Jumping off the bridge


Well, we’ve finally arrived.

I’m calling it. Official status. We’re there.

The point where many people would, before the question could be finished, jump from a bridge because their friends did.

A bit of context might be in order at this point.

Growing up, in my day and before, it was one of the ultimate ways for a parent to explain stupidity to a child. It critiqued follow without thinking actions. It screamed “don’t be an idiot”…

“Would you jump off a bridge if your friends did?”

*** Boom. Mic drop. ***

The only responses for you were: (1) “No.” (2) A defiant offering in the affirmative that you would jump off of a bridge with your friends, which you didn’t really mean but this was an argument with your parents and you most certainly weren’t going to let them win.

And in either case, the reality was, no one would jump off a bridge because their friends did.

For some incredible reason, in recent years it’s become safe to say we’ve reached a point where society is jumping. Jumping to the left. Jumping to the right. Few are questioning why they are jumping. Few are considering the implications of what is going to happen once they jump. No one is pausing to give any consideration to how stupid jumping is to begin with.

The other day I was on Facebook. Person had posted an image that offered a reminder to turn the clocks ahead one hour for the twice-a-year daylight savings adjustment.

Now, many of us that use Facebook chuckle a bit when we see things like this. After all…

    1. Perhaps most importantly (and quickly recognized), the changing of the clocks isn’t this weekend, so the announcement is wrong.
    2. As a secondary error, it’s the fall change—“Spring forward, fall back”—which means the image wasn’t even current since the clock change direction was wrong.

Ok… now let’s clear up a few things. People make mistakes. And, daylight savings efforts can be one of the most ridiculous things to try and remember, especially since about ten years ago we adjusted the dates when the clocks are moved. (Many of us old folks are still a bit off on the idea of a November change.) So, realistically, we can almost forgive a person for messing up the date it would be happening and even the clock direction.

Heck… I have a sister that lives in Australia. With seasons on a different cycle there essentially reversing how she adjusts the clock compared to me, and different dates for the hour adjustment, we can be talking about all sorts of fun in how the hours change.

Plus… technology takes care of a lot of things for us. My phone, computer, television schedule, and even the alarm clock on my nightstand, all change the time automatically.

So being messed up on the clocks changing… no worries. You’re forgiven.

The reason I’m here now results from the comments that go along with Facebook posts. After proclaiming that we shouldn’t forget to adjust our clocks incorrectly on the wrong weekend to do it, someone decided to point out that the clocks didn’t change this week in a reply. The response to that information that explained why the person shared the announcement?

“Someone posted it.”

As I read that, it sunk in… we’ve arrived at the majority deciding to leap before they look. Forget fact-checking, just take it and run. Here was the proof in a simple example.

Person posted incorrect information. Why? Because someone else did.

Sure, many people will tell you there are plenty of moments that can confirm this concept, and that the train arriving in leap-before-looking-station was something that happened long ago. Far enough.

For me though, this was a random and low-key moment. We’re discussing adjusting the clocks and getting it wrong, not something blindingly significant or important. Not some subject where there are a variety of different polls or complicated information to be considered. And yet…

“Someone posted it.”

There it is.

Oops. Shoulder shrug. Move on to share something else, numb to what is and isn’t happening.

We all have people that jump on stages, waving their arms, screaming about crazy scenarios and conspiracy theories. But… when there is something wrong… when the facts don’t line up with the claims…

Shoulder shrug. Not that big a deal. Next item, arms into the air and back onto the stage.

Almost makes me wish we had a real bridge we could use to put this to a better test.

(This essay has been brought to you as a public service announcement. Please check to see if and when the clocks are changed near you, and don’t forget to switch to new batteries in your smoke detectors. And please, stay away from bridges while reading this essay. Thank you.)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com