While we wait for the election results to shake out, let’s discuss Karen. No, not your sister-in-law or best friend, but the ‘white lady with a bone to pick’ as the New York Post defines her.

Any of us (male/female/black or white) arrogant enough to think that it’s still permissible to complain to the manager regarding lousy service or shoddy merchandise fall into this new ‘Karen’ category. When the guy hauling roofing for your barn shows up a day late, you’re just supposed to roll with it because to expect him to do what he contracted to do is a real Karen expectation, mister.

The fact that the fellow’s showing up a day late has thrown off several other people’s schedules is irrelevant, you’re still Mister Karen if you grumble.

If we expect to have our mail delivered before midnight or to have our coffee served hot, we are hopelessly behind the times. Those expectations aren’t consistent with a kind, supportive ‘we’re all in this together’ attitude.

You say the neighbor’s dog has upended your trash barrel for the third time? Smile and shrug while you clean it up is your only option. If you grouse, you’ve just cemented your own Karen status. Now, if the neighbors hurry over, clean it up and apologize, there don’t have to be any hard feelings, but, sadly, that scenario is less likely than it used to be.

‘Woke’ language monitors are also on sharp look-out for the Karens among us. The recent SCOTUS nominee was reprimanded for using (in a totally Karen move, it seems) the term ‘sexual preference’ which phrase was promptly branded by Merriam-Webster with an ‘offensive’ warning. So, consider yourself warned: it’s not a matter of sexual preference but of Karma or some such. And, speaking of the PC word police, it’s now highly offensive to refer to the master suite in your home. That master/slave connotation, dontcha know.

With the current mania for donning the ‘victim’ mantle whenever possible, there is no way to keep up with what is newly wounding. If you can’t find much to feel victimized about, you can now be seriously offended by others’ expectations of a decent product for their hard-earned money. If we have the gall to point out slipshod practices, then we apparently deserve to have you tag us (with impunity) as a Karen who has victimized/offended you (or someone, somewhere.)

There’s another way to look at Karen, though. Maybe she’s a warrior against mediocrity. Maybe she took up arms when her child was given a participation trophy for showing up to team practices. Maybe she insisted that new tires weren’t supposed to ‘thump’ on every rotation for a thousand miles. Maybe she didn’t settle for paint that didn’t match.

Karens may be our last bulwark against lackadaisical values, materials, and services.

I’ve pointed out before that ‘judgmental’ isn’t a four-letter word. Like most things, judging can be taken to extremes, but we all need a certain amount of quality control in our lives.

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