Have you ever wondered if part of human evolution has been to make us more extreme? Or has technology simply made it seem that way? It seems like more and more often I read, hear, or somehow experience extreme reactions to even the most mundane things. Of course, it may be that my Gen X “meh” is just showing. After all, it seems ludicrous to expend so much energy on some of this stuff.
Take Comic Sans for example. People seem to largely have feelings about this font. And their feelings tend to run mighty big. “LOVE IT!” some scream in the style of Wheezy from DragonTales. Others scream just as loudly, “Burn it with the fire of a thousand suns!” like the grumblers they are. The whole thing leads me to say, “It’s a font folks.”
And yet, the haters are going to hate regardless. Think of the last dinner party or night out at the bar you experienced. Probably within an hour or two things began to get heated, especially if Lindsay Lohan, Duckface, or Jersey Shore came up as conversational gems. The list of things that people feel strongly about has changed over the years. At one time it was basically limited to sports teams, political parties, and if one could safely wear white pants after Labor Day. Now any little thing is enough to set folks off in a rage or at least a snark-fest. Or, perhaps we just hear about these things more now that we are all plugged in and mavens of social media. Back in the day when we used rabbit ears to watch our tvs until the test strips came on, well, we probably just didn’t have as much access to other folks with whom to gripe. Or perhaps I just don’t remember. Youth was a long time ago, after all.
Take for example this charming, youthful man. Littlest is a first grader now. That means today makes his second annual “Crazy Hat Day” at his elementary school. Normally, hats are forbidden on school property so to be encouraged to wear a hat is a very big deal to Littlest and his fellow school-mates.
Now being Littlest, the key word for him is “crazy” and in his own words, “Can you think of a more crazy hat than a pair of underwear? Well, can you Mom?” Uh, nope.
For two years, this sweet little smile has peeked at the world from under the waistband of a pair of underwear. Of course, this year they are a larger size, but the concept is the same. And folks’ reaction is as static.
“You let your kid wear underwear on his head?”
Yep, I’m apparently that mom, the one who embraces free-will. The mom who loves that her child is still confident in his own way that he doesn’t care what other people think. And when he gets questioned about his hat choice, he always points out how funny it is. Most people smile at him. But there are the judgers. The people who can’t let go of the fact that its underwear on his head. What the hell folks, live a little. They are clean after all.
Would anyone think anything about it if Littlest had a stocking cap on his head? Nope. They probably wouldn’t even notice if he had a sweatshirt wrapped around his head, turban fashion. But let a kid wear underwear on his head and welcome to the slippery slope of haters hatin’ on his 6 year old funny.
Whatever happened to apathy? Has my generation been somehow co-opted by the Greatest Generation into giving a crap? Did those Baby Boomers give us something to do besides smoke another bowl in our parents’ basements?
I suppose we grew up and developed some opinions along the way. Just goes to show you, growing pains are loud folks. And loud folks with pains are loud about their judgements. Fonts or hats, it probably shouldn’t matter so much.