No, it is not 2012 — though you may wish it were.
I remember the strange Keep Calm and Carry On phase. Strange in that it was based off of an old British WWII propaganda poster encouraging citizens to keep to business as usual even during bombings. Strange also in its viral spread and infinite renditions, some of which didn’t even make grammatical sense. Keep Calm and Be Swag. Keep Calm and I Hate Mondays. Keep Calm and Yoga On. Keep Calm and Drink Starbucks. Nike got on the train with “Keep Calm and Just Do It.” It was everywhere, everyone telling us to keep calm, keep calm, keep calm.
Recently I came across a picture of a milkman in London after it was bombed, cheerily continuing on his route. THAT is what Keep Calm and Carry On was intended for, not for moms to share on Facebook (“Keep Calm and More Wine Please!”).
As I look around my college library, it is full of people Keeping Calm and Carrying On. While the meme may be old and dead, the sentiment is not. Maybe it was a good thing that 2012 drilled keep calm, keep calm into our heads, in a time of relative calmness compared to … well. We may not wear the cheesy T-shirts anymore, but the slogan is embedded deep within us.
We ran the Boston Women’s March, finished just in time for 4 o’clock Econ. We rushed between class and work to shove our absentee ballots in mailboxes. We procrastinate essays by reading the politics section. But they’re all quiet rebellions. They fit where we can fit them.
Even when we get loud, angry, active, we later get quiet. We keep calm. We carry on.
I’ve always been amazed at humanity’s ability to adapt. We live on every corner of the globe, we survive broken limbs and debilitating diseases. We find time, during grief, to do our laundry. We find a way, during a bombing, to deliver milk.
Now, as our country and government tremble, the 70-year-old message from the queen could use a revival. Don’t Panic. Keep Calm. Carry On. Deliver the Milk.
And don’t worry … the sea is always calmest before a storm.