As I go through life, I’ve noticed I acquire and lose certain filters. And I’m not talking about a coffee maker or a fish tank here. Think more metaphorical. The things happening in your life, be it your job or losing weight or a new hobby, really shape the way you look at the world.
For instance, when I worked at Kinko’s for a year, I got the “Compulsively Identify Fonts” filter. My job was to layout your resume, business cards, or stupid wedding program which inevitably featured “Trumpet Voluntary” or “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Frequently people would request that we recreate an item exactly. This meant you had to learn how to identify fonts.
Within a week of starting my job I couldn’t go anywhere without trying to identify fonts. I’d be driving down the highway and risk a collision because I couldn’t keep my eyes off a billboard trying to figure out what font it was using. I went and saw the musical Ragtime with my mom and spent at least 30 seconds focused on a banner they were using on stage, trying to determine if it used Bodini Poster or Britannic Bold. I couldn’t watch television without randomly yelling out font names and getting withering glares from my family. At the height of my obsession, I could tell the difference between Arial and Helvetica. Needless to say, I was happy when I left that job and stopped yelling out the names of dead font designers like a Tourette’s sufferer.
I temporarily had the “Roll Everything Up in a Ball” filter after playing way too much Katamari Damacy, a video game where you roll up lots of stuff in a ball. While driving, I’d have a slight urge to run my car into a fence to make my katamari even bigger! Thankfully for me and my insurance company, I resisted the urge.
Since I’ve started losing weight, I’ve acquired the “You’re Actually Going to Eat that Crap?” filter. At my extended family’s Christmas Eve dinner it got kicked into overdrive at the site of deep friend chicken and potato salad slathered in mayonnaise, which I seriously doubt was low-fat. This filter is kind of judgmental, but I can’t help it. I can’t look at a Papa John’s pizza the same way I did over a year ago. Before I would have thought “Yum!” and now I think “Yum! But damn that’s full of grease and will make me want to take a nap later.”
Unlike the font filter or the Katamari Damacy filter, I think this is a good filter to have. It keeps my eating in check. Of course, if I were to ignore it for too long it would probably fade away just like my other filters. It also makes me painfully aware of how poorly people in our society eat. And to think, I used to be one of them!