121130bucketPeople like to categorize each other. It’s easy on the brain. That way, they can use their processing power for more important things – like binging on Breaking Bad.

For example, I’m a white man in my 40s. I went to college. I’m married. I work in marketingand advertising. I have kids. They go to public school. I drive an American car. We have dogs. I like baseball. I vote.

What does the statement tell you about me? Well, for some people (and advertisers) it reveals everything they need to know in order to neatly categorize me. I’m a privileged American male who sits at a desk. I have a family and I’m living the American dream. That’s about it. That’s enough to try and sell me something, or friend me on Facebook.

Except, of course, this is only surface stuff. Easy stuff. Only, the spaces between the buckets are lined with slick, wet moss – and some of those spaces have never seen sunlight. Plus, there are other buckets in the far off corners that, cumulatively, represent me better than the big, obvious ones.

People are more than race, gender, political affiliation, what kind of car they drive, what neighborhood they live in, and who their parents are. But in this age of 3,579 friends, sometimes that’s all boils down to. Because bucketing someone is way easier than actually getting to know them.

Bucketing is convenient and superficial. Real friendships are not.


Jim Mitchem

The First Day
Talking Our Way Out of Syria

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.