You Probably Think This Blog is About You

Okay, regarding the title, before you start with the "No way it's me, I don't know you; ergo, how could you possibly be writing about me?!" line, give me a sec. And yeah, I get that you're also thinking you don't even use the word "ergo" as it sounds pompous and woefully outdated (so, uh-huh, I know that about you). Could be you don't recall we'd bumped into each other at a function some time back or that we've never met but have friends in common who've mentioned you to me in conversation. Maybe we were classmates back in high school or college or neighbors or worked for the same company briefly a long time ago so you don't remember. Still doesn't makes sense to you, right? If this really is about you you're pretty sure you'd have gotten wind of it beforehand. Why would I write a piece about you in a public forum and not give you a heads up?

Then again, maybe you realize you do know me and that, yes, we were friends or are still friends. Maybe we just talked on the phone the other day (and I didn't give you a heads up?) or played golf together pretty regularly at one time. Maybe we had a falling out or one of us moved or we just kinda grew apart. Could be you're an actual family member, a close one at that. Or you're a cousin who I'd spend time with during summer vacations when we were just kids. Never know, you could be my doctor or dentist, my mechanic or my hair stylist. Or even the person behind the deli counter at my local food market who seems just a tad off but is always in a spectacular mood no matter what.

So the good news is we're through two solid paragraphs and all of you are still in the mix; no one's been ruled out. Be it older, younger, male or female, a real friend, an acquaintance, a family member or just a Six Degrees of Separation game I'm in the midst of, you're all still contenders. So far, when I say "you" I could actually be talking about you. Unless, of course, you frequently use the word "ergo" then, yeah, this isn't about your pompous, outdated self at all. And, if I'm being honest, I am curious as to your reaction thus far. Are you flush with anticipation over what I'm about to reveal to the readers about you? Is it exciting to realize someone else feels you deserve to be highlighted? Does part of you dare to think, "It's about time I got my due recognition!" If you were suddenly whisked back in time to an old TV game show would the announcer be whispering, "And the password is... vanity"?

Ahhh, so that's what's going on here. Suddenly "vanity" is front and center. Wouldn't think it's too much of a surprise as it's been a fixation in our culture for some time now. Not that it wasn't always there lurking in the shadows, hiding in the weeds (Narcissus could've told you... if he hadn't drowned). The fact is vanity has been marching inexorably towards its present day crazed popularity since the beginning, starting with early man painting pictures of himself on cave walls, onto rulers creating their likenesses on huge statues for the masses along with their epic stories of conquests depicted on the printed page. Vanity, "excessive pride in or admiration of one's own appearance or achievements", pressed on for those having been born into privilege but it wasn't until later on that we, the people, had our day.

Enter the early 1800s with the invention of photography and suddenly ordinary man's image could be captured and disseminated for all to see. People flocked to professional photographers to have pictures of themselves and their family members taken to be put on their walls and mantels within eyesight of all who enter their home. Fifty years later and photos were making it into the local newspaper ("Honey, look, our kid's picture's in The Times!"). And then, come the 1920s and films were introduced to the public and the movie star was born. And. once again, while that was ideal for the actors as a vehicle to get their vanity on it still didn't do much for the general populace. Not quite yet, anyway.

In the late 1960s Andy Warhol said, "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." When I first heard that it made no sense to me but now, in retrospect, I've gotta give this guy his props; clearly he was psychic. The last step needed in our quest for a "mass vanity love-in" arrived a couple decades ago in the form of social media and once it hit it didn't take long for everyone to realize this was it... the big one!  Be it emails, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok or Instagram (or, daresay, even a blog?) everyone as a whole knew they had the tools that could propel them to fame and fortune. Finally, the Era of the Ego was upon us.  Vanity was untethered, free to reign for eternity (or at least until someone breaks the Internet).

Alright, so now you're wondering what the hell's going on here. "I thought this piece was supposed to be about me?" you demand. "It said so in the title. You rambled on for three solid paragraphs telling me I wasn't ruled out yet. And yeah, by the way I WAS flushed with excitement and I DID think it was time I got my due recognition!!"... Whoa, whoa, calm down, I understand your concern. I can see where you think I kinda went off the rails a bit there but not to worry. The good news?... This IS about you. It always was. And deep down inside I think you realize it too.  After all, "you" are in the title; ergo, it is all about you.