Age-Inappropriate Trick or Treating


7th grade seems to be the unspoken cut off age for free candy as a reward for dressing up in cute outfits. Everyone knows this one. Who among us hasn’t heard that tick tock from the inner clock of shame reminding us when it’s time to hang up the pillow case and hobo costume, stay home with Jason and his ax, and wait to chow down on your little sister’s candy? She couldn’t possibly eat it all. And then it occurred to me that there are other age-inappropriate activities and events that feel similar to the aforementioned. There is of course an age when one can no longer ask friends to help move in exchange for beer and pizza, or feel cool bragging about that late night bar scuffle and accompanying head gash. But… at what age is it no longer hip to enter a “Pick Me!” contest and bother friends and family to support your career?

You’ve seen a link like this on Facebook or somewhere, I’m sure of it—or maybe this exact one:

Montreux Comedy Contest 2014
Montreux Comedy Contest 2014

It’s a contest to vote for one comedian among a hundred, a thousand, who knows? — maybe a million comics are willing to agitate friends and family members until they simply hide your solicitations, much like your aunt’s BINGO announcements. Only in French. Ooh la la.

Now, I’m not sure if the comedy “vote for me” contest is as iconic as the time-honored Trick or Treat cutoff, but it should qualify, and here’s why. Sometime before the age of 30 you should no longer be allowed to shamelessly pester throngs of digital friends, pseudo-friends and soon-to-be-former friends to promote one’s career. And even before 30, beggars of Likes should beware. I’m no social media guru, but I’m sure there are consequences to such relentless crowd sourcing of Thumbs-Ups and Likes, to say nothing of all the silent thumbs-downs and eye rolls you’ll never see. You must know that as your requests for “pay it forwards” move further and further away from your inner circle, you soon enter the company of feisty Jehovah’s Witnesses and rabid Girl Scouts trying to meet their cookie quota.

Am I the only one suffering from Vote for Me Fatigue? Sure, we all know my Cousin Todd and Uncle Jim want me to win, even if they can’t figure out how to click my picture and wind up accidentally voting for one of my “competitors.” But after this short list, it’s only a sea of schadenfreude that awaits us all.

The Worst of the Best?

I ask you—dare I say, BEG all of you—to delete, hide, scroll past or do nothing about this tired social media shtick. That’s right, I’m entering this contest in hopes of being the Biggest Loser.

I want to win the Anti-Social Promotion category. Think I’m crazy? This strategy worked recently for a California restaurant owner who tired of Yelp’s punitive positive review-hiding scheme aimed at driving advertising sales, coupled with Yelp allowing and making money from competitors buying ads on his restaurant’s listing. So he turned the tables and deliberately sought to become the worst Yelp-reviewed restaurant in all of Richmond, and he succeeded. And he’s said it was the best decision he’s ever made.

So, I am asking for even less. Why? Well, I’ve always felt the cream is meant to rise to the top when it’s darn-well ready, not on the backs of a marketing scheme hell-bent on leveraging the misplaced passions of a few thousand desperate comedians willing to sacrifice their social media grace in exchange for a lottery ticket. Unless of course you’re the winner—then it was all worth it. Hell yeah.

But far be it from me to leave my Cousin Jim and Uncle Bob hanging if they are truly itching to show support; rather than a random forward into their mystery network, I’d much rather have them ask XM/Sirius Satellite radio to play my “Mom Duck Joke” a few more times. It’s a multigenerational Clue classic around the homestead, plus I get a nickel every time it’s played. Now that’s cutting out the middle man and feels to me worthy of a pestering—but this contest, for my taste, feels so 12 Ice Bucket Challenges ago.

Now—clear throat, ahem—lastly, if you think this request of mine is some sort of sour grapes Jedi mind trick that secretly hopes to find its way into another social media worm hole and winds up having the opposite effect, well, good for you and your marketing IQ. I’m sure you also figured out the ending to “Sixth Sense”(15 year old spoiler alert) before the movie ended. So from you I ask only cash for some high priced therapy. Now that’s some crowd sourcing I can back at any age.

Other interesting links on this topic:

Is Yelp a Bully or Just Misunderstood?

And amusingly, Yelp on Yelp

ComedyTim Clue