Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wearable Attitudes

When I receive a copy of the Reader's Digest in the mail, I immediately turn to the jokes. I'm a firm believer in the power of humor. I love to laugh - at Ed, at my kids, at my relatives, and at myself.

Sometimes I laugh uncontrollably at odd things. Frequently when Ed and I are lying in bed at night, trying to get to sleep, Ed says something completely normal, and inexplicably I just crack up then and there. Ed, who has no idea of what could have possibly set me off, just lies there silently. Gradually my laughter returns to a chuckle, and I breathe deeply, trying to get control of myself. Finally, with tears rolling down my cheeks, I calm down, at which point Ed usually will say something else, and his disembodied voice coming out of the dark invariably makes me laugh again, this time even more hysterically. I can't explain it, but the whole episode usually ends with Ed saying, "I'm glad I amuse you."

We get another publication in the mail that sometimes gives me a laugh or two. It's the catalog called "What on Earth: A Collection of Fun Wear and Delightful Diversions." Their specialty is T-shirts with witty sayings. Some of them are indeed witty, but I have noticed a disappointing trend lately. Most of the T-shirts in this catalog have insults on them.

I realize we like to express ourselves at every turn. We have to get covers for our iPods that "express" who we are. We have personalized license plates and bumper stickers. We have to find that perfect hairstyle that "expresses" our essence. Half the books in the Self Help section of the bookstore will help us find ourselves, and, once we have accomplished that worthy goal, we can turn to the rest of the books to learn how to express ourselves. Our appearance, our clothes, our accessories, our cars, our houses - they're all extensions of us as individuals, and as such, need to be chosen with utmost care.

T-shirts seem to be a popular way of voicing our opinions to the world at large, and, unfortunately, the T-shirts I am looking at right now reflect very self-absorbed, intolerant, and snobby people. For some reason in our present society, we can't even have a fleeting thought without needing to broadcast it, regardless of the effect our decision might have on civility. Whatever happened to "Some things are better left unsaid"? I suppose with the means of expressing ourselves being practically unlimited - from T-shirts to text messaging to chatting to blogs - we can be rude a lot more easily.

Here are some of the T-shirts I have noticed:
  • Just keep talking like I wasn't here.
  • So...when did you get out?
  • Looks like your airbag didn't deploy in time.
  • I'm a good judge of character and you don't have any.
  • Keep talking. Don't let my snoring stop you.
  • I get your point and it's stupid.
  • Is it me or is this place a festival of idiots?
  • Everyone has the right to be stupid, but you're abusing the privilege.
  • I can't be bothered by you.
There's even a web site called "YouHateMyShirt."

I guess the makers of these shirts think they are funny. I just don't. I have to wonder why someone would feel the need to insult everyone he/she comes across in a day. With all the hopelessness in the world, I would rather see some positive energy come across as we present ourselves to others in our daily lives.

As for me, if I have any negative thoughts, I'll just leave them in my head. They can't stay in there long anyway. The laughter will win every time.

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