We are the things we enjoy.
I hate using the word “things” because it is so abstract and vague. What does that even mean? I have tried, over and over, to replace the word “Things” with actual nouns that make more sense, but it’s difficult. It’s like trying to call something that’s blue another word besides “blue.” And, yes, I know that saying “something” is just as bad as saying “things.” This is a conversation that only writers have. If you don’t write, I imagine you don’t care what words you use, overuse, abuse or under-use. This actually keeps me up at night. I also use the word “actually” too much, as well.
But, back to my subject. We are the (sigh) things we enjoy. This has sort of occurred to me as I have decided that I’m not interested in the upcoming movie release of The Hunger Games. I have three reasons why I don’t care about the movie.
- I haven’t read the books. I just bought a Hemingway novel, a book of essays by a Nobel Prize winner, a book of essays by James Baldwin and an econ book about the crash of 2008. After I read all these, then I might get to “The Hunger Games.”
- I don’t particularly care.
- My lack of caring annoys people.
Let’s talk about each one, individually. I have a hard time taking book recommendations from people when there are millions of books that I should read. If you ask ten people, they will give you ten different books that are “MOST READS.” That’s 100 books. So I never feel guilty when someone says, “You should read the Hunger Games.” I haven’t read War and Peace either. Which one do I read first? Decisions, decisions. As for number two, if you know me even a little bit, you know I spend much of my time keeping the number of things I care about down to ten. Four of them are always taken up. Myself, my family, my friends, my job. That leaves six left. My roommate’s dogs take up a slot. The fridge in our house stopped making ice. That takes up a slot. My shoes and My vinyl records take a slot up each. Global warming takes up a slot. That leaves one free slot for a rotation of different problems that I deem worth my attention. My bowel movements are currently taking up that free slot.
Reason number 3 is the one that I have to confront. It is wrong for me to dislike something because everyone likes it. I do this. Constantly and Consistently. The reason I do this is because it’s funny to me. It’s not, however, funny or fun for everyone. So I have to do the math. I can’t hate your hair-do. If I did that, I would hurt your feelings. But I can make fun of your love of The Hunger Games. It might hurt your feelings, my raw hatred, but it is fine because it’s just a book/movie combo. In a year, you won’t remember the movie; the book will be in the bottom of your closet. And, yes, yes, I don’t have to find joy in disliking things that you enjoy. And, yes, it’s not right for me to dislike something I haven’t even read. But, I mean, whatever.
Thus, it stings a bit when I dislike something you enjoy. That thing is you, isn’t it? If I say I don’t care about a book you care about or about a movie you want to see, I’m actually saying that I don’t care about you. Except that’s not what I’m saying at all. But I can understand how you feel that way. I am The Matrix. I am Catch 22. I am Battlestar Galactica. When you say you don’t like these things, you say you don’t like me. But saying you don’t like something I love is a safe place for you. Hate me, all of you. Disdain all I adore. Because, really and truthfully, from the bottom of my heart, I don’t give a shit.
UPDATE: This whole post was about things I love vs. things everyone else love. This, right here, is a perfect example of something I really, really, really love.