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how do I become a thing, the latest thing?

June 25, 2016

My partner and I have a rule. If we see the same thing three times in a row, within a day or two of each other, we know it’s a ‘thing’.

We’ve been back in Toronto 24 hours and I’ve already seen three different young women with the tips of their hair dyed green.

It’s a thing.

Then I see a bunch of different girls with purple hair.

Also a thing.

Dying your hair, this summer, green or purple, is a thing.

The same goes for a particular style of boot I’ve seen on at least a 1/2 dozen young women. It’s an ankle-high boot with a thick 2″ heal.

It’s the latest thing.

This summer’s thing.

Things are a thing for a while, then they aren’t a thing anymore.

Remember when Auggs were a thing? Every young woman just had to have them. Absolutely must have them. Would die if they didn’t have them.

Now they’re not a thing anymore.

I saw a middle-school girl in Auggs the other day (back in Vancouver) and I wanted to say to her “they’re not a thing anymore. Now they’re back to being house slippers again, like they used to be.”

My mother-in-law’s great aunt wears them around the house on cold mornings. She loves them.

I wanted to say to the girl “now you’re just being silly, wearing your yesterday things.” But that’s cruel. (And I’m sure her schoolmates have already told her as much.)

Blundstones were a thing with middle class university girls. We had a house party one night and there were 20 pair of them on the floor by our door.

In the kitchen some of them were talking about an “individual in society” course some of them were taking, but I refrained from interjecting.

Starbucks is definitely not a thing anymore. God, remember when it was?

Hipster guys still act like beards are a thing, but they’re not. They like to think they are, but they’re really not.

Craft beer is a thing. Craft beer-making guys with beards like to think they are a thing, but I refer you to my previous comment.

Hoppy beer was all the rage last summer. The year before it was bourbon. Now it’s whisky.

Hand-made hamburgers were a thing, a huge thing, there for a while – there were burger joints popping up all over town when they were a thing – but now most of them have closed. Hamburgers are just food again.

Some-thing is a thing right now in downtown New York, or in the heart of Brooklyn that will be a thing here in Toronto in the fall. (Brooklyn itself was a thing, a super thing, a King of Things – but Queen’s apparently is now the meta-thing, the uber thing. Brooklyn is now just gentrified – which is the worst thing that can happen to a thing.)

Whatever that thing is, it will have stopped being a thing in Brooklyn long before it starts being a thing in places like Winnipeg, or Saskatoon.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a hugely successful book on how things become a thing in modern culture – the book, and Gladwell, were themselves a thing for a while – and when I read it, it made a certain amount of sense about how things become things – initiators, connectors, distributors of the thing – but I’ve forgotten most of it now, and on the streets it still seems pretty murky to me how some thing becomes a thing, and how the herd takes it on as it’s icon-of-the-moment.

I do know however that a thing’s talisman power is fleeting, that what’s a thing today won’t last through a season, perhaps not even until next week.

The change, the novel, the monotony of the ever-new, our endless need for novelty, the movements of the herd, hipster, cutting edge, difference of sameness, the need to be accepted, addiction.

Call it what you will.

Give it an edgy name.

Re-invent the wheel.

Make it a thing.

A new thing.

Today’s latest.

The Thing.


One Comment leave one →
  1. June 25, 2016 2:51 pm

    Perfect wry tone. Loved “the worst thing that can happen is a when a thing gets gentrified” or something to that effect. The thing’s the thing, and that’s the thing.

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