Aka: The time Ariel lost her mind and ranted about how dumb people are.
Once upon a time, somewhere, at some point, Random Asshole uttered the phrase, “You’re a conformist,” and lives everywhere were forever changed. Or at least made significantly more annoying. After careful consideration during my shower time (which is strangely a place of significant reflection for me) I got so muddled up in the paradox of conformity that it hurt my brain a little and gave me no choice but to write about it. And, yes, provide an appropriately, apathetically, Ariel!Solution.
This all started the other day in a class of mine when we were talking about language and whether or not you change the way you speak when you’re around different people, and whether or not people should be expected to do things like pronounce words differently depending on where they are. That’s really not the point of this post, but my answer in short is sometimes, yes, you should pronounce things differently, or use different terminology depending where you are in direct correlation to how stupid or douchey you sound when you do it. Exhibit A: I had never called a sub sandwich a grinder until I went to college. It was always a hoagie or a sub. But now that I know the word, understand its meaning, I say “grinder” when I’m ordering it from that place on my campus. It makes life for the staff easier, it is what’s on the menu, and I don’t sound affected when I use it. Success!
Anyway, we then got on the topic of applying for jobs and how there’s a certain conformity that goes on when crafting resumes and cover letters. My professor asked us if we thought it was right that there were these kinds of standards. Someone in my class said, “They’re there because people just want to hire mindless drones to take orders. They don’t want people who think for themselves.”
Interesting point person from my class who I couldn’t agree with less, but I disagree. Maybe they just don’t want to hire idiots, or people who didn’t care enough about this job to figure out how to correctly craft an informative resume and an intelligent, succinct cover letter. Without standards in place people would probably write ten page cover letters to try to showcase how perfect they are for a company, instead of simply saying, “These are the skills I have to offer, and based on what the job description says, I think I would be an asset to your company.” It is so fucking easy it brings tears to my eyes. Because if you don’t have the skills and can’t even pretend like you do, why the fuck should you be considered for the job? Why not just hire someone to work as a lawyer who has never studied law a day in his life? His resume may have just listed McDonalds and a brief stint at Sears with a drawing of a penis on the bottom of the page, but at least he wasn’t conforming to your standards of law practice! He should be praised for his individuality (aside from the fact he worked at two huge corporations) and rewarded for being an independent thinker!
Also, what orders should I not be obeying at work? I’m very confused, person from class. Right now I’m an assistant in a PR department, and if my supervisor is like, “Hey write a press release about this…” in what universe would it be beneficial to anyone for me to be like, “I’m an independent thinker, and I refuse to write a press release about the non-native species of frogs currently invading this habitat.” I could see independent thinking being a useful skill if your job was Nazi Party Member. Then it might come in handy. “Oh, hey, maybe killing tons of innocent people is not such a great idea?” But “conforming” to a job that needs to be done is just the SANE thing to do.
You know what is really great? When life is easier. So to bring back what my professor was asking us about changing how we speak to people depending on circumstance, what the fuck ever. Yeah, sometimes it’s annoying to change your vocabulary to suit your audience (the president all the time) or the person you’re talking to (she’s your dumb friend who is fun to party with but thinks that NPR is MPR), sometimes it’s annoying to not be able to talk about how great Buffy is to a non-Buffy fan (all those people should conform to my love for this show or suffer DEATH!), but suck it up. It’s also annoying to wash dirty dishes or take off your makeup before bed, but it just makes life easier and better. But I guess that just makes me a conformist.
Hey, I’m tired of people telling me that getting sunburned causes skin cancer. I’M NOT GOING TO CONFORM AND WEAR SUNTAN LOTION LIKE OTHER PEOPLE! Hey, I’m tired of people telling me I need “food” to survive. How dare they insist I conform and eat like every other human. It’s so common. Hey, conforming to religion is bad, you should be atheist like me! Hey, if you think gay marriage is cool you are conforming to an evil way of thinking, come conform to my good way of thinking and ban it!
There is no way to stop “conforming” at least in some way. And who in god’s name cares if we are in “the system” and can never truly be individuals (what the fuck does being a true individual even look like. It’s probably the man who has puppets and sings outside the Primark near me.) Okay, give me your proposed solution, but make sure it’s not something that we can conform to.
“Oh, well, if everyone could do whatever they wanted to do all the time, no one would be conforming!”
“That’s a great idea, you’ve conformed me.”
“Don’t you mean converted.”
“I refuse to conform to your word choice.”
The Ariel!Solution is to not give a fuck and to appreciate what “conforming” has given me. I have food, shelter, Buffy, a job I like, a blog in which I can post rants that probably won’t affect my future employment because it’s all about how I’m a great employee because I take the time to give a shit about what I do and the quality of my work, and I have a dog that is really fucking adorable. So please, kindly stop whining about conforming, acknowledge that all creatures on this planet conform in some way or another, and go do whatever the hell it is you want if it’s not watching Buffy go to hell.