Dead In Their Tracks
I've been hanging around a lot of older, more seasoned individuals recently, and I've noticed something: they talk about illness a lot. I'm not talking just passing comments here and there; it's one-up-man-ship of the highest caliber. This is a continuous competition. And the playing field is wide open. They don't just talk about their own illness. Anybody who's ever been on the periphery of their radar screen who has had so much as a sniffle is fair game.
I'm curious if they receive an "illness bingo card" with their AARP membership, and once they bring up so many ailments so they earn an illness bingo, they can turn it in for a prize. Or they're just conversationally working themselves up for the inevitable. I'm just speculating, mind you, but this pattern has revealed itself in numerous settings over the past few months. I just can't ignore it.
Since I'm still entrenched in my forties and have plenty of more pleasant conversation topics left in me, I'm scratching my head trying to figure it out. Of course, I still can't understand why American Idol tops more conversations than the economy, or politics, or things we can control and make better.
With office politics, I see this misplaced focus a lot as well. People get really hyper over cubicle space. They get worked up over who had lunch with whom. They fret over who got a bigger raise or who spent more time in the office with the boss. It seems we all have things we like to focus on, and many times, our focus is diverting us from more important and critical issues which we really can impact.
Hang around for the next post. I have some thoughts about this phenomenon.
(Disclaimer: My mother has asked that I state that - while she has plenty of reason to be one of the aforementioned individuals - she does NOT fall in this category.)