Unnecessary Things #3: Groups to Avoid (An Offensive Exercise in Judgment)

Meriwether Clarke is an embittered poet living in Santa Barbara, California, home of the following people groups. (And this is a photo of my brother. Our parents trained us from an early age to pursue the arts.)

Like Mongol hoards patrolling the Central Asian steppes in 1200 A.D., there are certain groups of people so dangerous, so detestably self-serving, they must be avoided at all costs. Jump into traffic, throw yourself onto prickled cacti—ANYTHING to stay away from the rank, unfiltered stench of intellectual repulsiveness closely associated with members of the following groups:

 Hipster Christians

Pseudo-intellectual debates about the existence of God have a time and a place—and they are not in coffee shops. They are the following: on Gchat between the hours of 10 pm and 1am, in front of the Old Navy on State St. in Chicago whenever that offensive proselytizer is present, in religious studies discussion classes at your overpriced private university. This excerpt from a chat with Zalman pretty much sums up my thoughts:

me: btw hipster Christians may be America’s most unintentionally destructive group of people.
Zalman: elaborate
me: they comprehensively represent American society’s worst faults.
Zalman: such as?
me: insincere kindness, turning their belief system into some sort of materialistic status symbol, hypocritically holding opinions they do not attempt to utilize in their everyday life, complete and utter judgment of people who live differently.
Zalman: so they’re kind of like us, but religious.
me: exactly.

 Rich, mean old people

Have you ever stood in line at your local cupcake bakery when a cruel, wrinkled woman clad in Prada loafers and a St. Johns skirt-suit brazenly steps in front of you? And then proceeds to take approximately ten years to order? I’ve been there, and it’s awful. Cease and desist, wealthy old people of the Santa Barbara area and beyond! I don’t care if nearsightedness prohibits you from seeing my impoverished, youthful frame. Just because you’ve purchased the reverence of the rest of society doesn’t mean you can have mine!!! Go back to your Montecito vacation home and LET ME CONSUME MY CUPCAKES IN PEACE. It is the one pleasure remaining in this wretched world.

 Pompous journalism students (note, not all J-school grads fall into this category)

As a former Wildcat (c/o 2010!), I am intimately familiar with the stereotypical journalism student. He or she is typically smart, super-interested in current events, slightly dorky, a little socially awkward, maybe a teensy bit frizzy-haired (wait—am I describing myself?), yet generally well-meaning. “They sound pretty great, Meri, what are you rambling about?” you may be wondering. Journalism students are bad news in two terrible situations: (1)  on the job hunt and (2) when discussing literature. Are you up for a position against a former journalism student? FORGET IT. It won’t be yours. These people research random stuff like it’s their job. They already know everything they need to do to impress the owner of that magazine or small press or Danish bakery. Fear not—there is still one thing you can beat them at. Yes, young English major, they may have you on current events, but you have them on BOOKS! Don’t get your pants in a knot, youthful journalists of the world. You may be better than us in a lot of ways, but there is a difference between people who collect knowledge for the sake of informative articles and people who collect knowledge in order to, I don’t know, READ POETRY. Do I sound bitter? Hopefully, because I am! I didn’t waste four years of my life trying to understand Ezra Pound so I could nod politely as some creepy wannabe reporter tells me Hemingway was the greatest writer of the twentieth century. Or pretends like they personally discovered David Foster Wallace. Or smiles sheepishly when I ask how many female writers they read.

 People who walk around in cyclist outfits

“TMI” is a completely normal response when someone loathsome tells you unnecessary information about their life. Like when your secret barista enemy tells you how much he loves going to church. Or when your coworker tells you about her pap smear. Or when your parents tell you about the night of your conception. ANYWAY, I’m starting to think it should also be an acceptable phrase to say to someone who is dressed completely inappropriately in public. And what, I ask you, is more inappropriate daily attire than a cycling outfit? What is tighter? More revealing, despite showing no skin? Less flattering? Literally nothing. So beware, Santa Barbara cyclists, the next time I see you lounging in front of my favorite coffee shop, your cycles casually resting against your table, spandex shorts digging into your fleshy leg, I will mutter three simple letters as I breeze past: T.M.I.

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