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The Kale Chip Awards

Imagine the most egregiously posturing person you know. They might bring a record player to a coffee shop. They might wear an over-abundance of scarves. They might over-share about their experience tasting barrel-aged IPAs at a brewery that hasn’t opened yet. Regardless of their thrift store appearance or braggadocio conversations, these individuals are commonly known as hipsters. However, the word does not encompass how irritating it is to be in the presence of such persons. Therefore, I propose a new name that both better describes these overalls-wearing non-farmers, but creates a game that makes their presence laughably enjoyable: Kale Chips.

A Kale Chip is, of course, a bitter, salty snack that is quite delicious. However, their popularity rose at the same time that people who ate them would not stop talking about how superior they were to all other forms of crunchy sustenance. These people are not just hipsters, they lay claim to the highest level of hipsterness, the “hippest” of hipsters. But they would reject that title. Hipsters love rejecting labels and also love being labeled better than others. And so, to give them a title that will confuse them and maybe make them think we are giving them a compliment, let us call them Kale Chips.

Normally, when a man walks into a library with a full-length beard and sports a pair of headphones made from the headset of a 1970s Cessna, or when a woman with no eye condition wears glasses with black frames made out of recycled Velvet Underground vinyl and too-large jeans with actual coal-dust on them from when they were used by a West Virginia miner while insisting that she can’t eat lunch anywhere but a vegan food truck, it irritates us enough to want to run away screaming or do something desperate like eat at Chili’s just to find a judgement-free environment. But I suggest we embrace the judgement of Kale Chips. Trust me, they are wearing that cage-free artificial alpaca shirt because it makes them feel better than you. But the one thing Kale Chips want most is not to impress you with their superiority, but to impress other Kale Chips.

That leads me to the game. Wherever you find yourself, be it a bar, a music festival, or just walking around a college campus, any event or location where hipsters might gather, don’t let their musk of smugness bring a frown to your face. Smile at the rosy scent of Kale Chip, and see it as the kickoff of a game. Now that you’ve identified one, you must find another, and compare. The most hipster claims the title of the Kale Chip.

How are points awarded? There are no explicit points, more that the person has the most auspicious sense of superiority to them. Here’s the other thing. If someone is wearing grease-stained denim, but they’re a mechanic, that is not a hipster. If they are a design consultant but are desperately trying to look like a grease-stained mechanic, that is a Kale Chip. And forget this nonsense of wearing clothes to be “ironic.” Irony is not a concept a Kale Chip understands. They wear old-fashioned clothes, spend a fortune on dirty things, because they want to be seen as better than others. Trust me, you’ll find it, that nose-upturned sense of superiority gained by the desire to explain what sort of bamboo your free-trade belt is made out of is the only reason that person spent two hundred dollars on it in the first place.

But be careful, there is a subtle difference between a Kale Chip, and a douche. Both spend too much money on frivolous things to impress. But the douche spends money on items that look expensive, like name-brand watches and flashy electronics. Kale Chips spend money on things that look cheap, but are also clearly expensive. It might sound difficult, but trust me, they’re not hard to spot. No one who has to shop at a thrift store brags about where they found their mismatched clothing. But Kale Chips do. And Kale Chips wouldn’t be caught dead wearing any sort of brand except Tom’s, and douches think Tom’s are for poor people.

So go care-free to that brewpub. Enjoy that popup restaurant. Listen to underground music. Yes, Kale Chips will judge you for not being hipster enough. But now you have a game to judge them. When you find the Kale Chip, ask permission and take their picture. Now you have a trophy and trust me, they will love having their picture taken. Plus, once a year, you can look back at your digital trophy case and find the winner of winners, the hipster of hipsters, the Golden Kale Chip. What a hilarious honor.

I look forward to hearing about and seeing your Kale Chips. But remember, there is a danger to this past time. If you find yourself in a hipster environment, but do not find any Kale Chips, it’s possible that you are more hipster than others. If you cannot find the Kale Chip, then the Kale Chip is you. If that’s the case, then be a good Kale Chip. Embrace it. Laugh it off. Be nice. And then laugh even harder when you give up your title to the guy wearing a top hat covered in gears.