So here’s what I just chose to waste precious life-minutes doing: I looked up the most popular names for 1980 so’s I could make a meme for people with those names. My intent was to shame them and blame them for all the crap our poor world is dealing with right now. I thought I’d do my little part in making the world a better place by finding us all a Generation X scapegoat this time. (I figured it was GenX’s turn now.)
Here’s what I found: The most popular names for boys born in 1980 were Michael, Christopher, and Matthew. The most popular names for girls born in that year were Jessica, Jennifer, and Amanda.
And, when I saw those names come up, all my nefarious plans for name-shaming just melted away. I thought of all my students over the years with those names and I smiled at the happy memories. I thought of how my young friend, Amanda, stood next to me at the local BLM rally and chanted, “Black lives matter!” with me. I thought of my former student, Michael, who’s all grown-up now and lives across the road and volunteers his time and energy in keeping our neighborhood spruced up by planting trees along the street and giving us gravel to smooth out our driveways. I thought of my journalist friend, Matthew, who wrote such a nice story about my dad. I thought of my former student, Jessica, who always greets me with a cheery smile when we run into each other at the supermarket. And I thought of my friend, Jennifer, who I’d met while she was walking her sweet dog, Maya – a dog she’d rescued from euthanasia at a shelter.
And I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do the name-shaming game – even if it meant diverting attention from people named “Karen.”
Dear Balogna and Dicker, I wish you would stop – I wish you would stop perpetuating the “Karen” meme and the name-shaming. “Huffington Post” is supposed to be one of the “good guys” of the magazine world – a bastion of progressivism, fairness, justice, equity. You guys are supposed to stand up to the bullies – not be bullies yourselves. Yet, just when I think the meme has died out and I’m seeing headlines that refer to “racist woman” or “Tennessee woman” or “maskless woman” instead of “Karen” – “Huffington Post” will publish a story about “Karenting” or “anti-mask Karen.” And…I just don’t get it…what’s the point? How is that helping anyone or anything? I don’t see the Karen meme helping the LGBTQ, Asian, or Black communities. I don’t see it saving our environment or ending wars or helping our veterans, or lowering health care costs. I don’t see it helping women find equity, or see it promoting compassion for the elderly or mentally ill or vulnerable. I don’t see the Karen meme adding anything good to the world at all. It’s as helpful as talking about a “maskless Balogna” or an “anti-vax Dicker.”
In the last week I’ve had to notarize papers, and co-sign other papers, and call the IRS to verify the identity of my deceased 101 year-old father and talk to a bank manager about an ATM machine with a glitch – and, believe me, none of this was stuff I WANTED to do. In my personal experience, I’ve found myself talking to managers because I’ve had life-responsibilities that gave me no choice but to talk to managers. I’d rather have gone on some nice walks.
Here’s a photo from a nice walk.