Those Geico caveman commercials were such a success, they made a TV show out of it. Didn’t last very long, but in one particular episode three cavemen friends go into a Fruitberry shop to get frozen yogurt.
Before going in, the one guy who looks like he’s trying too hard to be an intellectual says, “I’m only here to hate the place.” When they get up to the counter, the attractive cavegirl who works there, addresses the intellectual friend and says, “Let’s see, I have you pegged for chai tea with banana and granola.”
Already trying to put him in a category with a label on it.
He replies, “Oh, I appreciate your flirtations, but I’m just here to hate this crap, so what are your worst toppings?”
And she replies, “Oh, you’re that guy.” Still searching for the right label.
“What guy”, he says.
“The guy that hates everything everyone else likes, because it makes him feel superior. So tell me, what’s it like to hate The Beatles?”
Bamm! Labeled. Actually, she’s pretty spot on.
It’s natural to want to profile and slap a label on everyone, but people are so incredibly and individually complicated that it’s not even close to an exact science.
We can come to grand conclusions with very limited information, kind of like one of those standardized personality tests. Sometimes we’re right, but at the same time, mostly wrong. However, doing this helps us to navigate society and interact more effectively, even though the process and information is flawed.
Labeling others is one thing, but things get dodgy when we label ourselves and we’re doing this more and more. “I’m this kind of person and I want the world to recognize and respect that.” “I’m a (fill in the blank) man …” or “I’m a (fill in the blank) woman …”
Why not just be the noun, instead of the adjective? Be human first. When we strive and continue to separate ourselves with the adjectives we use to describe us, we create a wall and a trepidation for others to interact and engage with us. Then we blame people for not liking us, when it’s us who’s making it very f*cking difficult to do so.
But we want to be special, recognized, and treated especially and at the same time, we want to be equal and included. Make up your mind!
It’s not the world’s responsibility to read anyone’s complicated label, just so we can approach and engage accordingly. None of us are that important.
When we put ourselves in a box; when we assign ourselves a label, we define the boundaries of who we are. It’s very self-limiting. In doing so, we separate ourselves from everyone else. “But, I’m an individual!” Yep, we all are; all eight-billion of us.
We’ve overcomplicated ourselves and human engagement, when it’s really very easy. So easy, even a caveman can do it.
Photo courtesy of Geico and ABC