April 22 – Fads – Oh what humans do!

       “What’s that?” 
       “It’s a hula hoop.”  The Geezer looked at the ring that looked like a piece of hose with its ends connected.  It was one of the things he was evaluating as he went through “stuff” stored under the house.
        “A what?”  I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly.
        “A hula hoop.”  Geezer tossed the item in the discard pile.
        “That’s what I thought you said.”  The plastic didn’t have anywhere to slip on a grass skirt.  “What on earth do you use that for?  Did you use it to learn the hula?”
        The old boy shook his head and chuckled.  “Nope, I didn’t.  It wasn’t used to teach people the hula.  Well, not exactly.  Maybe, kinda.”  His antique brain rebelled, but finally functioned.  “It was a craze, a fad.  Those things are hard to describe rationally.”
       I cocked my head to the side and lifted my lashes, asking the question without muttering a woof.
       “Okay, a fad or craze is something humans do because everyone else is.  A lot of the time people do it without its making a whole lot of sense.”  The Geezer pointed to the “hoop” lying on the concrete.  “That thing is a good example.”
       “I’ll bite.  What do you do with it?”
       “Well, the idea was to slip the hula hoop over your head, hold it at your waist, then rotate your hips, to keep the thing from falling to the floor.”
       I waited for the rest of the explanation, but none was forth-coming.  “And then what?” I prompted.
       “You just tried to keep it up as long as you could.”  The Geezer nudged the plastic circle with his toe.
       “That’s it?”  The more you learn about humans the smarter posts become.
       “Ahhh, let’s see.  Sometimes people would get together and have contests to see who could keep their hoop from falling for the longest time.”  The Geezer looked sheepish.  “Sounds stupid doesn’t it?”
       “You said it, I didn’t.  Do humans do many things like that?”  I asked.
       “Yes, Sandy, I’m afraid so.”  He lumbered over to another box and held up a pair of shoes as though they were a soiled diaper.  The clod hoppers had 3″ thick heels, 2″ thick soles, and a bulbous toe that looked like part of a clown’s outfit.  “These were in fashion several years ago.  Fashions that men and women wear are fads most of the time.  I used to wear those things but hated them.  They were uncomfortable and I kept turning my ankles.” 
       “Then why did you wear the damned things?”  I’d always believed my buddy was smart, but…
       “I was younger and effected by peer pressure.  I wouldn’t do that today.  You get a little wiser as you get older.”
       “I’m glad to hear that.  Say, Geezer I’d sure like to see how you did that hula hoop thing.  Can you demonstrate?”  I could visualize it, but I wanted to see if it was funny as I thought it might be.
       He frowned.  “I don’t know Sandy.”
       I gave him my most admiring innocent look.  “Please, Geezer.  I’d really love for you to show me.  Please…please.”
       The Geezer sighed and grunted, “Okay.”  He surveyed his surroundings, moved a few fragile items out of the path of possible destruction, and picked up the hoop.  “Well, here goes,” he said.
       He lifted the plastic circle over his head and eased it down to his waist line.  Check that– to the place his waist line should be.  He began moving his body in a circular motion.  He reminded me of a drunken elephant looking for a peanut.  Geezer finally launched the hula hoop with his hands trying to get it spinning around his middle.  In spite of his gyrations, the hoop dropped to the floor in a screw-like motion.  He muttered, “Shit!” picked the plastic pipe up and readied himself for another attempt.  This time he really cranked up his old bod, flinging his torso, hips, and legs around like a walrus on steroids.  He spun the hoop with mighty hand shove and behold; the hula hoop clung to his gut as it rotated around him.  Either he took more space to wiggle like a pig infected with Saint Vitus Dance than he anticipated or simply misjudged his diameter of operations from its beginnings, because three items he was evaluating became thrash when his hula hoop becamea wrecking ball.  A vase and a candy dish are now glass shards and a clock has cookoo-ed its last.  I thought I could hear the song, “The Baby Elephant Walk” playing somewhere.  I couldn’t help but laugh…and so did the Geezer.
       I said, “Tell me that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever bought.”
       The old boy chuckled and started fumbling around in one of the cartons.  “Wait until I show you my pet rock.”
       “Is there anything else that you’ve done as futile and pointless as engaging in these fads?”  I’d thought reached the bottom of the human barrel.
       The Geezer never hesitated.  “Yes, I recently voted for President.”



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