Hot Air: Wherein I Alienate Most Of The World

People fascinate me.

A friend on social media posted a comment the other day about having inadvertently bought a loaf of gluten-free bread. It tasted terrible, acc’d’g to him. His post was written as a farewell letter to the loaf as he threw it in the garbage. Among other bon mots, he typed:

… [Y]ou taste like sadness and fatigue.


I won’t give you to the birds because I don’t hate them.

I commented that this was fairly funny stuff. I called him a wordsmith. As for gluten-free things, I can take them or leave them — mostly leave them. I had nothing to add to his post re: the relative gustatory merits of g-f bread or any other related comestible. The main reason I remain non-committal is, frankly, I don’t care. You could ask me if I prefer Drake to Panda and I would have nothing to say, as they are irrelevant to me. Similarly, should someone query me about my feelings for, say, the Captain America, X-Men, or Suicide Squad movies this summer, I would be mum.

That’s how I feel about gluten-free stuff. It exists. I’ve tried it, lots of times. No corner of my cranium is occupied with strong emotions concerning it. My soc. med. friend, though, doesn’t like it.


Ick, He Says

That seems an inarguable point. No one can justifiably say, Hey, buddy, you’re wrong. They can’t because, well, they’re his goddamned taste buds, see?

Reminds me of the time I was sitting around with a bunch of guys, drinking spirits, smoking cigars, and celebrating yet another Chicago Bulls NBA championship. The talk got around to the game of soccer.

“The most boring freakin’ sport in the solar system,” I pontificated.

Now, this puts me at odds with the vast majority of the world’s peoples. (And you wonder why I’m so often misanthropic?) But that’s okay because I figure if everybody likes something, it must somehow be either innocuous to the point of inanity or basically evil. Soccer, I held then — and hold now — is innocuous to the point of inanity, what with dozens of guys in shorts running around like chipmunks on a field bigger than the nation of Moldova, unable to use their hands, and scoring a goal once in a lifetime. (Their hands, people! The very things that make them human, for chrissakes! And when one of them commits some imperceptible violation of the rules, the referee punishes him my holding a gayly colored card over his head. Was this sport designed for the anencephalic?) Not only that, throughout its history it has flirted with evil. For instance, when it was a mere whippersnapper among competitive pursuits in the Eight Century, the proto-game that would become soccer (or, as our Euro friends call it, association football) took on an entirely grisly hue:

The first Football games played in Britain were between the locals of the east of England, beginning with a legendary game that involved kicking around the severed head of a Danish prince that they had defeated in a war. These games were violent, where injury and death were not uncommon.

What a delight. Talk about the “agony of defeat.”

So, yes, inane and evil. That’s soccer. Boring, too, which is its worst sin in my book.

Again, that’s an inarguable point. I watch soccer — I am bored. No one can state that I am not. But one of my pals that day, a man equally as pontifical as I am, got hot. “That’s stupid! You’re wrong!” he shouted. Even though this was the fellow who’d passed out the cigars, I felt compelled to lecture him on how he was violating all principals of logic and thought by telling me I was wrong when I said soccer is boring. (OTOH, had he been the fellow who supplied the spirits, why, I would have kept my mouth shut. I know which side my bread is buttered on.)

Let’s look at this from the reverse point of view. Longtime Pencillistas know I am the world’s greatest Cubs fan. I love baseball in general. I’ll watch any game, any time, between any teams, whether I have a rooting interest or not. I simply enjoy watching grown men play baseball.

Now someone might say, Baseball is deadly boring. The only thing I could say to that sad soul is, You’re right. If you say you are bored to the grave by it, it must be so.

Or how about this? If a gal is madly in love with a homely character and one day confides to me that this man is the most gorgeous creature on the planet, it’s not merely the threat of a busted nose that prevents me from saying, Whaddya, outta your mind?

I mean, hell, loads of people throughout the last six decades have sworn to high heaven that Mick Jagger is the sexiest thing alive. To me, he’s a cowfish — but I cannot tell them they’ve made a horrible mistake, even if I’d love to.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 11.39.43 PM

Separated At Birth?

Anyway, several commenters on my friend’s post concerning gluten-free bread took him to task. Gluten-free bread was fabulous, marvelous, and caused in them spontaneous orgasms with the sinking of their choppers into the first slice of the stuff, they said. And, they added, my friend was a cad for wishing ill upon all those who suffer from the various forms of gluten intolerance, allergy, and toxicity.

Next thing I knew, my friend was apologizing and back-tracking like a political champ:

I appreciate the difficulties of anyone who needs to avoid gluten. I hope the food industries continue to produce tasty alternatives to gluten-rich foods.

Jeez! All because he stated something beyond debate, that gluten-free bread, to him, tastes like hell.

The other day I read an essay written by an obviously hypersensitive soul who demanded that people on social media, in newspapers and magazines, on TV and radio, and in all walks of life preface anything they have to say with the words, I think…, or I believe…. Should this become law, I pledge to leap off the Tulip Trestle viaduct in Greene County at its highest pointing above the rock hard ground.

This essayist claims to have felt oppressed by the bullies of the world who want to force their opinions upon her. These tyrants are crushing her, she implied, with their slants on everything from who they’re voting for in November to which is the better pet, the cat or the dog. (It’s the dog, naturally.)

She was as serious as a heart attack.

Problem is, one of the first rules of writing is to avoid like a boxful of wolf spiders typing the words I think… or I believe…. The reason is, well, of course I think. It’s obvious I believe. Any sentient being should know that. These are words pouring out of my keyboard, soundlessly spoken by me before I clack them out, the fruits of my brilliance. I’m doing it; I’m saying it. For pity’s sake, your high school freshman composition teacher told you not to use those moderators.

See, we’ve become so territorial in our beliefs and so thin-skinned in our reactions to others’ beliefs that we’re calling for grammar school constructions lest we hurt some fragile bunny. You can’t just be for Hillary while I’m for Trump. No! You must be trying to destroy me and my way of life.

Why, just hearing about your taste in bread oppresses me. How dare you opine without telling me you opine. For that matter, you should mail me a formal apology before even typing your opinion out on the computer screen next time.

Yeah. People fascinate me. And they annoy the living hell out of me.

Well, I believe they annoy the living hell out of me.

2 thoughts on “Hot Air: Wherein I Alienate Most Of The World

  1. Susan Sandberg says:

    I constantly fight the battle of getting our IU students to stop with the bloody “I think” and “I believe” in their writing. Fer christsakes, you wouldn’t be writing it if you didn’t believe it, now would you? But then my Dad was my high school English teacher, so I got that lesson drilled in pretty good. As for that cowfish, he actually looks more like Trump – definitely not sexy. And it’s not what Mick Jagger looks like, it’s that cocky rock and roll swagger that makes us swoon. And he’s not running for President. All in the eye of the beholder, right?

  2. don moore says:

    If you and Susan got your way on this matter, this great song would be considerably shorter.

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