I’m so Poplar

Be you…

I recently had to purchase new eyeglasses because I can’t see objects such as tractor trailers in the distance. My driver’s license states that I must wear corrective lens to alleviate this problem.

After my eye exam, I took one look at the frames on the wall and said, “Ew.”

“But these are our most popular frames.” The technician said.

The frames were large enough to be considered an alternative to a goalie mask in the National Hockey League. Maybe that was a slight exaggeration. The eye wear covered half of my face. It felt like wearing a scuba mask. I found the frames too distracting. If my glasses made me dream of coral reefs and sea anemones full of clown fish, how would I focus on traffic?

“What do you have that’s not popular?” I asked.

I had a long history with unconventional. It began with my name. Jacqueline was at its highest ranking in popularity for a girl’s name at # 37. My given name is spelled Jacquelynn. The spelling of my name was not only untrendy, but also non-existent. Unpopularity was chosen for me when my parents didn’t name me Jennifer.

In high school, a certain brand of jeans were the “in” thing. Popularity came with a price tag. The jeans with the horse head were expensive. I owned a pair of jeans with holes in the butt. This was a period in time when it wasn’t popular to show the world your underwear. To keep my underwear under my clothes, I sewed patches in the shape of bunnies, Playboy bunnies, over the rips in my jeans. Why would I blow forty bucks for a chance at popularity when my mom let me walk around with Playboy bunnies on my ass?

Could popularity be a matter of choice? When offered a choice could you pick the favored option and guarantee better social and economic standing and maybe even coolness. Could I choose the conventional and be popular?

Two job choices were presented to me. I could build components for a defense contractor or work at the library. The defense job came with a decent wage, health benefits, and a guided missile full of moral dilemmas. If I didn’t do my job well, I could jeopardize our highly respected service men and women. If I did my job well, I could jeopardize everyone else. The library job paid $2.25 less than the job I left. The benefit package included no fines on overdue books and free coffee.

I never remembered saying “When I grow up, I want to play a part in wars.” What if karma is real? Life is challenging enough without karma kicking your butt too. Why would I chance my immortal soul when I could have free coffee?

Reentering the work force at the library meant my wages were on track with a trainee’s wages in China. In need of a new wardrobe, my purchasing power led me to my sister’s closet. She occasionally purged her unwanted clothes. If clothes were trendy, they’d still have a place in someone’s closet.

I googled popular. Three simple steps to be popular came up.

1) Be confident.

2) Put yourself out there.

3) Find your own style.

Poplar also came up. Poplar is a tree native to the Northern Hemisphere. I came to the conclusion that I’d have a chance at popular if I stood naked and unafraid in the middle of a forest of poplar trees.

I checked the dress code before I accepted the library position. Owl eyeglasses weren’t required. I had four eye glass choices. Five, if I considered finding another eye doctor.

At the library, we sell books that are no longer popular to raise money. War receives more funding than a building full of material to expand knowledge and consciousness. Popular? I may be a weirdo, but I’m a nice weirdo.

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