Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Here I am, at Carl's Jr pigging out on fast food. For weeks I've been watching a couple of humming birds incubate, hatch and then grow to bulge up out of the nest. What a simple pleasure that has been. Simple for me, but apparently not for the parents of these fast-growing, fast metabolizing critters. Looks like a lot of work. Not so simple after all.

And then, here at the fast food joint, I overheard two teenaged employees. One says to the other "do you know that diet soda is worse for you than regular?" The other replied in the affirmative, and it was therefore a fact. Everything, from the candid way in which it was brought up, through the brevity of the conversation, to the underlying understanding of nutrition suggests simplicity. And what an admirable way to exist. Now, I happen to agree with the sentiment expressed. But I know it isn't that simple. My mind races through the questions, defenses, exceptions and qualifiers one must attach to what these kids simply agreed was a fact.

Will these kids one day wake up and look at questions like "which is worse, diet or regular soda?" With a more sophisticated (fancy word for jaded and cynical?) View? Or will they gradually accumulate life experience that encourages them to look more skeptically, more empirically, at the world?

Do any of us really stop "growing" that way? If not desirable, is it inevitable? Do I now have simplistic views of the world that I will look back at and question one day? If pressed, I would have to say that my pendulum has swung waaaay away from the simplistic view these kids have expressed. I view even the most clear-cut situations through a lens of contrived complications. How do I get it swung back towards reality? Not the naive reality of a teenager, but also far from the skeptical reality of my jaded early 30's. Food for thought, food for fattening, and food for comfort, all at your local Carl's Jr.

1 comment:

  1. Even if the road to our conclusions is messy and tiring, we still take it to arrive at those simple and clean answers. I wouldn't call it skepticism that drives this, but a mind working to process an increasingly complicated world full of color and consciousness. Ok, maybe you can call it skepticism. But I refuse to attach negative connotations to growing up, even if I, too, admire youth and simplicity. There is a kind of peace and simplicity that you acquire in age as well. It's that appreciation you have in watching change, in the natural world or in yourself. It’s the appreciation you have in the simple pleasures.