I heard the term “Honey Boo-Boo” on the Internets about a month ago. I’m on Twitter, secretly, so that my students don’t see my angry tweets about people that take too long in the ATM line, about my disgust with the Republican party, about how the last bowel-movement was the most interesting ever. Anyway, I was on Twitter, reading the news feeds, and someone made mention of “Honey Boo-Boo” and how this person, or thing, or whatever, was annoying and how it was a sign of the end times or something like that. Of course, I looked at the message and I thought, what is Honey Boo-Boo?” So, my fingers went to the key-pad and almost typed the term into the Google machine. We live in a time where we can learn things just by typing a term, even a half a term, into a little space and then, like magic, we get the information we desire. But, something very interesting happened. When I went to the “Enter” button, I instead closed my laptop. I didn’t want to know who, or what, a Honey Boo-Boo was. More importantly, I didn’t care.
This happened again a few weeks later. My students made a random mention to a gang in New York called “The Chuck Taylor Gang.” Or maybe it was “The Taylor Gang.” I honestly don’t remember and this happened Thursday.
“What is that?” I asked.
“You know.” One of my students said.
“No, I don’t,” I said back.
“Google it,” they said in unison. Once they said that, I shook my head and rolled my eyes. I was interested. Then I wasn’t. It’s like being hungry. You were hungry. Then you eat. Then you’re not hungry. I had a desire and then the desire was gone. But I’m wasn’t satisfied. It’s like my satisfaction can’t be achieved by the knowledge that I’m lacking because I know the knowledge I’m lacking won’t satisfy me. It’s like someone asking me if I want a huge meal and I say yes and then they give me a bag of Skittles and I roll my eyes and open the fridge to see if there’s anything I can cook myself.
“Seriously, Professor,” one of my student’s said. ”Google it later.”
“Nah,” I said. It was a deflated, sad pronunciation I was disappointed not in my students, but the knowledge that I’m so old that I can not care about things with a righteous passion of a priest talking about how old a church is.
This might get confusing, so I created a pie chart!
50% of my brain power goes to me. That’s stuff like when I have to go to the bathroom, what I want to wear for the day, do I need new shoes and basic narcissistic thoughts that every narcissist deals with. 20% goes to friends and family. 10% go to my job. Another 10% goes to the making, thinking and drinking of coffee. This is down by 10%. 5% goes to the horrible concept that one die I’ll die. 4% goes to politics, also down by 10%. Finally, 1% of the stuff I care about has to do with what other people are interested in. This is 100% more precent than what it was a few years ago, where it was “Zero.”
Caring about what people are interested in could take up most of my day. Staying contemporary, staying sharp and engaged, used to be a major concern for me. That changed almost at the exact moment that I found my first grey hair. Why should I spend even a few seconds understanding and comprehending Honey Boo-Boo when two truths are obvious: The first truth is that Honey Boo-Boo isn’t affecting my life at all, either positive or negative. The second truth is that Honey Boo-Boo won’t be relevant in a certain amount of time. Either a month or a year, no one will care. Remember that horrible song, “Call me maybe?” Remember when everyone was talking about it and I made the mistake of watching the video? Remember that? Remember when I started to cry? You know what those tears were for? Those were the tears of mourning. I was crying because I lost about four minutes of my life that I could never, ever get back. Who buries the minutes I wasted watching that video? Who carries the casket? He says the prays? Who will put flowers on those moment’s graves? Who will brush the leaves away and make sure the ivy doesn’t grow on those moment’s tombstones?
Today, some guy planned to jump from something, 22 miles up, skydiving, breaking some records or something, breaking the sound barrier or something, being completely awesome. I couldn’t even take the time to read about it. I used to care. That seems like sixty years ago.