The Joys Of Life, Issue 1


So, for my first column after a long summer, I thought we could give a shout-out to the underappreciated gifts from God that provide hours of summer entertainment outside of Lolla: bubbles. Bubbles, as defined by the most trustworthy of sources, Wikipedia, are “a globule of one substance in another.” Wikipedia adds that they’re “usually gas in a liquid.” First of all, the word globule is fantastic. Everyone turn to the person closest to you and say globule. Did they smile? They better have smiled or they don’t have a soul. Only soulless people don’t like the word globule. Or globular? That’s so great. It’s because of the glob part at the beginning. The glob part is what makes it so good. Like, a glob of glue. Or a glob of bubbles, I’m in love. 

Anyway, second of all, I want to disagree with Wikipedia about the “usually gas in a liquid” part. I know, I’m so controversial. Disagreeing with Wikipedia? How could you, Grayson! But I’d argue that almost anything that is a sphere is a bubble (because I’m stupid, not really, but just enough to make that joke funny).

 Ok, so more definitions. According to Urban Dictionary, a globule (SUCH A GOOD WORD!) is “a glob of something.” A glob is defined as “a lump of a semiliquid substance” by Merriam-Webster. The next recommended thing on Google for “glob definition” is “hubris definition” and I’m wondering if that says something about who I am. 

Remember, I’m trying to argue that everything that is a sphere is a bubble. So now we need to know what lump means. Lump is the name of Pablo Picasso’s dog, and I kind of just thought you needed to know that. A lump is defined as “a compact mass of a substance, especially one without a definite or regular shape.” So anything that is round and changes shape is a bubble. 

The sun? The sun’s a bubble. A ball? A ball bounces and when it bounces it changes shape so a ball’s a bubble. A concrete sphere? The atoms of the concrete sphere are always moving so the shape is always changing and it’s very compact so a concrete ball is also, you guessed it, a bubble. So there, I’ve proven that anything that is a sphere is a bubble. If you disagree, write a letter to the editor. 

What are other types of bubbles? I mean, there’s the so-called Parker bubble. I’ve always found this super fascinating. You’ve probably heard of it but if you haven’t, here I am. Basically, the Parker bubble is the idea that some people who go to Parker, who are in the Parker community, don’t really have a firm understanding of what it’s like to be someone that doesn’t go to a wealthy private school or have the background of an upper-middle-class to upper-class family. I’m included in this bubble. 

It’s the idea that we are trapped inside a big glass dome with no real grasp of the world outside of Parker. In contrast to our mission statement that says we educate “global citizens,” that doesn’t really vibe, doesn’t really fit. If we are educating for global citizenship, then why do some people at Parker feel that we are inside a bubble, disconnected from other citizens of the globe? 

I remember in, like, Parker Partners or whatever, we’d take entire days to go outside the Parker community and get outside the Parker bubble. Or in History, we learn about current events happening outside of the bubble. Sometimes we take field trips outside the bubble, to Pilsen or… Iceland? Or Dubai? I know MUN went to Mexico once. 

But I feel like something is missing. I feel like we, not all of “we” but a lot “we”–– and definitely me–– don’t go out of our way to learn about people who are not in our bubble. Like, individual people who don’t come from affluent backgrounds and don’t have an exorbitant amount of wealth and don’t have all the immense privileges we have. Being shy, being busy, whatever the excuse, we don’t, I don’t, get out of the bubble. 

People within the Parker community, I feel, are treated as a part of a quota.We fill the spots needed so we can say to ourselves that the Parker community is inclusive to all backgrounds and takes advantage of learning from all people to be good global citizens. 

When I look back in twenty years and think about my grade, I want to be able to count on more than just my fingers and toes the people that don’t look like me, think like me, or act like me. I don’t think we are even close to that goal.

 I look at our school and think, “What are we doing?” Unless each and every individual of privilege in our community takes the effort necessary to understand what it means to not be from our backgrounds, we are failing at educating global citizens. We need to meet people that are not like ourselves and immerse ourselves in their worlds. 

We must understand who they are and what they want. There are seven billion individuals on this planet that all deserve the same rights, the same freedoms, and I think many people at Parker, especially those that are wealthier, are blind to that fact.

 I feel like when we go out into the world as a person from Parker, it is out of pity. We give back, do service. That’s not it, though. That’s not what it should be about. I think our communal mindset of how we think about where we fit in the world is toxic, and I think our communal perspective is way out of alignment. We assume that we are better. I’ll speak for myself: I am living in a sheltered world of first-world problems. I concern myself with superficial things that only matter to one percent of the population. I don’t know and don’t have the opportunity to know what it is like to be someone who is not born of tremendous privilege, whatever that privilege may be. 

I don’t know how to design a curriculum that teaches that level of empathy. But there are no doubt thousands of people who do. And not having that empathy, not having that understanding, and not having that perspective in our school, and existing trapped in a bubble of privilege is a big, big shame, and frankly, I think it is harmful to the global society. 

We as a community have a ton of influence on the culture of Lincoln Park, of Chicago, of Illinois, of the Midwest, of the United States, and of the world and if we don’t understand that we have to work harder at popping the bubble, or the culture as a whole won’t be able to either. If we don’t understand what it means to be someone that doesn’t come from Parker, we cannot call ourselves global citizens. So what started as fun has turned into a call for action. I think it’s time to pop this bubble.