There’s an Internet meme making the rounds of the Web these days, a paparazzi snapshot of Keanu Reeves, shabby and faded, sitting on a park bench, eating a sandwich and looking forlorn. “Sad Keanu” was good for a laugh, but quickly sparked a backlash from people who said “Hey, don’t make fun of Keanu … the guy gives most of his money to cancer research.”
This, in turn, led to a new meme: Let’s make July 1 Keanu Day. From that sprung another quickly-spreading joke: Keanu is immortal, a revival of a minor meme from late last year. These claims are often accompanied by photos of Keanu 20 years ago compared to now, showing little, if any, aging. Also used as supporting evidence are images of the actor Paul Mounet, who worked 100 years ago and looks like Keanu if Keanu could grow a full beard.
I was thinking about all this today in the bookstore when I spotted a new biography of Josef Stalin, the Soviet dictator, featuring a front-cover portrait I’d never seen before. “Young Stalin,” I noted, “Looks remarkably like Keanu Reeves.”
And then it hit me: These theories, made in jest, were in fact correct. Keanu Reeves has walked among us for a lot longer than you might think. This set me off on a path of intensive research using all the tools at my disposal, namely Google, Orange Crush and two slices of Hawaiian pizza.
- Earliest known recorded Keanu sighting: This cave painting in southern Spain, dated to 14,000 B.C., depicts Keanu playing hockey and fishing, because he would eventually live in Canada. “That could be anyone,” you may say, but please understand that I like to tell people I am an expert on things.
- The Last Supper: Keanu is sitting to Jesus’s left, and appears to be saying “Whoah, no more bread?”
- St. Germain: This legendary occult figure first appeared in the 17th century and flickered in and out of the royal courts of Europe for the next two hundred years, never aging, and proving to be a master of the arts. Sound familiar?
- A pirate: Because he would if he could, and so would you.
- Paul Mounet: When Keanu discovered his passion for acting, it should have been no surprise. An immortal can’t take on identity after identity, life after life, without learning how to immerse himself in the role. To hone his craft, Keanu became Paul Mounet. But while Mounet had a long career, he wasn’t always the same person. I say this because later photos of him look nothing like this painting above. In the age of photography, Keanu had no choice but to move on more quickly as people began to track his agelessness. However, he failed to realize people would compare photos and notice that he was suddenly a totally different dude. This marks Keanu’s first use of a successor.
- A cowboy on The Pony Express. Strangely, Keanu would later audition to play himself on The Young Riders, but didn’t get the part, because producers thought he looked too young.
- Josef Stalin: Before embracing cinema, Keanu took over Russia. For his first few months, he gave everyone bonuses and paid vacations, and personally delivered cake to shut-ins. Later, as word began to spread that he was an immortal being, he hired another guy who didn’t look much like him to carry on, and headed west. The new guy, by the way, was kind of a bastard.
- Keanu Reeves: In addition to becoming a stoner icon and one of the biggest Hollywood stars of his generation, Keanu continues his tradition of occult mysticism and mind-clouding spellcasting. You probably didn’t know that he’s a shapeshifting hypnotist, did you?
Along the way, Keanu studied with Aristotle, rode with Genghis Khan, sailed with Columbus and served as the inspiration for The Last of the Mohicans. He might also have been Billy the Kid, but I doubt that, because Billy the Kid actually looked like Emilio Estevez. There are also unconfirmed reports that the third statue from the left on Easter Island is a portrayal of Keanu, and there are whispers in certain circles that the dead alien recovered at the Roswell crash site was clutching a picture of Keanu.
And there you have it. This is as much as I could cobble together on such short notice, but you’ll have to trust me on it, because I’m Canadian, just like Keanu. Well, he is now.