Embrace the JoCo Bubble: “JoCo Bubble” isn’t as harmful as students complain

Gennifer Geer, Managing Editor

My life sucks.
My upper-middle class parents never understand my upper-middle class angst, and I have to pay for my own upper-middle class car that I have to use to get from my upper-middle class house to my upper-middle class school that just gives me work to prepare me for a stable upper-middle class job.
OK, so I don’t pass rows of abandoned, boarded-up houses to get there.
I don’t have to worry about being abducted the moment I leave my home.
I don’t have to brace myself for electricity failures and leaky roofs.
I don’t have to think about rationing my backpack of weekend food.
But I’m still deprived of knowing the hardships of the world and seeing all the tragedies luckier, non-Johnson County kids see everyday.
This is life in the JoCo Bubble.
So many of my fellow classmates can’t wait to escape it. They’re stuck here under that suffocating shield of security, the forcefield of financial fortification, the defense from domestic despair.
That’s not true.
We’re not stuck here.
We have the most freedom of anyone to leave the caste we’re fortunate enough to have been born into.
The Johnson County student can go anywhere.
In a small town high school where all funding goes toward buying new football equipment, students are trapped in a blue collar future — if they’re lucky.
They can’t afford to leave town because they need to support a family of eight.
College is nothing but a fantasy when your high school diploma is null and void.
Those people are just as stuck as you are. The only difference is their bubble isn’t soft and permeable — it’s armed with the barbed thorns of poverty and absent opportunities.
And those are just the American possibilities. Need I remind you kids in Africa are starving right now?
Yes, problems are problems. No one’s life is perfect. That’s just life.
But survival as a human being isn’t a problem in JoCo.
Not being able to decide between Starbucks and QuikTrip is hard, but it’s better than not being able to decide between raw spiders or rats.
Orthodontic work hurts, but it’s better than a permanent headache from a misaligned jaw.
Contacts get dry, but it’s better than going blind from squinting at failing neon signs.
Homework, may it die a painful death, is strenuous, but it’s better than depending on government welfare to pay for your high-risk area apartment.
I could go on listing alternate realities people face on a daily basis, but we all know they’re out there. We’re not so isolated here that we don’t realize there are people whose top priority isn’t getting the hottest Steve Madden boots.
It’s all about perspective.
If you insist Johnson County is smothering the life experience out of you, then so be it.
You still have your smothering teachers who want you to learn, your smothering friends who want you to have fun and all those smothering possessions that separate you from the rest of the nation.
Just know there’s a difference between smothering and strangling.