We’re walking on eggshells…

Every family, every office, every team, every organization, basically everything that involves more than seven people has one: The person around whom everyone knows to be very careful.

It could be a general sense of unease that that person is going to lose it for a completely random reason or it’s someone who has a very particular fuse that shouldn’t be lit.

Mind you, all people deserve a bit of leeway, a time in life when they deserve a bit of special handling. For example, it is not wise, kind, appropriate, or humane to go on and on about your new firepit to a person whose home just burned down. And asking a newly-minted college graduate, still clutching his diploma, how he plans to pay off his $132,000 debt incurred getting a philosophy degree (especially since the Hey! Hey! Hegel! intellectual conglomerate just began offshoring jobs) may be needed, but would be too cruelly timed.

In general, any human with even a hint of empathy knows there are lines that should not be crossed—at least not immediately. In no small part, society itself is based on this rational sympathy.

The problem is when this carefulness goes too far, draining vitality from a situation, group, or entire culture. As John Cleese’s character in “A Fish Called Wanda” observed about the English: “We’re stifled by this dread of doing the wrong thing… Saying to someone ‘Do you have children?’ and being told they all burned to death last Wednesday. You see we’re all terrified of embarrassment. That’s why we’re so dead.”

Now, albeit for different reasons, that is the problem that American society currently faces because we are told we must always avoid doing anything that could possibly cause even a hint of potential discomfort. And that discomfort could come from anything, anyone, anywhere, at anytime for any reason, rational or not.

As a nation, we are now all walking on a minefield of eggshells, randomly distributed, each capable of appearing or disappearing at any moment depending upon the whim of the evil Easter Bunnies of Wokeism.

Each one of us has topics or issues that, for whatever reason, rub us the wrong way. And that’s completely normal. But we also know people whose reaction to practically every topic (unless, unsurprisingly, you ask them to talk about themselves) is completely unknowable and, putting the entire group—read: society—off-center, on-edge, askew, and, eventually, utterly exhausted.

And it is these people—the hair-triggered, the self-obsessed to the point that they turn their personal quirks into societal demands, the nearly sociopathic—who seem to be in charge at this moment and are attempting to remake society in their own schizoid image by taking advantage of the exhaustion they have created.

As even venturing to attempt any form of impediment or correction to their overriding sensitivity (including informing people about accurate and actual facts) is verboten, all that’s left is trying to placate these prima donnas. One can only hear “I wanna cookie!” so often before one gives in just to have a moments’ peace. And they know this.

But they also believe it’s not enough because, as self-appointed saviors, not only must society cater to their every whim, it must be done in a way that acknowledges their moral, ethical, and intellectual superiority—we must keep smiling, keep thanking them as we weave our way through the eggshells they strew about.

Since nothing can be challenged without potentially causing some great kerfuffle (or shaming or othering or whatever), the way forward becomes wide open for them. Facts be dammed, humor be banned, flames be fanned, opinions be panned, and hides be tanned—they are all part and parcel of the evolving now and the glorious future, a future always just over the next horizon so the work must never end.

Bleak? Yes, but, unfortunately, it’s true that the wishes of the many do not matter when the few lose their collective mind.

But maybe these past few years have been a cosmic version of the “I’m not touching you!” children’s game/form of torture and we’re all sitting in the backseat of the universe as our sibling repeatedly waves his finger right next to our ear and keeps saying ‘I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!”

And, there’s hope that we are just moments before the moment that little snot-nose gets punched and shuts up, so we can get back to staring out the window, occasionally asking “Are we there yet?”

Thomas Buckley is the former Mayor of Lake Elsinore and a former newspaper reporter. He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at planbuckley@gmail.com. You can read more of his work at https://thomas699.substack.com.

Image: Drama queen and her jester by Katherine Johnson. CC BY 2.0.

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