OPINION: Now, from the 'hating' end of things

·5 min read

Jun. 18—After last week's column on love vs. hate appeared, a reader called to tell me she just "loved" my columns. But as to the photo attached to it last week, she said, "not so much." At least she didn't "hate" it.

I had to make an excuse. That's not the usual photo with my standing head, but our new night editor didn't know that, so she pulled it from the server. I wasn't around to object, because my husband and I were enjoying an evening with Steely Dan in Rogers at the AMP. I was designing pages on my laptop while on the curvy roads, but I didn't quite get finished before we arrived at the venue, and the bandwidth was destroyed by all the Donald Fagan fans sending selfies to their less fortunate friends. Most of them weren't invited right up to the stage, like Chris and I were, where we were within maybe 15 feet of Fagan. It's the closest I've been to a star in the music world since I was in my 20s. Unless you count Joe Mack, which you probably should.

Humans are as prone to overuse the word "hate" as we are "love." Although when I say I "hate" most of my photos, I mean it. To get one that's passable, the poor photographer usually has to snap around two dozen pics. And when I've put on a few extra pounds because I haven't had time to exercise as much as I need to, or eat the right stuff, the situation is truly grave. That's the case right now. If I can find time to cook keto, I'll do it.

I hate social media. I really loathe it. I enjoy the cat photos Stacy (Patrick) Pratt and others dutifully share, and the dog photos from Sarah Hart and other pooch people. And I like seeing people brag on the successes of their kids and grandkids. I find some of the memes shared by friends amusing. However, I hate what social media has done to the human race. I blame it and a few other things for the vitriol — hate — that's been spreading like wildfire for the past few years. I hate the fact that people think because they've seen some idiot's screed on Facebook they can claim to have "done my research." I hate the wide chasm that has developed with friends who differ politically, but could once stand to be around one another'. Social media is a cauldron of stupidity, and I hate stupidity.

That brings up another object of hate: most politicians. I don't think I'm exaggerating much when I say this, and I say it pretty often. I've said it often enough, in fact, that a few friends who are also politicians have told me I've hurt their feelings. Of course, I didn't mean them.But one of the more savvy friends reminded me of my frequent complain about people who level the worst insults imaginable at the media, and when I point out that I'm in the media, they say, "I don't mean you." Of course, they do mean me; they just don't realize it. They hate everything journalists stand for: real liberty, the Constitution, the "least of these," the voiceless, the pursuit of justice, and above all, the truth. But the point was taken, so henceforth, I'm going to say I hate politics. Most people do, but like the methhead staring at the dealer on the corner, we just can't stay away, no matter now much we want to. And I have no choice.

And speaking of people who hate all the media and lump us all together into one noxious heap, I hate — well, no, let's use the word "dislike" — them right back. And I hate those who circulate the fantasy that our newspaper and others are "communist scum." I was called a "liberal c-word" recently. Paradoxically, almost none of those who say these vile things have ever read this newspaper or any other, or they might be ashamed of themselves. Or would they? These are the people who, when you put evidence in front of their noses that they're passing outright lies, will deny the existence of the evidence. Ignore it and it will go away, they think, and then keep spreading the same falsehoods about us. Almost inevitably, they'll proudly proclaim their Christianity in the next breath, evidently having forgotten the Ninth Commandment. Perhaps they're just ignoring that and hoping it'll go away. A reading of Dante is in order, but most of them have never heard of that guy.

I hate the slow, degenerative downward slide into old age. I have friends who celebrate their oncoming antiquity, but I can't share their enthusiasm. I also have friends who were tickled pink about the onset of menopause, but apparently they didn't suffer hot flashes every 30 seconds. I'm not sure how anyone thinks waking up some mornings to realize you can't get out of bed without your cane is a status to brag about. Wrinkles, crepey skin, and the slow loss of hearing and vision, aren't causing me to burst into joyful song. Graying hair and receding hairlines don't inspire wide grins.

I hate the fact that I like most food, which I've already mentioned. I hate that my husband refuses to put down the toilet seat. I hate housekeeping. I hate leaky roofs almost as much as I hate leaky bladders — one associated with old houses, the other associated with old women. I hate beer, and vomiting; the two go hand in hand. I hate litterboxes, but I hate finding cats on the highway that have been obliterated by passing Walmart trucks, and the litterbox is a necessary evil for a house cat.

Yes, well. I'm not sure why, but I feel much better having confessed these things. I'm wondering if my admirer will call this time.