Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Cover of a Book

From the time we're young, we're taught "don't judge a book by its cover." I don't remember, but I imagine our parents are the first ones to teach us this. I suspect a teacher mentions it now and again. Friends probably say it. The question I have, then, is where do we all learn to judge books by their covers?

If we assume that our parents actually lived what they preached, then a reasonable explanation might be simply that it's human nature to look at a guy with long hair, or a girl with tattoos or a shaved head or purple hair, or a person we consider homely, and think ill of them. I think it's more than simply our nature, though. I think society creates expectations of how people should look. If someone is wearing torn up rags, then something must be wrong with them. Along with our nature, this prepares us for a nice long life of judging others.

I have met folks on this trip who wore rags, who had tattoos, who wore their hair in a way different than that in which I wear mine, who come from different cultures and speak different languages, and who have different political and religious views, all of whom were splendid folks. I didn't, however, necessarily think positively about them prior to getting to know them. I glanced at the cover and figured the book must suck.

Well, I've added another item to my to-do list on this trip—quit judging books by their covers. Since I've observed this flaw in myself, I've judged yet more books by their covers. It will be difficult to quit doing it. I don't know why it is so ingrained in my being, but it is. Hopefully, I'll have many more months of meeting books with wacky covers to practice and work my way towards achieving one additional goal before "normal" life begins again—actually, I hope "normal" life never begins again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Write on the blackboard:

"I will not make obvious statements."
"I will not make obvious statements."
"I will not make oblivious statements."


Sometimes you have to judge a book by it's cover. It's such an ingrained process that we have to remind ourselves not to do it without thinking. But self-preservation demands pre-judging all of life. After all, if the girl would have run in the direction of the sign's arrow for "Safety", she would have survived to see the credits roll; instead, she ran in the direction of "Certain Death" and as a result, the cast of "Scary Movie" was one (or more) lighter by the time that "THE END" put in an appearance.

For that matter, can you imagine the mental process that leads one to blow a ten-spot on perhaps less than ninety minutes of so-called "Entertainment" while pretending not to notice that your sneakers are melting in a puddle of Coke syrup on the floor of the not-so-immaculately-clean motion picture theatre?

So anyway, find me a red beanie-cap with a spinning propeller on top; I'm playing Ol' Scratch's Advocate again.

"I will not make oblivious statements."
"I will not make obvious statements."
"I will not mix my metaphors or indulge in Spoonerisms just to be cute."
"I will stop reflecting on the meaning of life in the service of writing wreams of good advice for now..."

Buena Suerte,