Friday, October 15, 2010

There's a Little Attention Whore in All of Us

 When my oldest brother was fourteen or so, he came to breakfast one day with a big Band-Aid on his forehead. Our mother immediately dropped the frying pan and rushed to his side, exclaiming, "Oh, my goodness--what happened?"

"Nothing," Big Brother replied.

"But your head..." Mom said.

"There's nothing wrong," he insisted, grinning smugly.

"Well, for heaven's sake, why did you put a Band-Aid on?"

"For attention."

Well, at least he was honest. Mom just rolled her eyes and went back to making pancakes. (I probably would have hit him with the spatula.) But, see, I understand why my brother did that. There were four of us kids angling for our parents' eyes, the youngest being about a year old at that time. Guess who got the most face time?

(Yeah, yeah. Understandably so. Babies have to have more time. Doesn't mean the older kids in the family aren't going to resent it.)

My MIL's (that's mother-in-law, for those not down with internet acronyms) would concur. One of her favorite things to say, when confronted with bad behavior from either kids or adults, is, "They're just doing that for attention."

You know what? She's absolutely right. People love attention, and will apparently stop at nothing to get it. How else do you explain all those reality TV shows? Regular, everyday people vying for attention, competing for ratings with celebrities (who are, of course, professional attention-seekers).

Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Brittney Spears...all you have to do is turn on the news to see what they do for attention. Sex, drugs, internet indiscretions (usually involving sex and/or drugs)--whatever will get their face in front of the viewing public. Do they do it consciously? I can't say for sure, the cynic in me suspects so.

What is it about attention?

Well, I'm no psychologist, but I think it must be the connection. The tangible evidence that we are not alone. Humans are not genetically predisposed to be solitary creatures. (Barring the rare hermit, of course. There's always an exception, right?) Some people apparently require a lot more reassurance of their un-aloneness than others.

The difference is in how people go about collecting their requisite share of attention. You can divide it into some basic categories (though most people are probably hybrids):

SAINTS: Philanthropists, do-gooders, whatever you want to call them. The teacher's pets. Members of the clergy, and other altruistic professions, like teachers, medical professionals, police, firefighters, etc. I'm generalizing here. I realize all these professions have their bad apples. But I suspect even those bad apples would like to be perceived as unselfish. This is how they get their attention: "Hey, look at me! Aren't I good?"

SINNERS: These are the eff-you-ers of the world. To them it's just easier (or maybe more fun) to gain an audience by misbehaving. Most kids learn this one early on, and if their parents are silly enough to focus on them only when they are "being bad," well, a little monster is born. ;) I have a certain amount of patience for this kind of behavior...up until about age four. But if you're twenty-five and still practicing this tactic, then eff you.

CLASS CLOWNS: Okay, I have to admit, this is probably my favorite category. It can be taken to obnoxious extremes, of course (can't anything?), but at least it's usually entertaining. To the rest of the class, if not the teacher. Though even when I was a teacher, I secretly loved the clowns best. (Not that I ever showed favoritism. That would be wrong. Wait...is applause "favoritism"? Oops...)

BLOGGERS: Er, what can I say? Me, ME, ME!!!! *ahem* Now that I've gotten that out of my system...well, this one is pretty self-explanatory. And, really, it may just be a subset of the first three, because bloggers tend fall into one of those categories, don't they?

You've got your helpful, altruistic blogs, always offering great advice on one thing or another. Your ranting & raving blogs, sparking controversy any way they can manage. And, of course, your clownish blogs, always out for a cheap laugh. (Guilty.)

Oh, and let's not forget the Frankenstein blogs--they patch all three types together, in varying amounts, to come up their own distinct personality.

So, where do you put your Band-Aid? IOW, what's the wackiest thing you've ever done just to get some attention?

17 comments:

Tawna Fenske said...

Hey, I'm proud to be a blogging clown. Wanna see me juggle?

Tawna

Christine said...

Oh oh oh - LOOK AT ME
HEY
Me Me MEEEEEE!!!!

