Reading the tea bags

I’ll admit that BuzzFeed is a guilty pleasure of mine. I mean, as much as I don’t really care about 22 signs you were an 80s kid, I’m probably going to read that article when as I’m looking for a little mindless entertainment to wind down from the day. And it’s kind of too bad the online quiz is making a comeback, because…I can’t stop taking online quizzes.

But I digress.

This morning, I ran across this BuzzFeed list of 18 Holier-Than-Thou Tea Bags That Need To Mind Their Own Business. Here’s my (least) favorite:

I don’t really know what that means. And I don’t really know what it’s trying to suggest – is it bad to feel? I got the distinct impression that social norms would generally say otherwise.

But I don’t really want to debate the merits of what’s printed on a tea bag. What I really want to know is, why is a tea bag trying to tell me what to do with my life?

I’ve wondered this for awhile, actually. I drink a lot of tea, and increasing I’ve noticed tea bags coming with a cryptic little statement hinting at optimism and greater understanding of the universe.

And this phenomenon is surely not solely seen in tea. Everywhere I look are little signs of hope, strength and understanding. Or at least signs that purport to be about those things.

I find myself staring, thinking, trying to understand these sign. Just what do they mean? Are they really advocating for that as the sole way to approach life? Do they realize that as a statement it could be read with a really horrible implication? Is the author so definitive about the statement, that even presented with this worse-case scenario, they’d continue to back their play?

When I was younger, I distinctly remember my sister invoking Darwinian logic while laying into someone wearing a No Fear shirt.

“Fear can be a good thing,” she argued, “I mean…if a predator comes to eat you, you probably want to run.”

That’s not to take away from the valuable of bravery, but the world isn’t nearly so crisply black and white. You can’t simply put “bravery” in a good box and “fear” in a bad. Everything has its time an place.

So as I read these cryptic notes which try, perhaps, to spread “good” feelings, all I can think is really? Is that really good all the time? Really the be all and end all? Is that all there is to it?

Keep your niceties. I don’t think so.

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