FOUND IN THE WILD; RARELY DOMESTICATED

Those of us tracking the behavior and movements of the Karen, that naturally occurring pest whose prevalence and destructive impact on the environment has only recently been exposed to a wider audience, might be interested in the existence of a related species. A member of the same family, the same genus in fact, it is no less harmful than its better known cousin, perhaps more so. It prefers to be known as the Kevin, and we are more than happy to oblige the creature this small concession.

Identifying the Kevin might prove more difficult than spotting the Karen, mainly because his powers of camouflage are more highly developed. While the Karen is easily provoked, and prone to excitability and inappropriate utterances, the Kevin lays low, presenting a docile affect, while at the same time offering himself up as proficient in any number of fields, more than willing to share his helpful expertise to anyone who inadvertently stumbles into one of his many realms.

While the Karen is usually married, the Kevin tends to be single. More often than not he fancies himself a musician, and wants you to listen to the songs he’s written. He’s an avid student of pop culture, and given half a chance, he’ll launch into an impassioned soliloquy on one of his many interests (films for example), often offering to supplement his lecture with ancillary materials. Whatever topic you find yourself discussing with him, you’ll find he has firm viewpoints regarding it, whether they’re informed or not.

When pressed, he’ll concede there are certain neighborhoods he’d never be caught dead in, because, well, you know. And he’s not particularly happy the direction society seems to be moving in because, well, aren’t they ever satisfied? I mean, what more do they want? Although he rarely reads past the headlines, he’s sure he has a firm grasp on the state of national and world affairs. Our advice when confronted with his unsolicited opinions is to nod sagely, and attempt to nudge the subject in a different direction.

His wide range of interests suggests a cosmopolitan inclination. He loves ethnic food, and can tell you where to go if you want it made they way they make it where they come from. And cheap too. He even dated someone from there once, and she cooked it for him just the way he likes it. He lives alone now, but only because he’s decided that’s for the best. Besides, now there’s room for his new guitar, or his new MIDI, or whatever it is he’s set up in the spare room, where he writes and records his songs, and uploads them to his Soundcloud account.

But don’t be fooled. His eclecticism is impressive, but it masks a limited, even stunted worldview. The more time you spend with him, endeavoring under the impression that his varied interests represent some sort of broad acceptance, the more likely you are to be infected with his low-grade toxicity. Beware. He’s part of a silent herd. They roam the plains and swell the spaces of the numberless suburban and exurban apartment complexes that cluster around the endless strip malls and burger joints that are the true measure of this country.

The Karen shrieks, while the Kevin creeps. She’s trapped in the clutches of panic. He’s just waiting to collect his inheritance. When he finally realizes it isn’t forthcoming, what then?

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