Dislikers Anonymous

Coming of age in the Hatin’ Eighties, I tried to embrace the lovey-dovey touchy-feely ethos of the 1990s and the Aughts. I even used expressions like “It’s all good.”

But it didn’t take. I have to admit–I’m a hater; I dislike people. They bother me, they disappoint me, they lie, and I prefer nature. When I see land being cleared for new houses for happy new families I cry. When I hear about new breakthroughs in medical science I mutter “Yeah, and it’ll cost you your net worth.”

I’m not a Despiser, however, let’s get that clear. Just a hater. Ok, technically speaking, as per my 8th grade English teacher, I’m a Disliker, not a hater. Hitler was a hater. I’m not that.

(Moment of self-doubt:  Am I?)

But still, everyone knows the pathetic history of the word “dislike”–after hundreds of years it’s gotten nowhere–no one uses it! One of the English language’s poorest performing elements. People hate “dislike.” They despise it!

Google “Haters Anonymous” and you get hundreds of thousands of results including a new pop song. Google “Dislikers Anonymous” and you get nothing. Google “dislikers” and you get something about people on YouTube who don’t like the new pop songs.

In fact, I was going to call this piece “Haters Anonymous” but I had to cancel that when I saw there were so many other people with similar ideas. I’d hate to be part of a big group of people. I’d rather be alone, even if it means using that lamest of words, “dislike.”

Google “dislikers anonymous” now and all you’ll get is me, by myself, standing apart, terminally contemptuous, hopelessly negative, wallowing in pessimism, exulting in misanthropy.

Conflicting Imperatives from the Ethos of the Age

The Ethos says:

Get your self centered without getting self-centered.

Be open to complexity and exceptions without being overly nuanced.

Live for the moment without improvidence.

Be your own man as a team player.

Find out who you are by transcending yourself.

Avoid sophistry and certitude.

Live for today and don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

Know your limits and other people’s limits without ever testing or pushing them.

Be a good Samaritan not a sucker.

Be neither paralyzed by skepticism nor blinded by faith.

The future belongs to realistic dreamers.

Be busy like the bee–busy smelling flowers. And hive work. Lots of hive work.

For the religious: Put away the things of childhood¹ for they are of the Kingdom of Heaven.²  Now go seek ye the Kingdom of Heaven.³

Be neither promiscuous nor chaste. Just stay on the right side of the bell-curve of vice, wherever that may be.

Stand up and be counted then sit down and shut up. Know exactly when either is appropriate–there are no firm rules but you still have to know them.

Be pragmatic in your idealism, and principled in your pragmatism. Generally.

Only marry someone if you’re seriously willing to spend the next eight years with them. It’s a big commitment.

Change the system without threatening anyone. Politely modify the status quo. Venerate that which you obsolesce and replace.

Be classy by accident. (4)

Always be the one who always looked the way current fashion dictates long before it was fashionable.(5) Or just give up and wait 20 years.

Joke Notes

1.  1 Corinthians 13:11
2.  Matthew 18:3 and 4; Matthew 19:14
3.  Matthew 6:33
4. The accident of birth into a higher class being the fundamental accident that is at the root of classiness.
5. Can’t be done? When you’re young or wealthy many things are possible–just change your friends every time you change your fashions.