Let’s Hash It Out

By Anna Mitchael


What’s great about having a baby is that if you poke them in just the right place, they will usually — not always guaranteed, but usually — scream bloody murder. In the parenting world this is what’s known as a “back-pocket trick,” meaning we keep it in our back pockets in case of extreme emergency or when we want everyone to let us off the airplane first. There’s a pacifier in that back pocket, too. And also a bullhorn.

Normally, I work hard to keep my baby happy and peaceful. But he and I have an agreement that if we are in public and I get into a conversation with someone who says “hashtag” anything, then I have his explicit permission to poke him in his scream spot.

My baby is very anti speaking in hashtag. As he should be! Because you’ve heard someone do this, right? You’ve been mid-conversation with a person about something regular, like the weather, when all of a sudden this person, who you previously had every reason to enjoy — and maybe even consider a friend — will say something like, “Hashtag #whereistherain.” (In case you don’t speak or read hashtag, that translates to, “Geez, I hope we aren’t in another drought!”)

And then your only options, obviously, are either to a) immediately end the conversation and possibly the friendship by abruptly walking away, b) explain to the person that people who talk in hashtags are like people who wore MC Hammer pants in the ‘80s, and that all of them eventually look back on those parts of their lives with profound regret and humiliation, or c) if you have a baby, use your pointer finger and poke the cutey pie in his scream spot.

If you choose option C, be prepared because nosy bystanders will probably give you an array of condescending looks they hope will shame you into being a better parent. A good remedy is to calmly explain to the bystanders that they have nothing to worry about because in a couple of minutes, you’re going to give the baby an extra large chocolate bar to suck on, and that always calms him down. If they don’t understand that rationale, maybe the problem is that they can’t hear you, at which point you can pull out the bullhorn.

To say conversational hashtags are troubling is putting it lightly. But as we all know life is made up of yin and yang, so where there is a soul-draining negative, if you look hard enough, you can usually find something positive to balance it out.

Even though the internet has encouraged millions of people to use hashtags in regular conversation, the internet has also given us online bathing suit shopping. And online bathing suit shopping is a magical, wonderful thing. It might be the best thing to happen to the world since someone put hard cheese in a bowl, warmed it up and called it queso. When you shop for a bathing suit online you don’t have to go into stores, which are known to have cellulite-seeking lights as well as mirrors that really should have messages printed along the bottom that say, “Thighs in mirror are smaller than they appear.”

And the best part is that when you buy a bathing suit online, you have a while before you actually have to put the suit on your body. If you choose one in the store, the mental image of your thighs, which have been hidden in jeans all winter, will immediately be imprinted in your brain. But online purchases usually take three to five days before they arrive on your doorstep, which gives you plenty of time to celebrate the purchase by loading up on some delicious queso.

On that note, I think the summer has great things in store for us all! (Hashtag translation: #internetIforgiveyou.)

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