A few months ago I had a friend request on Facebook from someone I didn’t know. That’s not all that unusual. Some requests come from people who share mutual friends. Some are from people who have similar interests in dogs or music or films or literature or social issues. In this instance the request was from a man who came from the town in Montana where we used to live.
Since I worked for, and then later published a newspaper in that town, I met a lot of people along the way. I don’t always remember them right off the bat, so I try to err on the inclusive side. I’ll be re-thinking that. Today, on a thread on the Facebook page of a long-time and much beloved friend, this guy attacked me. That’s when I realized that somewhere along the line, he’d “de-friended” me. (Clearly, his absence had about as much impact as his presence.) No matter. But when I called him on this, he replied simply “Drivel.”
Turns out that he thought what I said or posted or believed constituted “drivel.” Well, apparently drivel has two meanings: “to let saliva dribble from the mouth” and “to talk stupidly and carelessly.” Though I may in fact drool occasionally while sleeping, I think the charge is an unfair one. However, I’m a great fan of Steve Martin, and found his book Pure Drivel quite brilliant, so at least I’m in good company.
You know what this asshat was referring to? My political opinions. Now, I didn’t ask to be his “friend,” I don’t even know him. I used to be relatively discreet about my liberal, leftist, progressive leanings when I lived in Montana– because I didn’t want to have my time wasted by Republicans trying to convert me. (I still don’t, so please, save your breath.) It was like the Democratic Underground, we only talked among ourselves.
Now I live in Ohio, a swing state, and I’m not going to be quiet about it anymore. If you look at the part of my Facebook profile that is available to the public it says right there that I am a “damned liberal.” If that’s not your cup of tea, then turn away.
However I sometimes worry that I am guilty of producing “drivel”, particularly now that I’m supposed to be writing about diet and exercise. You might have noticed that I find it hard to stay on topic. Many of the other diet and exercise writers have stopped following the blog. I’m sorry, diet and exercise just doesn’t hold my attention enough to write about it every day. If I can do it once a week, I’ll be in good form. So I write about other things– but it’s been quite a long time since I wrote about anything essential, and writing about essential things is like having protein in your diet. You go too long without it and you feel like you’re subsisting on intellectual cotton candy.
But my political opinions are not “drivel”. I hope that your political opinions are also carefully considered. I try to avoid conversations about politics with people who think differently than me in this area. If I care about them, I don’t want this to come between us– and if we engage over this we will fight. As for the Other, those I don’t know or care about, I’m sorry but you’re just beneath contempt.
My friend Martha puts up with all manner of crap from her friends and relatives in the deep south. Like her husband, they get all their information from Rupert Murdoch, and cannot be convinced that it simply is not true. I don’t know why she puts up with it. Tonight I came a little unglued with a couple of those “Christian” ladies arguing in favor of voter suppression, as if voter fraud is a problem in this country. It’s not a problem in this country. It isn’t. (You don’t have to take my word for it, click the link.)
Generally I don’t like to come unglued. I’m a great believer in civil discourse, though I will admit to there being a frisson of glee in just letting it fly. Neither of my parents were particularly patient and I have tried hard to improve on that. I do try to listen and be compassionate and inclusive. I’m really a nice person until you piss me off. (Stop laughing, it’s true.) But I am out of patience now. And I really have to find something worthwhile to write about.
Target 70 Steps 1938
Breakfast: two eggs, plain waffle, three rashers of bacon, blotted dry. Lunch: Lean Cuisine Spring Rolls, a cup of raw carrots. Dinner: Red beans and rice with two ounces of sausage. A package of m&ms.