Friday, July 25, 2008

Human Beans

There are days and there are days. Today I am in a relatively good mood, yet my opinion of the human race is rather low. This is not always the case. There are days when I can look at the mass of humanity writhing around me and not wonder how they all got to be so fat, ugly, stupid and/or any combination of the above, but today is not one of those days.

It's unfair, of course, but one of the frustrating things about being the crazy old man I am becoming is that, despite my youthful attempts to deny, ignore or explain this phenomenon away, my observations of humans, after nearly fifty years, reveal this salient truth: we are the problem.

Yet, it is virtually all I think about. As interested as I am in science the the nature of things, it is the nature of humans that I contemplate most. Of course, the humans I think about are most often my own family and friends, but my love and affection for these people means that I separate them from the rest of the herd, choosing to focus my anger and frustrations on the unnamed mass. It makes for an easy safe target, but this is no reason for me to stand back.

In fact, I cannot stand back. I cannot simply take my place, let's say, on the bus, or in a meeting, or in a line anywhere without feeling like I am being overwhelmed by the rude, the inconsiderate, the selfish and the self-serving. Everyone takes more than they need, as much as they want with no consideration of the previous or the next. In situation after situation, people stand in my way, cut in front of me, reach for things I am looking at. I must stand aside for the morbidly obese as they waddle down the aisle and take it all, for the group of students locked arm-in-arm on the sidewalk, for the bicyclist who rides in the crosswalk, for the motorist talking on the phone who turns in front of me.

I know, I know, this is just more whining. We all feel this way at one time or another. But why not get over it? Why this screed?

Well, what I wonder is this: Since I take the time to step aside, why doesn't the fat guy on the telephone in the middle of the cereal aisle do the same? Why doesn't the cyclist recall that they too walk on the sidewalk from time to time and would appreciate not being run over? Is it too much for people, when gorging themselves on another three to five thousand calories that they most certainly do not need, to think that the consequences of becoming fat and stupid reach beyond their own bloated bodies?

Apparently not. It would seem that certain members of society (a majority, no doubt) are prepossessed with a unchecked desire to please only themselves. These people are blissfully unaware that the pride of excess that they so shamelessly display is like a large red flag waving with disdain at those of us who might take the time to consider the consequences of our actions. They addresses the world with a singularly selfish message: 'I don't care'.

If you think I am wrong about this, look at some of the messages of consumerism, excess and generally offensive language that these people wear on their clothes, if in fact, t-shirts count as such. This aggressive display is often dismissed as a mere casual lack of concern on the part of the wearer, but in fact, that is just the point. If you don't care that you are advertising for some beer at the expense of your dignity and those who are forced to look at you, then you are the problem.

2 comments:

d2 said...

EXACTLY the way I feel (most days, anyway)!

d2 said...

Check this out:

http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307406620&view=excerpt