Is taking things to excess a human trait or an American trait? I'm old enough to remember the debut of mini-skirts. They were shockingly short (hey, if it doesn't shock the parents what's the point, right?) and then they got even shorter. They got so absurdly short that someone invented matching bloomers to be worn underneath. A couple years later hemlines dropped...all the way to the ground.
Today I saw a young mom with two kids and a stroller trying to navigate a parking lot in heels so high I wondered how she makes her living, if you get my drift. We had a name for shoes like that just a couple years ago, now they seem to be SOP and I wonder why? Why would anyone feel the need to teeter around in shoes like that just to go get groceries and gas up the car? If high heels are sexy then REALLY high heels must be uber-sexy? How sexy do you need to be in the Grocery Outlet parking lot?
A few years back someone discovered there is a substance in dark chocolate that is actually good for us. Suddenly dark chocolate is everybody's darling. In typical American (?) fashion the thinking seems to be "if dark chocolate is good, then REALLY REALLY dark chocolate must be even better!" Enter the 71 or 86% cocoa bar masquerading as candy. Don't get me wrong: I love chocolate and I really love dark chocolate. I DO NOT however, want to eat baking squares. 71% cocoa isn't candy, it's for cooking.
In the 1970's vitamin C was widely understood to be necessary for all kinds of healing and other body functions. So of course, we Americans began to take mega-doses, always looking for the miracle that will fix everything. It's happening now with vitamin D. It'll happen again with some other substance in the near future...just watch. You do not have to participate, although bucking a current trend can be difficult.
Someone asked me the other day if our soaps are organic. I paused and took a deep breath. "No. They are made from food grade ingredients, but I do not know if the trees used to make the palm oil are organic palm trees." Like so many other American obsessions going organic has gotten out of hand in my opinion.
It's soap people! It's a humble substance. We're not going to eat it. We're not going to rub it into our skin and leave it there. It's made out of stuff you can eat. It washes off. How pure does it need to be? How much does it need to cost? (Un-sprayed organic cherries at $8 a pound are one thing, but $20 a bar soap? I don't think so. I know... it worked for Brad Pitt in Fight Club, but he's looks way better in a tux than I do!)
We're nearing the end of our annual season of excess. More food! More presents! More decorations! Bigger is better! Spare no expense! It's the American way and far be it from me to criticize how we conduct ourselves. But I would say to you all, Relax! Wear comfy shoes. Eat your veggies. Have a glass (not a bottle) of wine and chill out. Get a bar of yummy milk chocolate (oh horrors!) and ease into the New Year. Moderation is good. Common sense is better. Leave the miracles to the saints.
Be well every one.
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