Friday, July 04, 2008

Josh’s Guide to being a Contrarian

It’s wayyyy too easy to be a sheep. When everybody likes something, it’s no skin off your back to like that same thing. It helps you to fit in, promotes friendships and gives you something to talk about around the water cooler in the morning. And there’s nothing people like better than to go with the flow and to be told what to like and how to think.

But where’s the fun in that?

I like to go my own way. Some people call it following the beat of a different drummer, being a free spirit or being a dumbass. And in a way, those people are right. It’s not fun or easy to go with a group of people to the movies and they all want to see Adam Sandler Slobs His Own Knob IV and you want to see Esoteric Movie. But in the end, it’s worth it to define who you are as a person, what you like and how people should shop for you on your birthday and all major (and minor) holidays.

I’m here to teach you (not you actually, the person reading just behind your right shoulder. BOO!*) how to be a contrarian. When everybody goes right, you’ll go left. When all your friends jump off a cliff, you’ll be the person hanging out at the bottom to rifle through their pockets when their bodies hit the ground.

Being a contrarian isn’t as hard as people think. In fact, we’ve all got a little bit of contrarian inside of us already, but we often go with the crowd because it’s what all the cool kids are doing. You might all be having a conversation about, say, how great and responsible it is to “go green.” Spouting sentences with words like “carbon footprint” “hydrocarbons” bio-diesel’ and “global warming.” Meanwhile, in your head, you’re saying this conversation is both lame and tiresome, I can’t wait until I can get out of here and fart up a storm. Methane be damned! Or something along those lines. That’s already one step toward being a contrarian. The next step is simply to voice your opinion.

You’re probably saying to yourself “but I can’t voice an opinion that goes again the majority, Josh! I’ll set myself apart as a pariah!” (unless you’re vocabulary isn’t as good, in which case you’ll probably use a simpler word, like loser.) To fix that, simply give your opinion with a hint of humor. Perhaps tell it in joke form.

Bob: Hey Deacon, I’m about to go to the rally in front of that gas-spewing factory down the road. Join me and we can make a difference and bring joy and happiness to the lives of countless small woodland creatures! It’s great karma.

Deacon: Would love to join you Bob, but I have to go suffocate on the gas fumes of my environmental-friendly car in the garage. Toodles!

See? Now Bob knows how Deacon feels and they both get to enjoy a good chuckle before going off to do whatever it is fictional people do.
But you don’t have to be so dramatic with your opinions. Start simple. Just take current pop culture and go in the opposite direction. Here are some topics to be a contrarian about.

Reality Television
Michael Jackson
The price of oil
Leg hair on women
Eating pets
Legalizing marriages for people under the age of 14
Calling Asian people “Orientals”
Drinking during pregnancies
Shooting the homeless for fun or sport
How terrible Eighty-Four Glyde is

I put those topics in increasing order of contrarianism. The last one was just to see if you were paying attention, (Eighty-Four Glyde isn’t terrible in the slightest). Some things are just too easy to be a contrarian about. In fact, in some areas, it’s in vogue to go against the flow with such topics as the government, the war, Bush, Tila Tequila, religion, legalizing weed and same sex marriages. Stay away from those topics!

With the simple tips I gave you, (or forgot to give you, whichever it is) you can go out and enjoy a new world of freedom in voicing your opinion, regardless of the topic. Become a contrarian jerk around all your friends! They’ll like you better for it, trust me.

Remember, the key to being a contrarian is to state your own opinion, regardless of how different it is from those around you. In fact, especially if it's different from those around you. Who knows? You may be seen as a free spirit or a dumbass, but you'll definitely be seen as unique.
Ain't nothin' wrong with that.

*Now that’s what I call scary writing!

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