order another one. There are a bunch of copies on Amazon. So I ordered another one, even though I was slightly embarrassed to have ordered two copies of a Salt-N-Pepa CD single from 1993.
A week or so later, I got a package in the mail, and when I opened it, I found a copy of the DVD of Identity (2003), starring John Cusack and Ray Liotta.
I wrote the seller and asked what happened, and evidently another UPC scanning error occurred, and that seller never had the single either. And now I had a free copy of Identity and no Salt-N-Pepa.
So I placed a THIRD order for the damn single. And all I could do was laugh. Like, uncontrollable belly-laughing. Because it was just so ridiculous! All for the love of a Salt-N-Pepa B-side.
My third order was cancelled.
(Incidentally, this episode is emblematic of how my March has gone. Nothing is easy and everything is scripted by Samuel Beckett.)
This third cancellation was for the third used copy I'd tried to buy. I prefer buying used items whenever possible, but at this point I'd just had it. I was still dogged in my determination to get the effing song, but I was honestly beginning to believe that every one of the 60+ copies purportedly for sale under the Used rubric was not an actual copy of the CD, but was listed due to an error. So I bought the last "new" copy that Amazon had on offer, via Newbury Comics, for $11.99.
$12 for a Salt-N-Pepa single from 1993.
A couple of days later, a package arrived. I opened it and found a sealed, brand-new copy of Identity (2003), starting John Cusack and Ray Liotta.
I hope you're finding this funny, because I sure as hell did.
I wrote to Amazon asking them for a return and notifying them of this remarkably consistent error. Then I looked down the list of used copies of the single, seeking the first description that a) mentioned the item as a CD and b) appeared to have been written by a human looking at an item, rather than basic filler text inserted by a large-volume independent seller. I e-mailed that seller, requesting confirmation that the item actually existed due to my being burned FOUR GODDAMN TIMES.
He said he was pretty sure he had what I was looking for, and I ordered it in three seconds flat.
Twenty minutes or so later:
So. Now you can tell me for yourself whether all that absurdity was worth it. Of course, without the absurdity, you'd never know, would you? Because I wouldn't have been able to put the fucking thing on YouTube at all.
By the way, does anyone want a copy of Identity?