Uhm, yeah.

I like attention. *nodding*

Hehehehe. Great blog post.

I think I have a little of all of the above in me. I am usually the saint, but every once in a while I like to play at the sinner and the class clown, and of course the blogger.

The wackiest thing I've ever done to get attention?

Taken my snake for walks probably. Although I did adore my snake it was as much about the "oohhs" and "ahh" and "uhm is the a snake around your necks?" Got a lot of those. Big fun.

Thanks for a fun Friday post.
Christine

midnightblooms said...

I use to pose for photos (hey, I was four). Goofy, "glamorous" model poses, you know? With my hair all tossed back and my body contorted into bizarre and unflattering angles.

Now that I'm grown-up *snort* I blog. And comment on others blogs. :)

Jeffe Kennedy said...

Wait - did you just call me a monster?

abby mumford said...

i'm a blogging fool! oh wait, that wasn't an option. a blogging saint. minus the halo and spotlight shining down on me.

Candyland said...

Attention? Hmm...
>>>>LOOOOOKKKKK HHEEEERRREEEE<<<<<

I'd probably fall into a category that's mixed with all of the above.

Jeannie Moon said...

I'm a blogging do-gooder. I can't help it. I try, but I'm always volunteering or agreeing to do something or trying to help people. I don't care if I get thanked, but it's nice if I do.

coffeelvnmom said...

Hm. I blog for camaraderie AND attention. And for flat-out attention, I go for wearing something owl-ish whenever possible. ;)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Hmmm ... not saint, not sinner. Not clown, really. Blogging -- definitely.

Is there a Smart Aleck category? That's probably me at work.

courtney said...

Heh, love that story about your brother. Also highlights the difference between mothers and sisters. And that difference seems to be the use of a spatula. ;) But BLOGGERS? Vying for attention?!! Say it ain't so! D: ;)

Linda G. said...

Tawna -- Only if you put on a red-ball nose and paint your lips really big. ;)

Christine -- Taking a SNAKE for walks? Uh, yeah. That would get my attention. *grins*

midnightblooms -- LOL! I love it when kiddos pose for pictures--so funny. I bet you were adorable. :)

Jeffe -- Depends. Did you throw tantrums when you were 25? ;)

Abby -- How about a saintly fool? A new category just for you. :)

Candyland -- Yeah, I'd say your blog is the great big fun combo of everything. :)

Jeannie -- Hey, somebody has to be good. And you do it so well. So, thanks. :)

coffeelvnmom -- Um...owl-ish? What kind of clothes are owl-lish? Feathers and big glasses?

Dianne -- Smart Aleck? Yeah, that should definitely be a category. It's probably a subset of Class Clown. ;)

Courtney -- LOL! Oh, yeah. I'm much nicer to my kids than I ever was to my brothers. ;)

out of the wordwork said...

Wow, what a great post! I now suddenly understand why my kids are driving me nuts. They crave constant attention and I crave ... well, I want to be sitting on a deserted beach with a gin and tonic, a good book and a comfy lounge chair.

So this whole book publishing, blogging thing is weird for me because I only want attention, um, sometimes? But the people who crave even negative attention? Totally don't get it...
Nelsa

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh, but this is good. Except I can't be sure where I fall. A Frankenstein perhaps. One with a dainty, pink Band-Aid on my chin.

Linda G. said...

Nelsa -- Oh yes. Kids will definitely find a way to make your life miserable if they don't think you're paying enough attention to them.

I do know what you mean about only wanting attention sometimes yourself. I tend to have my hermit periods, too. :)

Carolina -- A dainty Frankenstein? I like that image. :)

A. S. Boudreau said...

The wackiest thing I did... gave away an ear of corn ;).
lol

Posey said...

Wackiest thing? That would be, getting a blog. After which I determined that I really do like to hear myself talk. Oy.

Linda G. said...

A.S. -- LOL! Hey, that was a great ear of corn. :)

Posey -- Ha. It's a blogging hazard. ;)