You know what’s horrible? When you hate something, and it turns out everyone else loves it. You know what my daughter Lucy hates? Oh, just hamburgers, pizza, chocolate chips, and M&M’s. If I weren’t her deeply sympathetic and loving parent, I might find it funny to watch her navigate life with these loathings. If you got down to the objective truth, it may be that she only mildly dislikes pizza. It’s just that it is around so often, and all the other kids and adults around her are generally very enthusiastic whenever they get it, so that the presence of pizza now cues an immediate emotional response for her, resulting in disconsolate sobbing. The way she melts down when pizza comes isn’t really about sadness, but about total isolation. It’s like having pizza turns everyone around her into Urdu-speakers, and she’s stuck speaking English, and she’s now barred from communicating with anyone else until dinner ends, and they’re all secretly telling Urdu folk jokes about her the whole time. Poor girl. I wish I could make it stop for her. But I like pizza and hamburgers, and I love chocolate chips in my chocolate chip cookies. But I can’t deny its an isolating experience. I used to not like sushi. Don’t spend time with sushi eaters if you don’t like sushi. You will cease to exist for an hour hanging out with them.
A very isolating food
I have a friend with a similar problem. She’s one of these types that doesn’t want to lie to her kids, so teachings of Santa Claus are limited to hints and implications, without any explicit doctrine being imparted. She takes guff from the pro-Santa crowd for this, resulting in that same old feeling of being a lone holdout in a world of sellouts. Anyway, the story goes that she was home one night with her family during the holidays, enjoying a cozy re-watching of Miracle on 34th Street. Turns out that movie is pretty tough on people who don’t believe in Santa. In fact, only ruthless lawyers and cruel corporate overlords don’t believe in Santa. The ones that do believe in Santa are beautiful and loving and keep our society together and generally promote faith, trust and pixie dust. Well, halfway into the movie, my friend’s small daughter looked up at her and noticed she was crying. With sadness. During Miracle on 34th Street. She eventually realized she was ruining the movie for everyone else and quietly excused herself from the room.
When I think about being in that position, I think of Imagine. You know, that inspiring, wonderfully idealistic John Lennon song that everyone loves? I can’t stand that song. Suffice it to say, I have deep philosophical disagreements with its message, which, even to mention them, make me an intolerable prig who takes himself way too seriously. So let’s not get into it. Regardless, I’m irritated whenever that song is on, and the trite humanistic lyrics only send me into a tailspin thinking about my wider disagreements with John, which hurts, because I also love him deeply (obviously). After a minute or two of listening, I’m pretty much buried in a full-fledged argument with him over everything, and then I’m mad at all my friends and family too.
Hating one song in the world isn’t such an unbearable curse. Until February 2008:
Yeah, that was the month David Archuleta sang Imagine on American Idol. Big deal, right? Well, do you remember how crazy Utah was when David freaking Archuleta was on American Idol? You couldn’t escape. He was on every local news program, on every blog, on everyone’s lips. And when he performed that song in particular, people went freaking nuts. And such a beautiful song! One of the most beautiful songs ever written! Who wouldn’t be blown away by that extraordinary song!
Stupid David Archuleta. I spent a couple weeks feeling exactly like Lucy feels on pizza night. You’re alone, but you don’t think you should be, because if people were half intelligent, they’d hate the thing as much as you do, but even bringing it up, let alone trying to explain why they should hate it, would make you look like such a self-absorbed buzzkill, that’s it’s best to just shut your yap and say nothing at all, which results in you sitting silently while everyone exults in the moment of mass idiocy. Sometimes having more refined tastes means sitting it out while the world has a rockin’ time with Randy Jackson.
Seriously, why didn’t you sing the first verse, David? Pansy.