“I love pizza.”
“I love pizza, too! It’s my favorite!”
“What’s your favorite kind?”
“Deep dish with white sauce and chicken, tomato and spinach!”
“Wait. What? That’s barely even pizza.”
“Of course it’s pizza. I get it from pizza makers. What’s your favorite kind?”
“Normal stuff! Pepperoni. Sausage. Mushroom. Extra cheese. Tomato sauce. New York-style crust, preferably.”
“Sausage? Thin crust? Gross!”
A couple of human beings with a shared passion. And still disagreeing.
One of the worst things about me is my ability to make people feel like I don’t respect them when my personal tastes differ from theirs.
It might even be why I’m not married anymore.
Because my perfectly intelligent wife couldn’t flip through TV stations and pause on 16 and Pregnant or some other morally bankrupt show without me making some snide comment about it that made her feel like I didn’t respect her.
Because everything I do is so smart and righteous!!! Excuse me while I drink too much and air hump something, puke in the bathroom, and play Grand Theft Auto V all morning while I recover from the hangover.
I’m such an asshole sometimes.
“I love music.”
“I love music, too! It’s my favorite!”
“What’s your favorite band?”
“I mostly listen to whatever is popular on the radio!”
“I love peanut butter.”
“I love peanut butter, too! It’s my favorite!”
“Crunchy or creamy?”
“Creamy, of course!”
“I love wine.”
“I love wine, too! It’s my favorite! What’s your favorite kind?”
“I like many wines, but lean heavily toward dry reds.”
“Ohhh. You’re one of ‘those’! I like sweet wines!”
“Like boxed white zin?”
I wonder why it is that so many of us have so much trouble accepting that other people have radically different tastes and points of view, then embracing and acknowledging that it’s not only okay, but preferable to everyone liking the exact same things.
“I love God and want to go to heaven!”
“I love God and want to go to heaven, too! Also I’m gay and pro-choice.”
“Burn in hell, sinner.”
Why do we fight it? Politics? Is that why? The political arena is a useful place for healthy debate and exchanging ideas. But out here, where 99 percent of us live, why do we treat people like shit because they voted for the other guy in the last election?
If an asteroid was going to destroy the planet tomorrow, I wonder how many people would care about who voted for who.
“I love reading.”
“I love reading, too! It’s my favorite!”
“What do you like to read?”
“French poetry, biographies, and romance novels. Want to borrow a book?”
We’re all different. But we’re all the same, too. We all have different interests and passions and beliefs.
Many people like sports! But golf fans don’t have much to discuss with auto racing fans. Soccer fans don’t have much to discuss with baseball fans.
Many people like sex! But straight people don’t like the same things as gay people. And the things that make one person feel good can feel like a violation to another.
Many people love beer and movies and food and clothes and dancing and charitable causes and writing and pets and an infinite number of other things.
Hobbies and passions that unite massive amounts of people. Yet, even within those groups of common interests, there are people with radically different tastes and opinions about what is “right” or what is “best.”
People knew it was okay to enslave African people like property and treat them shitty.
People knew if they hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings that they would die martyrs and be rewarded in heaven.
People knew the world was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.
People knew Y2K was going to cripple the world’s infrastructure.
People knew Bill Cosby was a good man.
People know they’re right and people who disagree are wrong. The people who are wrong know they’re right.
Maybe nobody really knows anything. And maybe thinking we do is holding us back from being the best versions of ourselves.
Maybe creamy peanut butter is actually better than extra crunchy peanut butter.
Maybe popular music is actually awesome. After all, it’s popular!
Maybe people who don’t like craft beer actually still like beer.
Maybe people who prefer white pizza actually do qualify as pizza lovers.
Maybe we’re always just too close to the mosaic to see what everything really looks like from the big-picture perspective. To see why that piece is here and that piece is there. And why they’re all different shapes and sizes and colors.
Step back and look.
A little bit further.