Many of you will be familiar with the term “nanny state”, which refers to what many see as excessive, institutionalized government intervention for the protection (hence the term “nanny”) of the people against perceived threats, especially in the areas of health, culture, and the environment, among others.

Strangely enough, while the nanny state operates at a macro level, its effects appear to funnel down to the individual level, a condition I call the “ninny state”. This condition appears to intensify as one gets older (perhaps as the prospect of death looms larger), and also appears to be more prevalent in women (based on my purely personal observations, YMMV), perhaps because they are by nature more caring, protective, and nurturing (whew!, talk about the ninny state…just the fact that I felt compelled to qualify my statement is a perfect example).

The ninny state is characterized by an excessive preoccupation with doing things correctly. Here are a few examples:

“Oh my, what a beautiful sunset! Be careful not to look at the sun too long, it might damage your retinas. We should have brought extra-dark sunglasses”.

“I don’t think we can just wander into the hotel lobby like that….isn’t it just for paying guests?”.

“Make sure to put on lots of sunscreen, skin cancer you know!”.

“I don’t eat large fish…too much mercury”.

“Close the balcony door, the air-conditioning is on and you’ll waste electricity” [It was open for all of 30 seconds as I tried to get a whiff of fresh air, Heaven forbid]

“I love the house, but there’s no way I’d live anywhere near there, too many power lines nearby”

“Isn’t this a great cereal…loaded with Omega-3’s and fiber”.

Men, by and large, appear to be more resistant to the ninny state, fueled perhaps by an innate sense of devil-may-care, poor judgment, alcohol, machismo, and other qualities antithetical to the very nature of the ninny state.

My own philosophy on the topic is: “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission….now leave me the f%*k alone”.

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