Everyone prattles on about some sort of "Zombie Apocalypse." I'm tired of zombies on TV and Facebook. I have seen very few instances where zombies are attacking and consuming people that I know. Most of the zombies I am acquainted with are merely very, very tired parents.
More often, I have been observing a different kind of invasion that is less dangerous, but much more real. A day rarely goes by that I don't see evidence of it either on Facebook, or stuck to my fridge. Maybe you have seen it too:
Our lovely daughters are being scooped up by hobos, and are somehow being coerced into marrying them. It is becoming a veritable epidemic.
I keep seeing engagement and wedding photos where the bride looks like a lovely princess - standing next to a guy who hasn't shaved in weeks and needs a haircut. One can only hope he bathed for the photo shoot.
To give them the benefit of the doubt, there is a slight possibility that the hobos were not actually aware of the photo shoot. I can imagine a phone call like this:
(Anxious fiancee texts frantically and gets no response - she resorts to making an actual phone call to her hobo fiance:)
"Where are you!"
"In my parent's basement. Where else?"
"Did you forget about out appointment?"
"I guess. Oh man!"
"So you did forget?"
"Nah, I just got killed on Halo."
"How fast can you get here?"
"The condemned barn by the old highway."
"Why are we going there?"
"Our engagement pictures -remember?"
"Oh yeah. Why a barn?"
"Because I like the aesthetics."
- silence -
"Because it's pretty."
"Oh. OK. I'm on my way."
"Wait! Remember to wear those clothes I bought for you last week?"
"One more thing."
"When is the last time you showered?"
"Sunday, but I wet my hair down last night, and shaved right before No-Shave November."
"Perfect. I love your manly stubble."
"Do I have time to maybe eat something and take a nap?"
"Did you stay up all night playing again."
"It's OK - you can use some of my dark circle concealer when you get here. Hurry!"
And so it goes. Another beautiful bride captures one of the most important experiences of her life standing next to an unkempt hobo. Granted, there would be fewer hobos if the girls did not encourage it by saying things like. "I love your long hair." Or "I think your beard looks awesome."
Years from now, I can see a small girl perched on that same bride's lap as they look through a photo album together.
"Mommy, you look so beautiful in your wedding dress"
"Thanks sweetheart. It was a very special day."
"Then how come Daddy looks like a hobo?"
"Well honey, back then we thought it looked cool."
"Mommy, you're so silly!"
"Trends change, and what looks silly now, was popular back then."
"Is that why your eyelashes looked so weird?"
"We're done here."
I still admire a young man who can return from a mission and still look like a returned missionary 6 months, or 6 years later.
I can hear the screams and keyboards furiously clicking already:
"MMM, you are sooo judgmental! Stop it!"
"MMM looks on the outward appearance, the Lord looks upon the heart."
"Stop judging! President Uchtdorf says!"
"Most guys look dumb with beards, but my fiance looks hot!"
"Are you saying you can't be spiritual and look like a hobo?"
"Why fixate on this when there are so many other more important things we could talk about."
"You are so out-dated!"
So save your breath. I'm just saying I've seen the cycle before - just like bell-bottom jeans. Back in the 70's, a lot of young men were growing their hair out - anywhere they could - because that's what the counter-culture style of the times was dictating. And like zombies, many followed suit. It seems that we are running through that same cycle again. It will eventually fade. The youth of the 70's did not have a corner on the lemming market.
I am not saying that the young men who look like hobos and are marrying our daughters are not fine, worthy, upstanding young men. I'm just saying that it's a little disappointing. And this is not my idea - President KImball said it much better back in the '78, but it bears repeating:
"Let me confess one of the sad disappointments I sometimes feel: The returned missionary who, after two years of taking great pride in how he looks and what he represents, returns to this campus or some other similar place to see how quickly he can let his hair grow, how fully he can develop a mustache and long sideburns and push to the very margins of appropriate grooming, how clumpy his shoes get, how tattered his clothes are, how close to being grubby he can get without being refused admittance to the school. That, my young returned missionary brethren, is one of the great disappointments in my life."
Spencer W. Kimball BYU Devotional, September 12, 1978 (Full link here)
And so it goes. The Hobo Apocalypse is upon us. We just need to ride it out, while a generation of young couples figures out that there are more important things than style. For more thoughts and quotes on this topic from the prophets, look here. Or, for a less credible source, this post of mine here.