Let it all Hang out!

There is this inspirational poster making the rounds.

Wear your fancy lingerie.

Light those candles!

Use the good china!

Drink the Champagne!

Don’t wait!  You don’t know how much time you have left.

How inspirational.

Take things that are special and make them common.  Don’t save the chocolate cake for birthdays.  Don’t take care of the china that your mom passed on to you; serve hamburgers on it.  Buy NOTHING but fancy lingerie and wear it when you’re working in the garden.  Light all the candles in the house regardless of the scent…and the fire hazard.

We’ve taken traditionally special things and made them not matter any more.  A portrait used to be only for the rich, and they had to sit for days while the artist painted in all the nuance and the secret smile that reflected on your inner self.  Click!  Selfie!  Click!  Another selfie!  So portraiture is not important or special.

We used to have champagne flutes and beer steins to give the liquid a special feel and smell.  Solo cups are OK, now.  As long as there’s alcohol in the cup and it is strong enough to get you drunk, it doesn’t matter how it’s served.  We don’t enjoy the taste of the beverage, it is just a means to an end–getting so blasted you don’t remember or care what you drank to get to that point.

Fixing dinner for your family was an act of love, and the smells filled the house.  The food was shared along with the events of the day.  It was a time to connect to your siblings and parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents…  Now it’s what you do in the car on your way some place.  Food is what you order to eat during football/baseball/basketball games on TV.  We don’t just eat, we have to eat and be entertained at the same time.  We don’t like silence much.  Turning on the TV is easier than talking at the dinner table.  You’ve seen people out to dinner at a nice restaurant and everyone at the table is texting or playing games on their phones.  They are not talking to each other.  Eating together is not important or special now and neither is cooking.

Church was where you went to worship, and you dressed up.  It was a solemn occasion with prayer, hymns, and a rousing sermon.  After church, there was the church in the parking lot.  You socialized with people you only saw on Sundays and got caught up.  You went to the graveyard next to the church and visited the departed.  There were potluck dinners served for special occasions and funerals.  That was your community and your social circle.  Now, people skip church to go to soccer games.  The elders of the church will wear jeans to services.  Hymns that used to put scripture to music to help the masses remember the verses now are repetitive phrases that say how good their God is.  It might be seen as more meditative because of the chant-like quality of the words, but the main message of the words is that we get to define God in a way that meets our criteria as a super being that gives us anything we want if we write a big enough check.

Weddings?  Don’t get me started.  Too late.  We’ve made the circus of the wedding so important that it sometimes causes the divorce.  Yes, the wedding may be one of the most important days of your life, but it’s not the flowers, or the band, or the pictures, or the honeymoon.  It is the commitment to each other.  We’ve gone and made the actual marriage “just a piece of paper” that gives us rights and privileges in the sight of the law.  Whereas the wedding is so important that people will be in debt for decades to pay for it.  That makes the couple committed to the bank, not to each other.  So the marriage–the important part of the relationship–is unimportant, but the wedding–the show that goes with the celebration that the couple that’s been living together for 5 years is finally legitimate–is more important than any other single event in the couples’ lives.  If the wedding is so important, why did they live together and have a child together before they got wedded?  Oh…because marriage is just a piece of paper.

Why is the TV the biggest object in the house and placed in the most prominent location?  Because conversation is not important.  Having people on an island sniping at each other and planning each other’s demise in full high definition clarity and color is of the utmost importance.

So I ask you this:  Why wear the fancy lingerie, use the fancy china, light the fancy candles, and use the nice crystal for real champagne when you wear jeans to church and sweatsuits at home, never cook, do nothing but watch TV, drink whatever is alcoholic in the house just to get drunk and pass out, and never talk with your families.

I say KEEP SOME THINGS SPECIAL!  You wear that dress only when…  You break out the good china when…  You light the fancy candles because…  There ARE special occasions.  Keep them special.

2 thoughts on “Let it all Hang out!

  1. I get what you’re saying, but…

    I don’t believe the inspirational message is about making special things mundane. It can be interpreted a number of ways. First might be encouraging ppl to value experiences over things. There’s no point in having those things if you never use them. Many ppl get so caught up in acquiring stuff, collecting and hoarding to the exclusion of everything else, that they miss out on truly important experiences. Or they prioritize Grandma’s China over Sister’s feelings. And then there are the ppl who never use the china/light candles/wear lingerie/eat chocolate bc they are afraid. No occasion is special enough, will ever be special enough. They don’t deserve fancy things bc they are too fat/ugly/stupid/poor. So, yeah, those ppl need to hear that it is okay to celebrate living sometimes.

    As to the rest of it, yes there is a HUGE swath of ppl in the world who spend all their lives staring at screens rather than interacting with ppl. There is also a growing number of ppl who use those same screens exclusively for interacting with ppl they might never have met without the internet. And there’s a growing culture of appreciation for throwback skills. Etsy and Pinterest are rife with handmade and DIY products. The craft beer scene is chock-full of specialists who will not only know what kind of glass best suits the style of beer you’re drinking, but be able to give you the pedigree of said beer and describe the flavors better than a sommelier at a 4-star restaurant. Ppl are fighting back against the deadening of culture with scarves made from wool that they sheared, spun, and dyed themselves. There’s still hope in that corner.

    As for church, we both know that what ppl wear to service doesn’t matter when it comes to faith. I have been to churches where everyone wore their finest and ones where everyone dressed casual, each equally dead in spirit. My churches in Hawaii and Alabama both had a mix of attire (lots of flip flops in Hawaii, go figure) and they had some of the most spiritually strong congregations I’ve ever been in.

    But, yeah, a lot of “new age” Christian music sux.


  2. Yes, I agree. Some things should be kept special because they are rare. For example, I am a birder (yes, I am THAT nerdy!). A robin is a pretty bird – the red breast, black back, yellow beak. He’s really handsome but so common. A birder’s heart does not flutter when seeing a robin. An Empidonax flycatcher is just a drab little brownish-gray and cream colored bird, but rarer than the robin. It’s more exciting to see the flycatcher.

    Some special occasions should be kept special.


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