One of the most amazing things about our culture in the United States is how incredibly convenient so many things are for us. We can change the temperature in many homes with the simplest of motions or the press of a few buttons. We have more food in this country than we can possibly eat without becoming morbidly obese, and the variety of foods available is astounding. Most people in the U.S. have cars to get around in, and those cars have so many built-in conveniences like lights that automatically turn off, remote door locks, and alerts for when your oil needs changed that my mind is continually boggled. Also, some doors open for us. Really? We can sit in a comfy chair in the sky on an airplane and watch movies. We have small devices that fit in a pocket…which we use to talk to each other, send text messages, browse the web, edit documents, use GPS navigation, and play games. And I don’t even have space to name all the other thousands of things they can do. Oh, do you need something? Drive to the nearest…computer in your house and order it online. Now that’s convenient. Not sure how you’re going to pay for it? Grab that little piece of plastic with numbers on it and type the numbers in. With all this mounting convenience, we understandably start to expect things to be convenient, and we might even be surprised or upset when they are not as convenient as we might like them to be.
One last thing. We have such a thing as a convenience store. If that doesn’t indicate that our culture has some kind of obsessive relationship with convenience, I don’t know what would. Speaking of relationships, have you ever wondered when exactly relationships were going to become a convenience just like everything else? If so, take a look at the now. Many people in my generation fully expect relationships to be convenient for them, that their relationships will begin at the right time in their lives, that their relationships will be characterized by an instant ease of communication, that they’ll have mind-blowing sex right away, and that their relationships will end conveniently when no longer convenient. We went from courtship to dating to hooking up in pretty short order, and each step of the way things got more…convenient. Relationships are often fast these days. They start quickly, we enjoy them for a short time, and then they’re over just as quickly as they started. And if someone reacts with strong emotion to the fact that we just callously used them, well, they’re probably crazy.
The nice thing about these fast relationships is that we really don’t have to invest ourselves in another person. There’s no need to go to all the inconvenience of having a wedding, or moving in together, or having joint bank accounts. You don’t have to worry about having lots of kids just because you’re having lots of sex. Birth control is pretty convenient, ain’t it? Have you ever thought that if you’re unwilling to invest yourself in another person, you shouldn’t have sex with them and leave them with child and no support? Well, many people in my generation think you’re crazy, too.
And there’s no need to improve your character or behavior, because it is incumbent upon everyone else to accept you for who you are. We’ll reassure you that even though you choose to not work very hard, not take care of your health, and not develop your integrity, there’s still someone out there who will have a relationship with you. After all, it would inconvenient to have to go to the trouble of disciplining yourself into being a person of good habits and good character. We wouldn’t want you to have to grow as a person and treat other people as more than just conveniences that you can dispose of as easily as toilet paper. Do you think that one of the great things about relationships is that they prompt you to change yourself for the better? Well, you must be crazy, because they were told that they are wonderful just the way they are and that they didn’t need to change, and they even believed that load of excrement that isn’t even useful as fertilizer.
But don’t worry, if you’re crazy, we can get you pills to take care of that so you don’t have to deal with all the inconvenience of that whole… reality… thing. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience I may have caused your brain with these words on your brilliantly convenient computer screen.