Sunday, August 10, 2008

Team Edward or Team Jacob? Meh.

Published August 10, 2008
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

Last weekend, I ventured out late at night with my husband and oldest child to our nearest Wal Mart for a few last-minute hiking supplies. As we walked through the parking lot toward the entrance of the store, we saw a peculiar sight. A long line extended from an emergency fire door on the front of the building, and more people (read: women) were hurrying across the parking lot to take their places in it. My husband and son looked at me inquiringly.

Breaking Dawn,” I said with a sigh.

Ladies and gentlemen, but mostly ladies, I have just described a “craze event.” The Wal Mart campers and line holders were waiting in line for the midnight release of the next book in the Twilight series. Does anyone else find it funny that a book with that title was released late at night? I’m sure most of the women there began reading on the drive home and had their books finished by the time dawn actually broke.

I’ve learned through countless experiences that I have a knee-jerk reaction to anything I consider a craze. Ever since my sisters went wild for the New Kids on the Block (along with every other teenage girl in the nation) I have avoided crazes, trends, and fads like rapidly spreading super plagues.

The content of the craze is immaterial. It’s the craze that bothers me. I actually enjoyed the music of NKOTB for all of one day…really, one afternoon. Then I saw how much my sisters liked them. My sisters…my fad testers. Like taste testers ingesting poison for a king, my sisters sniffed out the trends I ultimately avoided. When the high-pitched screaming and the giddy jumping up and down occurred, I knew it was time to steer clear. (This would be the point at which my sisters tell you I never missed a showing of their behind the scenes concert video or that I thought Jonathan was the most good looking or that I consented to perform a dance with my sisters to the NKOTB song “Hangin’ Tough” in order to earn entrance into a party of their older friends.)

The above behavior notwithstanding, I have done everything I can to avoid a craze as long as possible before I even think about giving in. I don’t do Bunco. I don’t do playgroups. I don’t shop “day after holiday” sales. I don’t race down to the local bead store so I can make all my jewelry. The fact that there are stores just for beads makes my head hurt.

Obviously, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with avoiding the craze mentality. I firmly believe that someday my standoffishness will keep me from being killed in a freak Wal Mart campout accident. The problem happens when my refusal to join the crowd keeps me from something enjoyable and completely worthwhile. It took me years to come around to the Harry Potter phenomenon, and I’m still kicking myself for my delay.

Add to that the fact that the women I know who are going crazy over Breaking Dawn (to the point of rereading the previous three books in one day in order to be ready for the latest installment) are not actually crazy at all. They’re friends I respect and admire and whose opinions mean the world to me. They’re friends who have it together, know what they want in life and get it. They’re friends who are offering to mail me their copies of Twilight tomorrow if I just say the word.

(Someday, people will figure out I only avoid crazes to get stuff for free, but until then, I’ll keep enjoying the benefits.)