This is one of the very best phrases in the English language. As far as I know, there may only be two of us who use this day-to-day, or who even know what it means. But this has gone on long enough. Few sayings tell as much in so few words. Fiji Walkman. Allow me to explain.
The Soldier is wandering through downtown Suva, and decides to catch a bus. At the stop is a teenage kid, headphones in, swinging his legs back and forth. He’s very caught up in looking nonchalantly cool, as one does at that age, casting his eye over the crowd without really looking at any of them, serious expression fixed on his face, bottom lip jutted out, nodding his head rhythmically to indicate just how deeply he’s appreciating that Tool drum sequence or whatever it is. Something heavy, any rate.
As the bus pulls in, the kid hops up to get on, and the cord from his headphones tugs free of his shirt, where it had been tucked in between the buttons. The pin end swings freely in the breeze. It’s not attached to anything. He’s just wearing a set of headphones. He quickly stuffs it back in, looks around to see if anyone has noticed, and jumps on the bus to hide in a corner.
Ever since, whenever anyone appears to be fooling themselves, or assigning themselves a rather higher station than perhaps they’ve earned, one of us quietly turns to the other and says, “Fiji Walkman.”