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Fudd

People occasionally ask me, “Do you ever get tired of people trying to tear your opinions down? It would just kill me to have people say awful things about me in the paper.”

I usually just shrug my shoulders and grin the kind of grin a dog grins when he gets back from chasing cats with a scratch on his nose. Some people are dog people, some people are cat people. “What are you gonna do?” is my usual reply.

Of course, no columnist can pretend it’s pleasant to read harshly unfavorable criticisms. The very traits which make some people enjoy having you around will make other people hate the sight of you. No one can expect to be liked by everyone.



I was at a local restaurant recently, having a nice lunch with a pack of friends, when I noticed an old acquaintance staring me down. He glared at me for a half-hour straight with a look that could unravel a ball of yarn. I just ignored it and ate my chow, but you have to wonder. Is this the guy who threatened your life? Is this the guy who smashed your mailbox? Is this the guy who will ruin a perfectly good lunch?

Herbert Bayard Swope once said, “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure – try to please everybody.” Readers of this column know that’s not gonna happen. Even my closest allies disagree with me from time to time. So what?



Each one of us has had a different set of life experiences, and each one of us have a different set of solutions to deal with life’s problems. None of us really understands the phenomenon of personal preferences, our likes and dislikes. It’s familiar to us all, and yet it remains a mystery.

Why do you like some people and dislike others?

Look around you at people on the street or in the grocery store. Why do you like some and not others? First-impression preferences are almost instantaneous. In a matter of seconds we measure height, weight, hair color, eye color, skin color, the way they dress, the car they drive, the way they walk, the way they talk, or a single opinion … and Sha-Zam!, their character’s measured and we like them or we don’t.

This fact is so disconcerting to logic and common sense that most people wouldn’t admit it. We conjure up all sorts of reasons for our feelings. We say, sweepingly, “I like Bob because he speaks his mind.” And yet we dislike others when they speak theirs. “I like Richard because he stands up for freedom.” And yet we dislike others when they act free. “I like Lynn because she believes in God.” And yet we dislike others for their belief in God. “I dislike Bill because he lied.” And yet we support others in spite of their lies.

The simple point is, we may like some people for the exact same reason we dislike others. It’s all a matter of interpretation. How many devotedly good people have rubbed you intolerably the wrong way?

The phenomenon of liking and disliking is a mysterious thing. Recognizing the fact that not everyone who knows you or knows of you is going to like you is a sobering realization. Each one of us is bound to encounter persons who dislike us, and we might as well accept this universal experience without too much fuss.

A great deal of unhappiness, irritability and vain regret could be eliminated from our lives if we’d just accept the fact that irrational dislikes apply to us as easily as we apply them to others.

I don’t like many of the policies of President Bush, but I was a little surprised to hear that Doug Meyers interpreted my dislike for the president’s policies as a hatred for Bush and the conservatives. I have several good friends and even some family members who are conservatives. I don’t hate any of them.

In fact, I sat down for a long time and tried to think of one person I actually really hate, but I couldn’t think of one. I hate the fact that we bombed a country because they had weapons of mass destruction and then we didn’t find one single weapon of mass destruction. I also hate the appearance of American apathy in this regard.

But you know what? I don’t hate Doug Meyers. I hate that he high-jumped to conclusions which weren’t true, and I just know he’ll be glad that I corrected the error if he truly believes in truth.

May Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Jah, Jahweh, Jehovah and all the other Gods bless America and even some of the non-Americans as well.

Pleasingly,

Bernie

Silt resident Bernie Boettcher’s column pleases people every other Thursday in the Post Independent. E-mail: morefudd@yahoo.com


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