For those who’ve known me for any length of time, the following introspective comments about me will likely result in a sarcastic “Duh” or “Ya think?” as well as much eye rolling. I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to have strong likes and dislikes. It seems that with me, there isn’t a lot of gray. No matter what the subject, I have a strong opinion and rarely do I fall in the apathetic middle (after all who likes lukewarm water?). People have been known to say to me after a particular outburst, “Tell us what you really think.” I’ve even gone through life with two “best” friends. Can there be two best anything’s?
Throughout the years, a typical exchange might sound like this:
“Hey Ronnie, what do you think about Billy?”
“I hate him. He’s a jerk.”
“Have you ever met him?”
“No, but I hate him anyway. I don’t like the way he looks.”
“Well how about Johnny?”
“He’s the best. Great guy!”
I not only have strong opinions, I form them rather quickly. I can tell just by watching a football coach walk up and down the sidelines if I like him or not. I don’t even have to meet the guy and I have an opinion. Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll; jerks. Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden; great guys. It isn’t just people. I have opinions about everything. You name it and I either love it or I can’t stand it. I remember a kid in school telling me he had a new rock group that he liked and suggested I listen to them. Here’s the exchange:
“Ronnie, you should listen to Jethro Tull. They’re a great group.”
“Jethro Tull. Who’s he? He’s nothing compared to the Beatles. The Beatles are the best rock group of all time! Jethro Tull. Ha.”
I must have thought that competition extended from the sports arena to every other aspect of life, as if one had to be better than the other rather than both being appreciated equally. It would be a few years before I would grow to enjoy Ian Anderson and some of the classic songs he composed as the lead in his iconic band.
For years, every other song that came on the radio was “my favorite”. Realizing the impossibility of having one million favorites, I’ve since toned it down to “That’s one of my favorite songs”. One of a million of course. I think I’ve grown over the years, as today I can truly say that I only hate Rap and R&B music and can take or leave much of the rest.
If I like something or someone, I want everyone else to as well. When they don’t, I’m disappointed. How could they not like Young Frankenstein? It’s the funniest comedy ever made. Isn’t it? It might be a song, a restaurant, a movie, or any number of other things. If I like it, I have to shout if from the rooftops. My desire is for everyone else to experience what I’m experiencing. I want to share the joy.
That brings me to Little Heathens. It’s been almost a year since its release and I’m a little disappointed in the results so far. I was hoping that it would be in the top ten on the New York Times Best Seller list. I dreamed that it would be made into a movie by now. I imagined the buzz on every street corner:
“Have you read that new book, Little Heathens? Man, it ranks right up there with Tom Sawyer and Oliver Twist.”
“Who hasn’t? It’s an instant classic, sure to wind up on every “must read” list. The author’s been interviewed by every talk show host in the country. Amazing book!”
Did I mention that I have a tendency to set my expectations a little too high? Did I also mention that I have a tendency to be a bit impatient? Anyway, I suppose I’ll just have to keep promoting the book and hoping for divine intervention. People that have read it tell me they really enjoyed it and thought it well written and funny. I want everyone to have that same feeling. Why not? It is the best book. Ever!