I’m not a joiner. When groups congregate, I get uneasy when their numbers start to get into double digits. Mega-churches, crowded theme parks and fads in general tend to make me dig my heels in as a measure of obstinate resistance. This explains my disdain for group-think concoctions such as strip malls with Chinese restaurants, tribal-style tattoos and the goatee on men in Missouri. Why is this?
Because, ultimately, I’m a buzzkill.
According to The Wife, I am the piss on the parade when it comes to mass hysteria and the trends that accompany it. I see it as a form of pragmatism, really. I likely won’t give my money to televangelists, I won’t join a cult, I won’t wear skinny jeans and I doubt I’ll ever take part in Black Friday (or any other collective rioting behavior).
Partially, it’s a function of insecurity. When I was a volunteer firefighter, I noticed a plethora of my compadres wearing shirts loudly proclaiming such idiotic mantras as “I FIGHT WHAT YOU FEAR!”; this was an attempt to impress upon people the nobility of the volunteer firefighter with just a dash of bravado and superior skills. It made me sick. Some of the best times I’ve had were during the volunteer years, but I realized what I craved was the rush of being a fireman, not the ability to flex my non-existent muscles. I made every move to distance myself from the ludicrous facade of machismo prevalent in the jolly-volly world; one thing I can say for career firefighters is that they waste no time in smashing any sort of attempts at heroic posturing in their co-workers. You never, ever, ever, claim what you did was ANYthing outside of your job description, that (almost) anyone else on your crew would do the identical thing, given the chance.
This allows for skeptics like me to thrive, maybe even (if we’re lucky) become full-on cynics. Positive descriptions range from “witty” and “snarky” to the other end of the spectrum with “jerk” and “downer” and “please don’t talk, you’re just so negative”. This is precisely why I could never work at a Sam’s Club or a Wal Mart; before each shift, the “team” assembles for a rousing cheer, and unless we’re on a competitive sports team, I don’t really subscribe to that phony morale-building crap. Look, we all know we’re here for another shift of mindless minimum-wage earning…please don’t make me feel worse about it by chanting like monks about sell! sell! selling! It’s humiliating and degrading for everyone involved. And THIS? makes me the buzzkill in the eyes of The Wife.
She loves to cry with The Biggest Loser each week, while I’m saying they should be celebrating their incredible opportunity to shed all those unwanted pounds for cash. Buzzkill.
When I tell her that I have no desire to roam the parking lot of the mall during the holiday season, which we both know will end up in me having a fit of rage, I am, once again The Buzzkill.
I am in very small company when I say that I am not in slack-jawed awe of Bono, despite all his work towards bringing third world debt relief into modern day lexicon. The St. Louis Cardinals are not a sacred institution to me. I do not hunt. I do not fish. I do not watch reality television (with the exception of “Hoarders”, which I figure is a crystal ball glimpse into my future….DON’T TOUCH MY TREASURES, YOU!). While I might stand in line for two hours in a blizzard to catch a concert from a favorite band, I don’t believe in sitting in line for three hours for a doughnut when the Krispy Kreme finally opens in a town. I’m not looking for the most cashew chicken they can stuff onto a plate for $3 and doing yoga in rooms with the heat cranked to 115 degrees seems like an invitation to die of heat stroke.
When people want to wear toe-socks and call them workout shoes, that’s just fine, but chances are I probably won’t.
Killing the buzz is just part of the game at this stage.
Especially if the buzz involves the music of Justin Beiber or wearing tee shirts that proclaim how much stronger/braver/tougher I am than you.
Someday, the legions of Beiber fanatics will thank me, even though I’ve yet to hear from my cousin with whom I argued rather violently back in 1995, when she told me that the Spice Girls were bigger and more musically relevant than the Beetles.