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By Chris WAre

(warning: when reading please piece together information into a cohesive argument, I was not able to but its in there somewhere)

How are you seen in the eyes of others? Can people look at you and see that your one passion in life is music? Do they think what a weirdo? Or do they say, "that kid is hardcore/emo/indie." Do they say, "hey that kid is active." Or do you hear, "slacker." Do you know? Do you want to know? Do you think you already know?

It has come to my attention lately that America is a country of hasty judgement. I know that I should have learned this in middle school when I was wearing my backpack over one shoulder, rolling up my pants, and pushing down my socks all to fit in. I suppose recently Iíve had the "I donít give a crap what you think attitude." But then I look at myself and think is that really true. I mean there are probably some bands I might not tell my friends I listen to because itís not cool. I donít deny it but I shamefully hide it. But there are other things besides appearance that make people judge you.

The incident that sparked this article happened Mon. Feb. 8, 1999 at approximately 2:00 PM. Iím rushing out of class to make the MARTA train so I can make the early bus. If not, I sit around for 40 minutes at the stop. Anyway, as Iím hurrying towards the station I bump into a girl. I didnít knock her down or anything. My bookbag hit hers and maybe jostled it a bit. So I say Iím sorry and continue hurrying by. She feels the need to yell at me, "excuse you." So I turn and say sorry again as a hurry off. For some reason this does not satisfy the girl and she now feels compelled to throw something at me. It hits me in the back of the neck, I think it was a french fry. Seeing that all she wants is confrontation I keep walking and am soon way ahead of her. For some reason though I feel really badly. Like someone I respected just said, "Iím really disappointed in you." I wanted to find the girl and say, "I was in a hurry, you and your friend were taking up 2/3 of the sidewalk and I thought I could get by. I didnít mean to bump into your bookbag. Iím sorry." But I know rational explanations are not going to work with this person even if I could find her. Do you know why? Its simple, sheís already judged me. In her eyes Iím some lunatic speed walker that felt the need to bump into her just to piss her off. Iím not the guy that drove all the way back to the store to return a ring because it fell off the hand of the girl who bagged my groceries. Iím not a person capable of a good deed or a reason to be alive. She has judged me and thatís the way Iíll forever be in her eyes. "You only get one first impression." This phrase is even more relevant these days.

As our culture is constantly driven even more and more towards commercialism, what you wear and how you look define oneís place in society. It is really sad to think that the poor man will never be as good as you because he canít afford Tommy Hilfiger, FUBU, Nikeís or any of the other brands that define our social status. Look around at your friends. Does it not surprise you that you are all wearing approximately the same things? I know youíre wondering where the hell all of this is going. I am too. I met some of my best friends in high school because of what I wore. But Iíve since learned that it is just about the single worst way to meet people.

I see lots of people at shows that seem bewildered. The reason is because they must go alone. Think about it. Youíre standing in a room full of people that all seem to know each other. You think that you stick out like a sore thumb even though you fit in perfectly. Youíre all there for the music. Or at least you should be. Think about this kid and his first impression when you stand up and say anybody that eats meat is a murderer, all kids that do drugs, smokes, or drinks is not welcome, and anything else that is a judgment. People do not like to be put down constantly. You may have been able to make a difference in this personís life but instead you criticized and drove her/him away.

Think about it. Weíre all growing up and as we do, learn not to judge people hastily. Youíll end up with a lot of enemies and no friends. Listen to peopleís ideas and beliefs before you chastise them. It can only broaden your horizons, your friend base, and your knowledge.