Monday, July 7, 2014

Don't pamper me, or: Whaddya mean, it's not Sunday?!?

I took today off from work, which gave me a four-day weekend from the day job. It didn't even occur to me that I owed y'all a post yesterday until I was heading for bed last night.

Clearly, I'm still in vacation mode. A week and a half off work, followed pretty closely by an extra-long weekend, will do that to a person. But tomorrow I'll be going back to the day job, and I'm not sure when I'll be taking my next vacation. So it's Back to Real Life Night here at hearth/myth.

Which segues nicely into a post I've been thinking about writing for some time, i.e.: the problem with America's culture of celebration.

The illustration above, which (if memory serves) originated on The Mind Unleashed's Facebook page, got a number of likes when I reposted it on my own timeline last week. It's a great sentiment, right? It's all about living life to the fullest, enjoying every blessing that comes your way, and so on. Right?

But like anything else, "celebrating everything" can be taken too far. That's how we end up with graduation ceremonies for kindergarteners, and with Bridezillas who expect all their elderly relatives and their friends with little kids to pony up to attend their destination wedding in Zanzibar. It's how we end up with a cake a week at work -- a birthday here, a shower there -- and the accompanying squeeze to contribute toward a gift card for the honoree.

Marketers love this, of course. Every special event is an opportunity to convince us to part with some of our cash. Parties need decorations; kids' birthdays need a clown and a moon bounce rental, along with gifts for the birthday boy or girl; and so on. It's tempting to blame the marketers for starting it -- but the truth is that they're just playing into our desire to each have our own special day. We all want to be special, after all. Even the rugged individualists among us sometimes want somebody to fuss over them.

Which brings me to the word "pamper."

I hate that word. Not just because it was the name of a popular disposable diaper when my kids were growing up (although the diapering flashbacks I get when I hear it probably don't help). What really bothers me about it is that I only ever hear it in conjunction with sales of beauty products or services for women. "This product will let you pamper yourself," or "Let us pamper you!" And it's usually followed by, "You deserve it!"

You know. Live a little. Treat yourself. Any time is a good time.

Celebrate everything.

I feel like a curmudgeon for suggesting this, but maybe it's time we ratcheted back some of our celebratory culture. Yes, we all work hard; yes, we deserve to be recognized for a job well done, or a milestone reached. But pampered? Come on.

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These moments of curmudgeonly blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.
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