Relieve the Damaged, Bury the Zombies, Visit the Illin’, Learn the Orphan. The fraternity of Odd Fellows dates from the 1730’s in England and over the years has spread worldwide. And perhaps now it’s needed just as much as ever, but maybe for different reasons. Odd Fellows are directed to “Relieve the Distressed, Bury the Dead, Visit the Sick, and Educate the Orphan.” Oh! That’s great stuff, you may think, but what’s in it for me? As your Conductor, I certainly see your point. So, I submit reasons to join in the next paragraph.
If we look at the United States in the early 21st century we can document that there are quiet and silent plagues spreading through our society. These plagues are loneliness and social isolation. To explore this plaguing notion, I delved into the online magazine “Psycho Today” (It calls itself “Psychology Today,” but that’s overkill).
In the article “A Cure for Digital Withdrawal Disorder (July 2014),” the writer says that “one in three Americans over 45 is chronically lonely, up from just one in five a decade ago. The Internet promises a virtual community to replace the real community, but… I doubt it can replace warm-blooded friends as a source of support in a time of need.” Another article entitled “When You Are Feeling All Alone (December 2014),” states that “Texting and emailing are helpful, but they can never take the place of a real conversation with a real person right in front of you…” and “loneliness, social anxiety and social isolation can cause excessive use of social networking sites in young people. For example, a study of university students in the UK found that real life social interaction was negatively associated with excessive use of Twitter, and loneliness was a significant factor that mediated this relationship, so it’s clear that many people use social networking sites in general to relieve themselves of their loneliness.” (Social Media, Loneliness, and Anxiety in Young People–December 2016)”
So, there you have it. Join Odd Fellows or die from social isolation. Meanwhile, your 17 cats will survive by munching on your carcass until authorities find your body. But don’t worry—Odd Fellows bury the dead, so it’s all good.
Anyway, it looks like the data shows we need more social interaction in our lives. It’s possible to interact in all sorts of ways as Odd Fellows: Walking Dead night, concerts, best beard contests, Mardi Gras, chili cookoffs, poetry and writing workshops, wine tastings, art night, book clubs, raising money for your favorite charities…
Other than Netflix and chill, what’s the best thing ever? Get as many of your friends together as you can. All of you join Odd Fellows at once. Together you can all learn the secrets of a fraternity that’s been in existence since the 1730’s—and help humanity while you’re at it. If you’re into mystery, writing, cos play, Renaissance Faires, SCA, drama, music, art—Odd Fellows has room for you. We have a long and ancient history, and being creative is part of it. If you want to learn about business, running a non-profit, management, publicity, or sharpening your presentation skills, you can do that too! So, drag your friends from Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and the telegraph, leave social isolation behind, and step into the mystery of the Odd Fellows.