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The Blue & Gray Press | November 18, 2017

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Exaggerations Are the Best Thing Ever

By SUSANNAH CLARK

Like so many girls in my age group, I exaggerate a lot. In fact, everything is I say is an exaggeration.
…It’s hard to stop.

With my addiction to exaggeration comes an obsession with the superlative. Everything is “the best,” or “my favorite” or “of all time.” It gets old, fast.

Last Thursday I saw the best concert I’ve ever seen in my whole life.

Anyone who has been to a concert with me will tell you that I say that after every show I go to. But this time I mean it. Really.

Jenny Lewis, the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, played a set of her solo songs at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in DC. Less than 200 people fit into the sold-out sanctuary to hear Lewis’s angelic vocals and post-break up guitar riffs. It was intimate, energetic, and at times, spiritual. My perfect concert ended with the opportunity to meet my idol and get not only an autograph, but precious acknowledgement of my existence. Jenny said my name!

Another thing my friends could tell you: my obsession with Jenny Lewis is unhealthy. It may not be a total exaggeration when I say I want to be her.

Psychological deviancies aside, I was a little dismayed when my friends gave me a “girl who cried wolf” reaction to my latest concert ranking. They’ve grown accustomed to not taking my ultimate statements seriously. For some reason, I feel the need to convince them that I really mean it this time.  Why does it matter so much to me?

Despite being part of a coddled generation, we are still living in a cut-throat meritocracy. Measured by the 100th decimal of our GPAs, we are constantly ranking ourselves and our surroundings, be it top friends on MySpace or U.S. News’s best colleges and universities.

Maybe we evaluate other people, events, and objects as a way to distract ourselves from our personal low rankings and inefficiencies.

There’s a certain high that comes not just from being the best, but also from deeming yourself qualified to assess what is the best.

In the spirit of “High Fidelity” and “TRL,” (R.I.P.) top lists and rankings have challenged popular culture to keep trying to outdo itself. How many “Top 100 Most Shock-tabulous Celebreality Moments” TV specials have appeared on VH1 this year?

My own exaggeration is not an attempt to show-off or mislead, but rather a less-than-subtle tactic to convey enthusiasm. I say, as part of a generation of hard-to-please youth consumed by text messaged apathy, a burst of passion can be refreshing.

With this in mind, I seize my right to deem my Jenny Lewis concert the best of all time, trumping Bruce Springsteen, and even P.Diddy opening for Britney Spears.

However, I do take comfort in that fact that this ranking is not permanent. I look forward to next best concert of all time I get to see. Now that the standard is set even higher, it should be life-changing.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration.