Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I think it started with Snuggies. If you have a TV, you know what they are, as the ads still run and when they first came out the ads ran at least once an hour. A Snuggie, for those who have been living under a rock for the past few years, is basically a blanket with sleeves, an unholy marriage of a jacket and a blanket. In certain terms, it’s a fashion statement that tells the world you’ve just tossed in the towel and don’t care anymore. (I’m not worried about offending Snuggie aficionados here. If you actually own a Snuggie, you’re probably not reading this, as reading takes effort. And you, by definition of your Snuggie ownership and/or use, are too lazy to do anything that requires effort.)

Yes, I own a Snuggie. I bought a leopard print one for Lady Laura when they first came out but she's not as lazy as I so she doesn't use it. I inherited it and I love it!

According to the TV ads, you can wear Snuggies while sitting on the couch and eating popcorn. You can wear them while spread out across the couch watching TV. You can wear them while talking on the phone and curled up on the couch. Technically, you can also wear them walking around the house, according to the ads, but it probably doesn’t happen all that often. That’s because a standing-up person wearing a Snuggie looks like some sort of weird but cuddly monk, and they would be made fun of. It’s also because, let’s face it, Snuggies are made for people who never get off the couch.

And that’s why they’ve swept the country. More and more, we’re a nation of folks who park their keesters on the sofa — holding a remote control, a snack in hand and a Big Gulp drink balanced on the arm of the couch — with no intention of going anywhere or doing anything. By virtue of Darwinism — but in reverse — we’re becoming less and less able with each generation. It’s survival of the laziest. That means our children will be qualified to fill just a few positions, the ones that require sitting on a couch and staring off into space. I can think of a talk show guest, a psychiatric patient and maybe an old person in retirement home. (Old folks in retirement houses aren’t likely to be offended, either, because this print is pretty small.)

Around here at least, we’re starting to see ads for on line colleges, where young women in snuggly pajamas chirp out, “I may be in my pajamas, but I’m not going to bed! I’m attending college right now!” I don’t know the name of the school they’re advertising, but that’s probably on purpose. I’m pretty sure that graduates of that school don’t want to brag that they went to school in their pajamas to prospective employers. Their school mascot is probably a potato on a sofa.

The latest step in the “comfying” of America is the most insidious: Pajama Jeans. As the name implies, Pajama Jeans look like jeans, but they are really made out of the stuff used for pajamas. Pajama Jeans seem to be designed for people who don’t want to put the effort into changing from their very comfortable pajamas to their very comfortable jeans, but they still want to go outside. At least, I give them credit for that, but I suspect they’re only going out to stock up on popcorn.

Pajama Jeans even have fake rivets on the pockets, so they look “authentic.” It should be noted that real blue jeans were invented for our hardy American ancestors, who wore them while they were punching cows, sleeping out on the range with a rock for a pillow and digging for gold in the mountains. They wore jeans because they lived tough lives and needed clothes that wouldn’t fall apart in harsh conditions. If they could see what we’ve become, they’d be rolling over in their graves, if they had any. (Few did. Our ancestors were so tough they died out in the open range, where their bodies were eaten, proudly, by vultures and coyotes.)

When I was a kid, science fiction envisioned a future where people wore silver clothes and sped around in little saucers, maybe armed with a ray gun. If this downward evolutionary spiral continues, my sister's grand kids will spend their entire lives wearing footy pajamas and curled up on soft furniture. They will never get up unless they need to refill the popcorn bowl.

If they’re not too lazy, they could visit me at the old folks home — where I’ll be sitting on a couch, wearing Pajama Jeans underneath my Snuggie, while I get an advanced degree without actually moving a muscle.

I hope they bring popcorn.