I do not like lettuce, especially in salad. I’ve overcome a lot of my food biases over the years, but that’s one I just can’t seem to manage. It just doesn’t taste good to me. It’s bitter, and crunchy in all the wrong ways. I admit it’s probably irrational, but there it is. I won’t eat lettuce if I can help it.
So you can imagine my response the other day when a colleague at work stopped by my desk with a lettuce. She’d found a really good sale on lettuce and decided to pick up a bunch and share them with her co-workers. She wanted to give me a head of lettuce.
That’s right. I laid into her. I mean, who wouldn’t? How arrogant of her to assume that just because she loves lettuce everyone else will, too. How dare she try to force her food choices on me! I don’t care how common it is to love lettuce–that’s actually kind of the point! All these lettuce-eaters really should be more sensitive to the rest of us who just don’t agree with their tastes.
Oh, she tried to defend herself, claiming she didn’t know I felt so strongly about lettuce, and that shouldn’t it be the thought that counts? I wouldn’t let her off that easily. I’m sick of lettuce lovers lording their produce over me. The threw that lettuce back at her and told her to either respect my food choices or leave me alone. The nerve of that woman! Seriously, I’m reconsidering our friendship.
Okay, you’re probably guessing by now that I didn’t really do that, and that I’m just trying to make a point. The whole story is allegorical, of course. I would never be that mean to someone with such clearly good intentions. I’m not sure I could be that mean.
That’s why a Facebook meme going around lately has really caught my attention. I decided to post about it rather than just share it. The meme addresses the ongoing controversy over wishing people a merry Christmas. The point they try to make is that if someone is wishing you well, regardless of the approach, why not just accept it in the spirit intended and count yourself fortunate to be the receiver of someone else’s good will.
Hear, hear, I say. Hannukah is very important to some people out there. Kwanzaa is important to other people. For that matter, Dr. Who is important to a lot of my friends. I know some people for whom Winter Solstice is a fond event. Knowing that, why on earth would I take offense if someone were to wish me a Happy Solstice? It’s something meaningful to them, and they want to share some of that happiness with me. Thank you! I’m pleased you would think of me.
So the more I think of it, these people who get bent out of shape because someone wishes them Merry Christmas are just sad. What has warped their minds so badly that they can’t just accept a little good will from another human being. Like it or not, Christmas is a rather large common denominator in this country and much of the world. If someone wants to share a little happiness they feel, what’s wrong with that?
I used to live in Boise, and the Boise State Bronco football team was approaching religion status. It got a bit much to take sometimes, I’ll admit. I went to Idaho State University, and our team stank. We were regularly demolished by BSU. But would I grouch at someone if they invited me to their tailgate party? Would I bite the head off my coworker who asked me what I thought of the last game, assuming I’d watched it? No. Of course not. Another human being tried to make a positive connection with me over something that brings them happiness. Why should that merit a negative reaction?
In spite of my overdose of Bronco-mania, I learned to pay attention to BSU football because it mattered to people who mattered to me. It helped to be able to do more than just decline invitations or cut off the conversation quickly. Even just a “I didn’t see it, but I heard we won. What did I miss out on?” and a few minutes of polite listening didn’t really cost me anything, showed my willingness to accept their attempt to connect, and built some good will between us. I’d like to think that’s a better outcome than getting offended and rejecting their good will.
On the other hand, the U of U / BYU rivalry down here in Salt Lake is just nuts. Seriously, people. Get a life. 😉 Just kidding. Kind of.
So I guess those of you who prefer to get offended in some attempt to teach the oppressive majority a thing or two about sensitivity, feel free to continue if you must. You’re certainly teaching people things, but it’s not the lesson you intended, I suspect. I believe it’s better to “be a good human being”, as the meme goes, and give and accept kind thoughts and wishes freely. There is far too little of that as is.
So go ahead, wish me a Excellent Festivus, Ramadan, or Holi. And may I just say, may your sonic screwdriver never run out of power.
(Okay, Whovians, seriously, if there’s a proper Who-related greeting of good will, please let me know. I don’t want to sound lame. 😉 )
(Yeah, I know. Too late!)
(Happy Hannukah anyway!)