“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Super Cat and The Dolma Principle

I was going through old blog posts that I had never published and found this little gem written about 6 months ago. I don't remember what prompted me to write it. Usually there's a trigger. Can't recall what it was. I have to admit I did some editing and grammar correcting, but it's pretty much untouched from when I first wrote it.

Enjoy --



When I was in the 5th grade I had to write and make a book. I had to write a story, illustrate it, then make a book. I had to sew the paper together then attach it to the cover made out of cardboard and wallpaper samples.

I remember the stitch the teacher made us use to sew the pages together. I told her that my mom had taught me an easier one that looked the same and served the same purpose and tried to show it to her. She told me that she knew a bit more about sewing than my mom and I should just shut up and use her stitch. I told her that (up to that point in my life) I had never owned a store-bought blanket. All I had were hand-made quilts from my mom. She told me not to be a smart-ass and sent me on my way. (One time when I sprained my knee this same teacher didn't like the way my mom had put on the ace bandage and re-bandaged it. When I told her that that wasn't the way my mom did it she told me she knew a bit more about bandaging knees than my mom did. I told her my mom was an RN and not a 5th grade teacher so my mom knew more about bandages. She told me not to be a smart ass and sent me on my way.)

Anyhow, the book I wrote was called "Super Cat Saves the Onion Fields." (I don't have it anymore. When I was in high school my friend E and I traded elementary school projects for fun. She got my book and I got her project "Uruguay: Land of Discovery." I still have her Uruguay project. I wonder if she still has the Super Cat book.) The book was about a cat who was really really into body building. One day he got a package filled with a cape and boots from a mysterious source and was told that he was to become a super-hero for one very important mission. He was to save the Onion Fields from a group of Mean Men. The dangerous part of the mission was that since kids hate onions, they would most likely throw rocks at him while he was flying to the fight the Mean Men. The night before he was to save the Onion Fields Super Cat snuck into the bedrooms of the children who had the potential to hate him and sprinkled happy potion on them. Super Cat was then able to save the Onion Fields from the Mean Men and the kids still liked him. The End.

So I've been thinking about hate the last week or so. I remember when I was in the 2nd grade I was playing soccer and I told one team mate that I hated another team mate. I don't think I really hated her. I don't even remember her. I think I was just trying to be cool by saying I hated someone.

A short time later we had a lesson at school about hate. We were taught that when one hates another, one wishes all sorts of physical, spiritual and emotional harm to fall upon the one hated. It means that one doesn't care if the other is hurt, is injured, dies. When I learned that it really freaked me out and I vowed never to hate anyone, ever. I still feel this way. I don't remember who taught that lesson, but point taken. No hating.

We all have our own weird prejudices. We all grow up learning how to hate. We learn it from TV, our parents, our schools, society in general. As screwed up as it is, it's true. Some people hate groups of people from other races, some hate people with different philosophies or religion, some hate people based on how they identify themselves. Those are all stupid reasons to hate. I once knew a lady who, as far as I could tell had no prejudices towards people of different races, beliefs, nationality, etc., but she had this penchant for hating people who didn't follow the latest fashion trends. Another stupid, but really odd reason to hate.
I have been known to proclaim that I hate dolmas. They're slimy, they stink, they have a weird aftertaste, they look weird. Is hate for a particular food really hate? Can one harbor malice towards a food? Hating a certain food doesn't mean I think dolma production should cease. I hold no malice towards those who make dolmas for a living. You won't find me at the office of my local dolma distributor with a can of gasoline and a lit match demanding they cease production lest their dolma distribution network be blown into smithereens. The rest of the world is free to eat my portion of dolmas, and I'm happy to live in a dolma-free state of being, politely turning down any dolma offered to me be it on a deli platter or at a buttet. I guess instead of saying I hate dolmas I should just say I think they are really really vile but I recognize that others may see value and deliciousness in this Mediterranean culinary offering. More dolmas for them.
Can the same principle be applied to people? I've met plenty of people I don't want to spend anytime with. It's more of a personality thing than any other quality. They whine too much. They complain too much. They're too pious about their opinions and think everyone else is stupid. I don't hate them. I don't wish them harm. I just don't want to be around them.
There are people at work I don't wish to know socially. It doesn't mean I hate any of them. It doesn't mean I can't be courteous to them or work with them on a team with, complete a project with.  It just means that I don't want to spend any time with them when I'm not being paid to do so.  And oh my gosh, it's possible (gasp!) that someone may not find me the most agreeable person and not like me. As crazy as it sounds, it just might be true; I may not be everyone's cuppa tea.  There may just be things about me that rubs someone the wrong way. Imagine that.

I think that everyone has something to offer. You just have to be patient enough and strong enough to dig through all the muck to find it. Perhaps the whiner and I like the same books. Perhaps the complainer and I both like to watch Romantic Comedys. Perhaps I will run across a dolma lover who hates raddishes. I love raddishes. We each will have something to give to each other. We can both find value in each other through our likes and dislikes.

I try to teach my kids that you don't have to like everyone, but you do have to treat everyone with the same respect you want to be shown (how golden rule of me, eh?) You don't have to be friends with everyone but you should be friendly to everyone.

Don't be a jerk is what it boils down to. That's the Dolma Principle - Don't be a jerk.

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