I just read on Yahoo News that a lock of John Lennon’s hair sold for $48,000 dollars. It is the Christmas season, so I can’t help but stand in the face of our obsession with excess and indulgence. Most of the time I can manage a passive conversation about it and talk about little thing that we can do, little sacrifices that we can make, to change things in our communities and in the world. But December is different. There is nothing passive about the conversation in this month of bustling consumerism.
Cool People Care is a website that gives simple things to do, tangible actions that you can take to make a difference. Little things; like parking in the spot that isn’t close to the store, or leaving the quarter in the cart when you leave a store that has the pay-per-cart corral; catching the water that you use when waiting for the hot water at the faucet, or passing over that fifty thousand dollar lock of hair purchase that you have been considering while waiting on hold at the telephone auction center.
Some people go without water and electricity, something you have had the opportunity to experience in the last few days, and it is the height of self indulgence to pander to our obsessions in the face of such dramatic need. Nick Muston, one of the auction house directors where the lock of hair was purchased, said of the hairdresser that is selling the items, “She feels that rather than these things being stuck in a drawer with nobody enjoying them, real enthusiasts (could) get their hands on these things.” We wouldn’t want the enthusiasts to go without their paraphernalia, now would we? To suggest that there is something noble in a hairdresser considering the greater good when auctioning off her locks of famous people’s hair so that the enthusiasts don’t have to go without this season is as absurd as suggesting that we love our enemies as we systematically slaughter them throughout an entire region. Nothing noble in either situation.
It is hard to tell someone that they should think twice about buying that 40,000 car, because there are people in the world that need those resources (the money, not the car). A really nice car is hard to argue against, though I do it anyway. But I have no trouble suggesting that we should sacrifice just a little, like locks of hair and funny autographed photos, in the hope that we might start to make the world a better, and safer, place.
Just imagine that. Safety. Peace. Making the world a better place to live. Giving up that extra television set so that we might all enjoy world peace.
Sound familiar? It wasn’t Jesus, or Gandhi, Or Reverend King.
It was John Lennon.