What do 2023 trends say about us? (That we’re weird, mainly.)

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The world has gotten really weird during the COVID era. Don’t believe me? Consider these three current trends, and then tell me we’re not a deeply odd species.

I’m not talking about GOATS (‘greatest of all time’), the term people use to describe someone who is the best in their field. I’m talking about the cute petting zoo animal, the one that consumes garbage, yet is allegedly a picky eater. (Sensitive lips. Who knew?) The one experts say makes *“wonderful manure.” 

I have sobering news. We took our eyes off goats for a minute, and this happened.  

You guys! Goats got JACKED, and strangely, no one seems to know **how it happened. 

I don’t have an issue with goats living their best lives, even if they are drawn to extreme fitness regimes, but there is something about this trend that worries me. What about the milk, I keep wondering. Sixty-five percent of the world’s population drinks goat milk, which means a lot of goats need to be milked, but who wants to milk a goat that’s built like Jason Momoa? Especially since that process starts with, “trapping the milk in the teat!” 

I want to be very clear about this: If you want a goat milk latte, you must first trap the milk in a Momoa Goat’s™ teat. That sounds very challenging, even for ***those who make wonderful manure. 

Fortunately, I have an idea of how we can resolve the goat crisis. (By the way, that is a sentence I never anticipated writing in my lifetime.) It starts with helping Momoa Goats™ channel their energy. Basically, we need them in a zen state, so they don’t freak out when milk is being trapped in their teats, and…

You know what? I was going to talk about my idea that Momoa Goats™ could be employed as security guards for celebrities, but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by all this talk about teat trapping, so I’m going to stop here and move on to the next trend. 

*That didn’t sound like a meaningful compliment until I asked myself this: Do I know anyone who has received such praise? The answer is no. That being said, however, I also wonder who would admit to receiving that particular compliment, since they might also be asked to describe the circumstance that inspired it.

**Cross Fit.

***I’m not sure why, but I feel like those people wouldn’t back away from challenges involving huge goats.

Flower beards aren’t new. They’ve been around since the 1960s, and right now, they’re having a kind of renaissance, which, frankly, I find as confusing as the goat situation. That doesn’t mean I have a problem with flower beards, though. I actually feel the same way about dudes who bedazzle their man scruff as I do about goats who do Cross Fit: You do you, kids! (Get it?) 

Cultivating a flower beard does seem challenging, though, so I’ve compiled some gardening best practices and updated them for flower beards. If you’re interested in growing one but don’t know where to start, simply follow these tips.

  1. Work a layer of soil into the beard. Soften it with water.
  1. Add 2-3 inches of compost to the beard soil and turn it into a bed. (This, in my opinion, is the ‘point of no return’ in flower bearding. If chin compost is not your thing, you need to put your shovel aside and shave.)
  1. Cover the compost bed with a thick layer of mulch to keep seeds from germinating. (The horror of a flower beard that’s been overrun with weeds is a topic for another post, but trust me, you do not want beard weeds.)
  1. If you encounter earthworms in your flower beard, do not panic. They are ‘nature’s plows’ and will loosen your beard soil by tunneling into it. In the process, they will create nutritious substrate. You hear me? Nutritious substrate! 
  1. Finally, to keep pests away, you’ll need to regularly spray some sort of bug repellant onto your flower beard. Apple cider vinegar is always effective. Garlic spray works, too. 

An important note: Flower beards aren’t merely lovely to look at, they also offer public service opportunities. That’s right, gentlemen. Charity no longer begins at home; it begins in your beard. For example, you might consider establishing a honeybee sanctuary amongst your scruff. Or, if your muttonchops are particularly lush, their ecosystem could perhaps sustain a nesting platform for eagles. (I know that sounds complicated, but don’t worry. It’s just a square-ish platform that’s built on pressure-treated boards that provide drainage for rain and snow.)

Full disclosure: I’m just spitballing here. You’ll obviously need to talk to public officials before housing bees and eagles in your flower beard. And – word of advice – consult your attorney about protecting your flower beard from eminent domain action by the government.

Virtual reality technology is that thing where you attach a screen to your face, and it makes you feel like you’re in another environment. Think of the Matrix movies or the holodeck from Star Trek. VR is most popular in video games, but its uses have increased exponentially in the last few years. For example, doctors use it to practice surgery on pretend people (because they can’t scream, I assume). (The pretend people, I mean, not the doctors. Although it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that doctor screaming is a thing.) Engineers are now using VR devices to make human organs, pizza, and wall-climbing robots (why, tho??). 

So, VR is a miraculous thing that has improved many aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, an engineer recently ruined everything. “You know what’s missing from all this life-enhancing virtual reality technology” he apparently asked himself. “ODORS!” So now, odors are being added to virtual reality technology. Even worse, they will be generated by something literally called an “Odor Machine.”

Here’s a basic explanation of how the odor machine works: It has four valves connected to a tube. A central fan sucks air into it. With the help of a computer, it provides different mixtures of scents that resemble the smell of real-life items

“The smell of real-life items” is their language, and it does not make me think, “Coco Chanel.” It does, however, make me think “Biffy.” Here’s the thing: You know that statistic about how we supposedly spend a third of our lives sleeping? I feel like a similar calculation can be made about how much time I spend avoiding odors. There are just so many things in this world that I don’t want to smell. Learning that scientists have created a device that will “suck air” into valves and blast out mixtures of “real-life” odors feels like a big step backward to me. 

In closing, I’ll just say this: The VR tech market is expected to grow significantly this year. Coincidentally, scientists announced this week that the Doomsday Clock has moved forward again and is now 90 seconds from midnight. Did the emergence of stink-generating technology play a role?

Looks like we need a Stank Clock to better assess this new era.

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