Fads are getting more dangerous
By Jim Thompson
The earliest fad I can remember, along when I was about 7 or 8 years old, was teenage boys wearing very thin black belts with their jeans and with the cuffs rolled up. For you who want to see what this looked like, see “Grease,” a movie made about 20 years after this era.
Down through the years, there have been many fads, mostly fashion related. Want a laugh? Pull out your high school yearbook and look at the hair styles.
Most of these fashion fads were harmless and not dangerous (well, maybe bell bottoms were if they caused you to trip over yourself).
In recent years and decades, however, fads have become more serious, having long-term consequences and sometimes prohibitively expense (in cost and health) to reverse when they are over.
The first one that comes to mind is tattoos. Yes, I understand that this one can be reversed, but it is not without expense and some health risks. In many places, you cannot get tattoos under age 18 without a parent’s permission.
If you are precocious and may someday find yourself on the stage in Stockholm accepting the Nobel Prize in physics, you are going to look pretty ridiculous if you have a tattoo that mimics the one on Mike Tyson’s head. Or maybe not, but do you want to take the chance?
I don’t think we have had a president with a tattoo, yet, although there are several that may have had one left over from their World War II days that we couldn’t see (Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush come to mind) when they were wearing a suit.
You all know what I am building up to here in this column. Gender changing surgery. This is being done at younger and younger ages. There are even adults who think it is their business to protect children from their own parents having a say in this decision. Side question: Who or what is motivating them?
This is a fad, and it is nearly permanent (some aspects of the procedures can never be reversed again).
Decades ago, when I first encountered this phenomenon, I thought it was fairly benign. After all, the first two cases of which I became aware were two older adult men in my own industry – pulp and paper. They were old enough to comprehend the consequences of their decisions. If large, burly old balding papermakers want to do this, who am I to stop them?
Children, and perhaps anyone under 30 or so, are completely different cases. They are susceptible to fads and are not necessarily thinking long term. They may be chagrined to find themselves on the Nobel stage having started down that path as Albert Einstein and ending up as Madam Curie.
Decisions that have long-term, potentially irreversible consequences, need a heavy dose of adult thinking. As a society, we are not protecting our children. After all, it takes a village to raise a child.
Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.