The Edge isn’t really sure when the
symbolic representation of caring
about something became more
important than the actual care. Yet
undeniably, it is a fact of American culture
that such is the case.
Some will recall the popularity of
the nickel or copper POW/MIA
bracelets during the Vietnam
Conflict. Those indicated the wearer
cared about the soldiers. Each
bracelet was engraved with the name
of an American missing in action or taken prisoner.
According to one of the veterans’ organizations,
about 3,000 Americans were either
missing or captured during hostilities. The
bracelet company sold roughly five million
bracelets, originally for $2.50 and later for $3;
nearly $14 million worth of caring!
Late in that conflict, it became Tony Orlandovogue
for families to tie the yellow ribbon when
awaiting the return of a serviceman or woman.
Ribbons and bracelets are popular talismans
for declaring to the world at large that a particular
individual cares about something.
The Edge worries that there may be too much
testosterone in a world that makes big business
from what ostensibly is a child’s pastime. Lance
Armstrong rode a bicycle quickly, something
many six-year-olds master without a lot of fanfare.
He later became the poster child of performance-enhancing drugs. Before he admitted
his chemically enriched prowess on the velocipede,
he’d fought cancer (chemo of course) and
convinced a large group of Americans to dress
themselves with a yellow rubber wristband that
symbolized “live strong.”
Wristbands are popular items sold as indications
of caring. There are websites that can print
any message on any color. For friends who
rhetorically ask for advice, ordering a couple of
dozen blue bands with yellow message asking, “What would Bob do?” seems appropriate.
It’s worth noting that, as a society we appear
to care more about breast cancer than any
other topic. It’s incredibly caring to show concern
for a disease that one can’t contract.
NFL players wearing pink
shoes, add to symbolic caring tokens
that include pink AA batteries, pink
donuts and pink rolling garbage