I’m a pretty negative guy. A total hater. I hate so many types of people that I can’t name them all. They include spitters, lip-smackers, and mouth-breathers; high-fivers, back-slappers, and fake-punchers; Republicans, evangelicals, and frat boys; people who stand at escalators and moving sidewalks, and those who press the elevator button more than once; adults who mistreat children, and, paradoxically, children themselves. And that’s just a start.
But I’m not all hate. I also love some people. Number one: other haters. Not just any haters, though. You’ll never see me at a Tea Party rally, no matter how desperately I might want to try on a three-cornered hat. Their hatred is unfair, and just as unforgivably, it’s boring. And Tea Partiers can’t spell, achieving a trifecta that hoists them to the top of the list of people I hate. Give me interesting haters, like Fran Lebowitz, who hates people who cross their sevens, Mark E. Smith, who hates Kojak (and calls him “a twat”), or Nabokov, who hated writers who used the phrase “the moment of truth.”
How much do I love haters? I’ll give you an extreme example: I lived with a woman despite her irrational jealousy, despite our daily screaming fights, despite the three different venereal diseases she gave me, because she hated people who dressed their animals. It would drive her wild with fury to see a dog in a t-shirt or a cat wearing a sweater, and I was helplessly in love. We might have spared each other years of pain if only she hadn’t hated people who thought it was cute to put a hat on a parrot. Thankfully I somehow was added to her hate list (perhaps one morning I looked too much like a bear in pajamas), freeing us both to return to hating independently.
Less painfully, there’s Jason, one of my oldest and best friends in New York, and a world-class hater. He gets so angry that he mutters to himself. And who makes him so angry? People who wear winter clothes in warm weather. I’m sometimes afraid for those people when Jason sees them on the street. The elderly often dress too warm because they don’t feel the heat, but Jason doesn’t make allowances for age. They still make him furious. He’s mad. He’s really, really mad. And I pray he always will be.
Not surprisingly, I married a hater. My wife hates with all the rigor of her Teutonic heritage. Of course, like the American she has become, she hates bureaucrats, plumbers, and contractors, but what won my heart is her existential hatred of clowns, fortune-tellers, and mattress salesmen. I love that about her and I look forward to a long life of hating together.
Perhaps you find me hateful after reading this? That’s fine. Trust me, if anyone understands, it is I.