A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Hating

 

… I hate people now. Well, not all people, of course. Just people who voted for Trump  … Actually, Trump voters are not the only people I hate. I also hate Jill Stein voters and Gary Johnson voters and Bernie deadenders with their ridiculous delegates math … Looking at you, Susan Sarandon and Slavoj Zizek! You are idiots and my heart seethes with wrath against you. And of course, I hate myself, too. That’s how hate works.” (Year One: My Anger Management by Katha Pollitt)

I read the entire article by Ms. Pollitt. By the time I finished, and it wasn’t that long, I was emotionally drained. We have never met, but she obviously hates me on any number of levels. I wondered if I should find a way to hate her back, that seemed like the appropriate respond, but the only emotion I could muster was pity. If she knew I pitied her, I’m pretty sure she would become even more enraged. In some perverse way, hate has become a virtue (if you hate the “right” people).

If you hate that much, then what brings you joy? I’m not sure I want to know. Is happiness considered a weakness?

Of course, Ms. Pollitt hardly has the monopoly on hate. If you read the comments thread of any, even slightly controversial news article you will understand that. The main purpose of social media in general is to provide the opportunity to post cute cat videos and engage each other in heated and often hateful debates over extremely trivial subjects.

I’m no saint, ask my family. I get mad. I’ve been known to lose my temper and slam inanimate objects around. I’m not proud of that and I always feel very silly and juvenile when I cool off. But that’s not hate, that’s just me channeling my inner two-year-old.

After reading her article I tried to find someone to hate. In my mind I ran through the entire catalog of everyone I know or have ever known, but couldn’t come up with anyone truly hate-worthy. Maybe I don’t know enough people. Maybe I’m emotionally deficient, somehow lacking in the full range of feelings I should possess. I’m pretty sure if someone deliberately harmed a member of my family I could hate them, but I don’t want to test that theory for obvious reasons.

Maybe I’m starting too big, perhaps I should bring it down a notch. Mosquitos … poison ivy … people who throw trash out of their car?

I’m getting closer but still haven’t achieved the right level of vitriol.

Wait a minute … I think I’ve got it.

It’s that stuff in the aerosol can that is passed off as cheese. Yes! I’m calling you out, Cheese Whiz! Even the name is an abomination. It contains no real cheese, manufactured of various chemicals, has no redeeming value. Did I mention it’s squirted out of an aerosol can?

I hate you Cheese Whiz!

I’m not sure I feel any better, but at least it’s a start down the path of hate.

Poppy

Tonight, I Sliced a Tomato …

Tonight, I sliced a tomato. It may have been the most important thing I’ve done all day. You see, it didn’t involve Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey or Hillary Clinton.

Tomatoes, like people, are ubiquitous, easily found but for the most part bland and sometimes rotten. My go-to source for good tomatoes, the Ferguson Farmer’s Market has closed for the year. I was left with only grocery store options. If you are thinking, what’s the big deal, then you don’t understand tomatoes.

Like you, I am bombarded with news and information to the point I don’t know what to believe. This is when I narrow the focus of my thoughts. There are few things that I know for sure, but one of them is the love of my family, and darn it, they are going to get the best tomato I can find!

I seriously debated just skipping the tomato, a tasteless tomato is worse than no tomato at all. But I was on a mission, and I was in a mood … this was for family and I was going to give it my best.

I paced in front of the produce section. The options were limited, hot-house beefsteak tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and tomatoes pitched as still being attached to the vine. Looking them over, if I were a tomato, I would not have dated any of them. Thankfully, I am not a tomato.

I was preparing dinner for 3 members of my family. It was a simple menu of roasted potatoes and onions and a sandwich constructed of good deli turkey, mayo mixed with a few shakes of Frank’s Hot Sauce to spread over the brioche bun, a slice of provolone cheese melted on top with a garnish of avocado and tomato slices. Can’t miss!

I made the mistake of turning on my iPhone right after sliding the potatoes into the oven to roast. I had a few moments to kill, so I thought I would catch up on the news … big mistake. There was nothing that I needed (or wanted) to know, there were descriptions of things I really didn’t want bouncing around in my head, so I turned it off.

I grabbed the tomato I selected, peeled off the little sticker with the price code, ran my thumb across it’s surface, laid it on my cutting board and raised my chef’s knife. The slices needed to be thick enough to taste but nor so thick as to make eating difficult. A gentle sprinkle of sea salt compensated for any lack of flavor.

There are moments when things come into focus, when it’s easy to separate the wheat from the chaff. It’s rarely big events … most of the time it’s the ordinary, the common. The trick is learning how to spot them.

Screw you Harvey, Donald, Kevin and Hillary, tonight I’m slicing a tomato for my family!

Poppy

 


Sanibel Island t-shirts, souvenirs and gifts  www.sanibelslacker.com