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"I Saw Something Dumb On TV"

I saw something really dumb on TV yesterday. 
I know that's not news, 
but this particular dumbness told a lot about our society, 
and the dummies doing it didn't even realize it. 

They have a computerized "Cool Test" 
invented by some college morons. 
They flash various clothing labels, songs, recording artists, 
cars, electronic gear, slang phrases, beer, drugs, etc. 
on a computer screen, 
and the testee has to react to the items quickly. 
If you pick the right bunch of crap you are cool. 
If you pick anything over a couple of months old, 
you are square. 

The world must have changed 
while I was looking for my Members Only jacket. 

I always thought you were cool if you were creative, 
or kind, or wise, witty, 
or if you built or designed something special.. 
and so forth. 

I thought Ray Charles was cool. 
That's how square I am. 

Today's consumer-slaves have been conditioned since birth 
to think that the latest thing on the market is important, 
and to be among the first to own it makes you cool. 
Shopping is cool. 
It also keeps the economy rolling along. 

We don't make anything much in this country any more, 
so we are left with two classes...sellers and buyers. 
Sellers may be square. Rich and square. 
Buyers are over their heads in debt proving their coolth. 
It's a hot new form of slavery. 

Advertising and cheesy media programs shout at them constantly: 
"You'll be cool in this car, with those jeans, 
and listening to this new music on that new player!" 
"Drink our beer and you'll get a lot of sex!" 
"Eat more fried sugar and be happy!" 
"Memorize celebrities names and be popular!" 
"Ask your doctor about our new drug!" 
"Call our new hotline and talk dirty!" 
And on and on. 

The important word is "new". 
Old is bad. 
If you're satisfied with what you've got, 
you're not buying. 

I know I'm obsolete because I still create things, 
and most of what I own is not new, but it's paid for. 
The shame of it! 

owning the latest combination cell phone and hair dryer 
is not really cool. 
They just think it is. 

You know who's really cool? 
You and me. 

Copyright  March 8, 2006, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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