Since I’ve joined the Facebook community, I’ve noticed just how many sickeningly cute pictures and videos there are of cats. I’m pretty sure the people who were the brain thrust of the internet didn’t have snoring kittens in mind.
If you know me, you know I’ve never been much of a cat lover, but I do admit that kittens have their charm. Those doey eyes, fluffy fur and curious nature are hard to resist…until they’re not cute anymore. Then they just pee on your stuff and shred the corners of your favourite furniture.
Puppies, with their over-sized paws clumsily bound around the house, knocking over kids and plants, and they constantly fall down the stairs – adorable! Then they get big, and they become a smelly, hairy pain in the tush. Then, when they knock stuff over, it’s ‘outdoors, Rover!’
Even Canada’s You Tube export, Justin Bieber was cute at one point. With his wispy hair-do and sickeningly sweet tones. Not any more! Now there’s a petition to have him extradited back to Canada. Somewhere along the line, his irresistible charm tarnished badly.
It’s funny how we view things – there was an ad a while ago, I think for a car company, where they compared a squirrel to a rat. Basically, visually speaking, they look the same, except that the squirrel has a nice big bushy tail. Everyone loves squirrels but hates rats…presumably because of the tail. The fact that rats live in the sewers, spread plague and eat garbage doesn’t help, either.
I don’t remember the car or what they were trying to explain.
I’ve been doing a bit of ‘entrepreneurial’ work lately (that’s a secret code word for ‘a couple hours of work on the internet followed by grass cutting, chatting with neighbours, wandering the aisles of Costco, and napping through home improvement shows’).
Everyone loves to hear about small business success stories. Little Davids out there, taking on the giant, ugly Goliath’s of the business world. ‘”Go get em’!” I’d hear. “What a great idea. I’m sure you’ll make a killing at that”, and so on.
All very rah-rah, and good for the emotional soul. I guess what I keep wondering though, is when does the rah-rah stop, and the web-bashing begin? I mean, it’s not likely that I’ll be an overnight success and suddenly be subject to scrutiny over my hiring or wage practices, but still…
What got me wondering about this, is that recently I heard an argument that although we all love to hate Walmart despite the ironic fact that almost all of us hand over our cash to them every week, they too were a success story. Somewhere back in little Bentonville, Arkansas, at a 5 and Dime store known as ‘Walton’s’, and founded by that kindly-looking country bumkin ‘soon-to-be billionaire’, Sam Walton was a small business owner who had his share of ‘rah-rah’ admirers.
But, like kittens and Justin, something changed. Once they became big, or self-realized, or smug, or whatever, we decided they resembled the rat more than the squirrel. I guess we all like a success story until it’s, well…successful. Huh.
I read a book…well read most of a book called ‘The Tipping Point’. Basically, it was trying to explain that at some point, a trickle becomes a deluge based on a slight change in the fulcrum of the balance of things. I never did get through it, but I think it applies here.
There is a tipping point where children aren’t adorable any more. We still love them and care for them, but they tend to drive us nuts a little more. They tipped.
Maybe that’s what happened to Justin Bieber and Walmart. They were cute and adorable, but the invisible pendulum swung a bit too far the other way, and suddenly weren’t lovable any more. They abused or outgrew their cuteness and suddenly became annoying and ugly.
The success story that got them where they are was also their undoing in the eyes of public opinion. The squirrel’s tail turned into an ugly, skin coloured whip, and we turned away in disgust.
Cute keeps you alive when you’re young – heck, even I was ‘cute-ish’ when I was little, in a freckle faced Ginger sort of way, but when my legs grew longer than my body, and my voice changed, little bits of that rat tail emerged. You can’t count on your adorableness for too long, so you have to adapt.
I guess it means always looking like the squirrel, and not letting your rat tail show. Maybe that’s what all those spin doctors are there for – to try to convince the public that your favourite celebrity or business success story still has a bushy tail.
For me, my self-employment venture is a very long way from ever looking like a rat, but if I’m lucky, a long way down the road, someone will point out that my tail is showing. I’m sure my loving friends and family will ensure I stay ever so humble.
Here’s my shameless plug (while I’m still cute):