Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Oblivious To The Obvious

Oblivious To The Obvious

Here in Canada, there's a series of commercials for that feature a character who goes by the title, "Captain Obvious."

He's a funny guy, who dresses in some kind of military outfit, always with the same hat. Here, let me show you one of the commercials:

I suppose the point of the commercial is that the obvious choice, when travelling, is to book your hotels through That may or may not be true, but one thing for sure is that we definitely live in a world where some people always make the obvious choice and so are plagued by ordinary lives. They like routine in their lives. Wake up at O-800, shower, eat breakfast, do this, do that, eat dinner at 1800 hours, and be in bed right after The Simpsons. Always the same, day in and day out. The very idea of doing anything out of the ordinary sends them into paroxysms.

For such people, life is a storm of double-ditto, and they shy away from the uncertainty of new experiences. Unlike the travel-meister, Captain Obvious, they are not likely to roam outside of their hometown. Travel would be far too precarious. No, they are most content in their own little world, living in the proverbial box, out of which they have no intention of stepping.

In today's world, it's almost hard to take exception with a life of quiescence and dead air. We like our comfort zone. The days of taking risks seem far behind us.

The problem with always choosing the obvious path, and never experimenting by going down the road less traveled, is that we lose the opportunity to try something we may have never tried before. Sticking to the same-old same-old leaves John and Jane somewhat dull folks.

I grew up in the 60's when everything after the assassination of JFK developed out of a generation's love for experimentation. Good grief, art, music, education, fashion, religion, even politics seemed to have suddenly been turn upside down. For young people, it was out with the old and in with the ... well, who knew? All that mattered was that we changed the world in some way or another.

It was a short-lived revolution of thought. Before long, a second "revolution" began. I've always called this second shift in thought and culture the "retrolution of the uninteresting." Bland crept back into the jungle. And the jungle became row housing, cookie-cutter suburbs, and cities that played to the ordinary needs of ordinary people.

Instead of fostering the unimaginable, society turned all those crazy hippies into day traders. Instead of discovering new and exciting ways to live, somebody got the idea of using this new device called the computer to keep everyone in their homes. Instead of turning on and turning loose, we turned back to the caveman mentality. The horizon of our worlds became the wallpapered rooms of our homes, our metaphorical caves with 25 year mortgages that kept us busy as beavers working at a 9 to 5 job.

Today, we are becoming more and more insular. Young families are just young families. Anything important is based on the needs and whims of children. The modern-day adult is most often just a glorified non-gender specific nanny, a Larry/Mary Poppins who dedicates his or her life to some kind of Skinny Marinky Dinky Dink existence. The closest they come to be real adults is when they are making more children to validate their lives. At some point, they became oblivious to the obvious, and settle for being fat, dumb and irrelevant.

I'm not opposed to children. Too often, they are simply the victims of their parents' mindlessness. Since the dawn of Sesame Street, our culture has engineered a youngster's thoughts to think that everyone is the same. When little David starts acting out, simply because he's looking for an identity that is uniquely his, we diagnose him as exhibiting symptoms of ADHD — Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — and we squash his "other-way-of-thinking" with such drugs as Ritalin, Metadate, Concerta, or Adderall. Want out of the box, do ya? Not on my watch!

All this is heading toward some kind of apocalyptic-like explosion. At some point, someone is going to lead the charge against the mundane and obvious world in which we live. At some point, young people will decide they don't all want to be the Se-same, the perfect little muppets and the apples of their parents' eyes.

Change is always a frightening thing. Overthrowing expectations and stepping outside the "rules" is never an easy path to follow. Without change, however, we stagnate, and to be honest, the gene pool is starting to get a little stinky.

I don't want an obvious world. I don't want to believe what Aldous Huxley wrote in Brave New World : "If one's different, one's bound to be lonely."

I want a world in which you wake up in the morning and have no idea what the day will bring. I want to be excited, astounded, amazed at what new adventures engross the population. I want to say, "Wow, I never thought of that." I want to say, Who does that?" and mean "How great is that?"

I don't want a world of comfort and comfortable options. I want a world of crazy, danger, freedom to be yourself, passion, and sin. I want different.

After all, what can we offer the world if we are just like the world?




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