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THE SHELL GAME

A call to arms in a "shallow sea"

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Put on your smile, or at least a smirk. Cock your hips and tilt your head to show off your attitude. Laugh at that joke, even though you know it's mean or just dumb. Better yet, smile broadly when you feel nothing at all because if you're living as a shell, it better be a shiny one. No wait, maybe you should put on a grander mask. Cry and bellow when a person snickers at you. Draw attention! Let your tears be glitter. Let them add true sparkle to your shell. And for God's sake, take everything seriously. Because, if one person starts laughing, well then maybe someone will notice your mask is just a mask, and your shining shell has no life in it. Without that shell, that mask, where would you be; what would you be? Yep, that's right, you'd be nothing, and then you might have to start working at being something. No fun!

Walk by the other shells. Smile blankly at their blank smiles. And weep vacantly on their styrofoam shoulders. Watch the news. See people starving in third world countries. Ignore it, because what good does it do you knowing that many people suffer real pain?

Indifference comes from looking inside and seeing nothing, and looking at others and seeing yourself. But what does that really matter anyway? Yeah, you have more important things to worry about. You need to make sure everybody likes you. It is an achievement to act like everybody else and get liked by everybody else. It takes a complete lack of individuality. Bravo!

Who needs individuals now anyway? Really, this is the perfect time to conform. It's not like the world is heating up or wars are taking place that could affect you in your lifetime. I mean come on; there is no threat of nuclear attack. Our rights as Americans are not being threatened by the government. Politicians are not corrupt. Oh, and the world is made of fairy dust.

What you should do is go home and listen to some music. Turn that soulless Top-40 stuff up so you can sing along with the good ole "I heart you" stuff that plays, nonstop, for your listening pleasure. And after that, you should watch a reality show about some guy who dates 20 chicks at once to see which one he'd like to date a little bit longer. Call your buddies and reminisce over the day's events and how stupid that one girl's outfit was. I mean, really, did you see that skirt she wore with those boots? It was so different. It was like she was trying to be unique or possibly even herself. Disgusting. Then you should flip through Cosmo Girl and figure out what you need to do to be less ugly. Don't worry, you don't have to improve your personality or flawed traits, just put on some pink lip gloss and you're a brand new person!

While you're doing that, I plan on living, moving forward, changing and learning. I research. I watch the news. I further myself toward a career that will provide information, not to the general public (which is you), but to individuals who will take this information and utilize it. I will be part of a movement that moves and breathes and fights for something. I don't want to sit and watch the world melt. I don't want my rights as a United States citizen to slip away. I will use my voice to actually speak and ask questions. I will not be content.

But please, don't mind me. Sit in front of your television. Eat your low-carb diets. Laugh at those jokes that you don't quite understand. And please, fade away and retreat behind your mask and into your shell, because we don't need you.

Erin L. Fenner is an Idaho City high school student

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