Once a flock of flamingos resolved to make important social issues more chic. It was about time, they all agreed. Time to bring that special flair and sense of style they were famous for to critical concerns around the globe. So the flamingos gathered by a resort lake, pecked one another repeatedly on the cheek in greeting, and then asked themselves, “How can we make a fashion statement that will raise the level of awareness on problems that really matter today?” After a long silence, during which many of the flamingos preened themselves to cover their embarrassment over being at an unaccustomed loss for words, a single thought sprang into all their minds simultaneously, causing quite a flutter and moving them all to lift their graceful bodies into the air and begin circling the lake in a glorious display. Around and around they flew. When they eventually returned to the shallows and sandbars, though, none of the flamingos could quite remember what the great thought was that had inspired them to take wing in the first place. So they decided to start over and asked themselves again, “How can we make a fashion statement that will raise the level of awareness on problems that really matter today?” “STD-prevention would be absolutely marvelous for making a statement, darlings,” one flamingo finally volunteered. “Old news” came the response from a number of sides. “They say the Black Death might be coming back.” “Eeeuuuu! Buboes and pus! How gross!” “I know what, let’s do a famine show. It’s all over the news these days.” “How cool is that?!” “Rad!” “Mega-Rad!!” “ Except what would we wear?” “I don’t know, but we could accessorize anything we decide on with miniature ration bags or something.” “Seriously? Wouldn’t we be sending the wrong message with that? Just sayin’.” “Puuuleeeez! There can never be a wrong message in a consciousness-raising fashion campaign. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? No controversy is bad controversy.” “Very clever.” “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a photo spread with an ethnic cleansing theme.” “Hashtag Helloooo! I hate to be the one to bring up the same thing again, but what would we wear? You can’t just assume everybody’ll automatically get the message.” “Well, duhhhh!” “Whatever.” “Okay, okay, everybody, how about ‘homelessness’ as our theme? How can you miss with something that’s soooo today as that?” “Yes, and I could finally wear the ripped designer jeans I spent 500 bucks for in a good cause! Showing solidarity with the have-nots in our own torn-wear!” “Booom! Poverty as a fashion statement, darlings!” “I see worldwide appeal in that! With absolutely divine cover shots of us in edgy street scenes and a couple of photogenic down-and-out kids in the background somewhere.” “Yes! Yes! Yes! I totally get it! And for the show’s finale, we can scrap the wedding dresses and strut our stuff down the runway wearing some of those cardboard signs you see all over the place asking for help!” “G-A-M-E C-H-A-N-G-E-R!!” “Visionary concept, ab-so-lute-ly visionary!” All of the flamingos were so pleased with the outcome of their efforts that they began to practice, one after another, the most dramatic way to hold their heads, arch their wings, and put on a show-stopping pout that would demonstrate their commitment to giving social issues that really matter some pizzazz for a change.
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans