Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cilantro vs. Cable Television

With a title like that how could you not read further?!

The definition of hate: to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest.

I've hated many things in my life from time to time. Bosses, certain situations I've found myself in, the most annoying noise on the planet that a teacher used to make "sucking on her teeth," and various other things, like most people do over the course of a few decades. But I can honestly say that the only thing I really hate right now is cilantro.

Hate it. Destest it. Loathe it. Abhor it. I know that some people love its fresh, vibrant, better-than-parsley taste, but for me, I think I'd rather chew on some tin foil. I hate it so much that if I were dining with the President at the White House, and cilantro was in one of the dishes, I would spit it out (discreetly of course) and politely refrain from eating the rest of what I'm sure would be a gourmet meal prepared by an exceptional chef.

Okay, you get the picture. I am repulsed by this particular seasoning that, to me, tastes like the bottom of a garbage can. However, just because I feel such an aversion to this particular thing, you don't see me parading around downtown Boulder holding signs stating, "I hate cilantro!" Or "Cilantro is the herb of the devil!" You also don't see me holding disruptive protests outside restaurants that serve it on some of their menu items. Nor do I go around to gardens ripping up the plants or setting fire to the packets of cilantro seeds at Home Depot.

Why? Because these acts are stupid and ridiculous. If I don't like cilantro, the solution is very simple: I don't eat it.

The same goes for television shows (and books, and movies, etc.) that people have a particular aversion toward. My advice to them is just as simple: Don't watch it.

It amazes me that people take so much time to vilify and denounce things on televsion that they have a choice to not watch. Most people now have more than 500 channels to choose from - surely there's something else available that will fit their fancy.

Now, the reality is, there is indeed a lot of drek on TV these days. For the hundreds of shows broadcast every day, my family and I watch very few of them. And amazingly, no one is forcing us to watch the other ones that we have no interest in or that may upset or offend us. How grateful we are that we live in a country where the government doesn't decide what we are allowed to watch and when.

Yet people feel the need to make their opinions known (see last post) time and again, about what offends them and what should be taken off of the airwaves. Believe me, I think that about 75% of what is currently on television shouldn't be watched by anyone. But it's not my choice as to what people watch, any more than it's someone else's to tell me what to watch. People think that they are protecting the greater good by protesting shows or banning certain movies from the public. I disagree. It's just another example of how certain highly opinionated people think that they are unequivocally right, that everyone else is wrong, and that their way is the only way.

Very annoying, judgemental, and completely unnecessary.

Now it turns out, that some people are genetically predisposed to have an aversion to cilantro. There have been studies published recently explaining why some people hate it to the point of aversion. In fact, the title of one of the articles about this is titled, "Cilantro Haters - It's Not Your Fault."

However, no one is genetically predisposed to hate and be prejudiced against other people. Prejudice and judgmental attitudes are all learned behavior. No one comes out of the womb hating a particular race of people or having strong opinions against a world religion. Everything that is put into our brains comes from somewhere else, which often, unfortunately, can be detrimental to our fellow men and women.

So, cilantro? You can keep it. Your single-minded, short-sighted, overly judgmental opinions? You can keep those too.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

Do you know how I spent this Mother's Day? At a luxurious brunch in downtown Denver? Nope. Enjoying a delicious breakfast in bed surrounded by the Sunday paper? Uh uh. Being showered with cards and gifts and flowers and chocolates? Not exactly.

Instead I was sitting in 40-degree, slightly rainy, very windy weather at my son's baseball tournament. It was cold, uncomfortable, and rather early in the morning to boot. Everyone around me was complaining: "I'm so cold!" "I can't believe this weather!" "Do you believe this is how we have to spend Mother's Day?" etc. etc. It was, quite simply, no fun.But as I sat there listening to these moms complain, a thought came over me that instantly made me feel much warmer inside:

There's nowhere else I'd rather be.

I thought about the friends we'd had who had suffered through years of infertility treatments, who would have given anything to be sitting exactly where I was sitting right now. I thought about the parents we know with special needs children, who will never be able to play baseball, nor lead what are considered to be "normal" lives. I thought about the empty-nester who had said to me recently, "I wish I hadn't stressed so much when my kids were young. I wish I had enjoyed it more. Now they are gone and I can't get that time back." And I thought about the friends who lost their parents at early ages, who never got to experience the joy and pride of having a parent cheer for them at various events and activities.

I thought about all of this as I pulled my blanket a little tighter around me and smiled quietly to myself. Nothing like feeling grateful instead of annoyed and frustrated.

The game continued, and my son, who was pitching, had a particularly good inning. He threw many strikes, and then finished it out with double play as he caught a line drive and then threw the base runner out at first. As he turned to leave the mound, he looked up into the stands. He found me, (who was cheering wildly) and smiled the biggest, widest, happiest grin - it was so bright it lit up the field. It was a smile meant just for me. I smiled back, just as largely, and gave him a thumbs up as his team surrounded him, slapping him on the back as they ran together toward the dugout.

There's nowhere else I'd rather be.

Happy Mother's Day indeed.