Ju-Ju . . .

I want to address, head on, one of the great crises of our time. I am not talking about cancer, AIDS, bicyclists who "dope," football players and fake girlfriends, the economy, the housing market, the glut of college graduates with no job prospects and a crushing sense of entitlement, the twists and turns of Downton Abbey, or even the ongoing concerns over the shortcomings of the Arab Spring.

Nope. I want to address a REAL crisis here, folks. One that you and me (well you, mainly - I'm already doing my part) can actually address. Perhaps, collaboratively, we can even END this crisis. The crisis of JUJU!

I know, I know. I need to calm down. Be less aggressive. Live and let live. NO. I do not. It may be overwhelming to you pessimists but I TRULY believe I can - no NEED - to solve this problem. Let's start at the origins . . .

Juju is actually slang for Western African religions. It is a way to dismiss a religion as hooey or crap . . . juju was witchcraft. It evolved to include putting a spell on someone to ensure compliance (think of Nigerian women being trafficked to Europe as a prostitute/slave and having juju put upon her before she leaves). There is no more eloquent or well thought out definition or tradition to the word or phrase in my somewhat extensive learnings (including a quick Google) on the subject.

So WHY do we ASK (BEG?) for "juju" in this world? Particularly in social media settings? A few theories:

  1. It is way shorter to say "Send juju" than to say "Please take some time and energy to think genuinely positive things and perhaps even extend yourself to make a true difference in my plight." (particularly helpful on Twitter with the 140 character limit.
  2. It is something that someone said to you and you just sort of extended on without ever actually asking any questions or learning what the word meant (sorta' like believing your friend really lost their kidney after a bender with some shady characters).
  3. We have become so unsure of our friends and support systems and their genuine interest in us that we want an equally disingenuous toss-away to imply we may want or need some help.
  4. People have become truly embarrassed at how much/quickly we ask for people to get involved in our challenges and ordeals and how little people are willing to actually give/do in response to those requests (boy that cried wolf, anyone?)
Now - I don't meant to question to motives or general intelligence of people who ask for and or, lest I seem judgmental  EXTEND "juju" upon request. Not at all. If it makes you happy, insists Sheryl Crow, it can't be that bad. I hope the juju you seek and receive brings you much success in your adventures. I truly want nothing but the best for each person in the transaction and hope that, if push came to shove, anyone who offers juju would also offer an afternoon of lifting heavy stuff, an honest letter of reference, a few spare bucks for a car repair, or a cup of coffee and at attentive ear for an hour or two of true conversation.

I am not so egotistical as to imply juju will ever actually end. I can't do it alone. But I AM just narcissistic enough to think that by simply pointing out the lunacy of the exchanging of juju that a few of you will join me in my campaign. And then a few folks will join you. And a few folks will help them. You know how these things get started.

If you want to join me - it is simple. Ask for HELP (vs. juju) the next time you are truly in need and offer HELP (vs. juju) the next time someone asks you for your juju. 

I feel better already. Now bring me a syringe, my bicycle and the French Alps and send your best juju for my never-met girlfriend and her terminal illness. She could really use it.