2009 might be the year in which I become the stereotypical curmudgeon. Some might say I'm already there. God has been great to me and my family, to be sure. And, we really don't have any serious complaints about anything. No doubt, some will come, but, all in all, life is good. It's from this vantage point that I feel as though a few societal tweaks would make things even better. I know the economy is bad, and times are tumultuous. But, if we start small, start attacking the small problems first, we might be encouraged by our victories in these areas to tackle the big things.
It's with that in mind that I offer you my annual "Stop It" list. Actually, it's the first one, but it will be annual, because I'm sure by 2010, I'll have amassed another list of annoyances. None of these are directed at any one person. I'm not thinking of anyone in particular here. But, this is what I've seen because of my keen sense of observation and critique. You are so lucky! So, therefore, with tongue in cheek, yet without any more fanfare, here are the social trends that need to be stopped, and soon:
1. Young guys who wear their hats askew on their head.
ADMONISHMENT: You guys look like you don't know how to put a hat on. Really. Stop it.
ADVICE: Wear your hat in a way that communicates that you've actually got a brain inside the skull you're covering. I used to wear my ball caps backwards, but they were still on my head. Yours looks like it just happened to land on your head randomly, as if a bird dropped it there and you didn't notice. Girls don't think the tilted/misaligned hat is cute anyway. They like you in spite of it.
2. Being revelatory and/or cryptic on the internet (i.e., facebook, myspace, twitter)
ADMONISHMENT: Don't pour out your heart to a bunch of people who you don't really know. Don't post veiled messages that are just basically cries for attention. Really. Stop it.
ADVICE: Only talk to your close friends about what's bothering you. And, I don't care how popular you are, or how many friends you think you have, "close friends" doesn't include all of your Facebook friend list.
3. Cell phone use while I'm talking to you.
ADMONISHMENT: Don't talk to me while you're on your cell phone, either texting or calling or playing a game. Really. Stop it.
ADVICE: Do one thing at a time, thereby actually paying attention and retaining what I've told you. I promise to do the same. I don't really care if you do it to other people, but, as #3 states, just don't do it while I'm talking to you.
4. Thinking that you are the exception to the rule.
ADMONISHMENT: You don't get to have sixteen items in the the twelve items aisle in Wal-Mart just because you're you. In fact, maybe your limit should be eight. Sure, God thinks you're special, but you are not more special that someone else. Really. Stop it.
ADVICE: This applies to almost any circumstance. We already have special privileges for different classifications of people by law or social acceptance. We don't need someone else making up more of them.
5. Writing things for public consumption when you're not good at it.
ADMONISHMENT: Now, more than ever, I'm seeing bad grammar, incorrect punctuation and bad spelling. I see it on handwritten signs and notes, but I also see it in professional print. Really. Stop it.
ADVICE: Don't write copy just because someone asked you to do it. Don't use quotes to emphasize, use a line underneath the word. Sure, you'll see some mistakes on my blog, but I know the difference between "you're" and "your", and "there", "their" and "they're". Apparently, even some editor-in-chiefs do not. Sure, these travesties of writing cause me to laugh vigorously, but I'd be willing to sacrifice my joy for what is right. That's just the kind of guy I am. So, if writing isn't your gift, let someone else do it. Communication is only effective when everyone follows the rules.
Understand that Jesus loves all of the offenders described here. I love 'em, too. I'm not perfect, either. I have made social faux pas in 2008, and will do so in 2009. I ask for your pre-emptive grace, and I'll give you mine as well.