Facebook reunited me with an elementary classmate with whom I shared the zenith of second-grade status: our class chose us as PTO prince and princess.
Reading the school’s purple, mimeographed sheet, Mom raised an eyebrow. “You’ll be asking people for money?”
“Yeah!” I held up the bank-like canister accompanying the information. “Let’s take this to church!”
Mom, more interested in heavenly treasure, considered that “honor” highly overrated.
Since then, I’ve discovered many similar, oh-so-desirable positions. The words “officer” and “chairperson” come to mind. Those who assume titles of “assistant” and “coordinator” often wish they could revert to the “secretary” who wasn’t chained to her laptop weekends, fed on bread and water until projects were completed.
Titles aren’t the only foolers. I despise the word “update,” which slows my phone or laptop to slug speed. Afterward, with one correct swipe, I can enlarge bacteria-sized print to readable material. However, with one wrong swipe, I set off interplanetary war — or open the garage doors of every home in Rhode Island.
Updates rarely include explanations. Instead, I’m to follow the wisdom of a long-distance, twisted techno-geek who needs a laugh: “To accelerate your laptop’s update, submerge it in boiling oil.”
However, technology hasn’t cornered the “overrated” market.
Medical insurance companies like updates, too. Many currently demand that slaves — er, customers — achieve 10,000 steps daily, measured per devices akin to ankle bracelets. Five years ago, such behavior would have labeled the customer obsessive-compulsive. Yet now, companies advocating “wellness” raise premiums — and blood pressures — with noncompliance.
What’s next? Will updates demand we smile while jogging?
Other overrated objects, events and activities include:
- Waistbands. These stifle creativity, not to mention oxygen intake. Especially when buttoned.
- Cars whose designs block back-up vision. Instead of lowering their obnoxious rear ends, we install cameras. Cool! (And costly.)
- Milkshakes. As a busy young mom, the only warm food I ate was melted ice cream. Paying perfectly good money for the equivalent seems overrated.
- HGTV. Should we commiserate with people whining about crushed dreams as they shop for $500,000 houses?
- Tattoos. Though tattoos are considered art, ceramics classes are less painful — and less permanent. A generation hence, I look forward to watching parents explain to skeptical teens why Mom and Dad thought this was a great idea.
- Weed whackers. Mine whacks flowers, strips paint, dents siding — and nibbles weeds. Maybe.
- Roundabouts. Carmel, Indiana, where my daughter lives, boasts more than 100, claiming they reduce accidents and gas usage. However, have statisticians counted how many have died of old age while circling within 10 feet of McDonald’s?
- Vacations. While they promote family togetherness, the amount they generate sometimes reaches toxic levels — as do resulting Visa bills afterward.
- Awards. They glitter in the spotlight, but tarnish quickly and eventually end up in the attic or trash can.
Even the long-ago, fourth-grade PTO princess who actually won the crown probably can’t find it.
Soon, the writing award I coveted but didn’t win will fade from memory as well. Like my mother’s, my treasures may prove to be heavenly, rather than earthly.
Thankfully, those can never be overrated.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What everyday trophies have you learned to treasure?