“Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” Henry David Thoreau
My phone’s inbox notified me that I had 124 emails waiting. The tiny blue number worked on me like a kid with a fidget spinner. It was the first thing I looked at when I picked up the phone and I was digging for my phone every 15 minutes. That phone was the last thing I was holding before I fell asleep and the first thing I picked up when I woke up. I needed to get away from it. I needed to put it down and stop obsessing about what was lurking in my inbox.
What was in there? Coupons. Sales. Notices that BLACK FRIDAY WAS ENDING AND OMG GET THIS THING YOU NEED RIGHT NOW. I was letting it stress me out. I didn’t need anything those messages were assuring me that I desperately wanted. But…I didn’t want to delete them just yet. I put it off for a few hours to go to the movies with my boys.
We love going to the movies. They can be great placeholders for events in your life-like a first date or when you go into labor (that’s another story). Some movies are annual viewing events in my classroom and they never get old, like The Crucible or The Dead Poets Society. Then there are the movies that are like junk food – you know they’re not great for you but damn, it’s a good time.
We went to see Justice League. According to the online site Rotten Tomatoes, it earned a dismal 41% “Rotten.” Some friends of mine who write for an online movie site reviewed it and found it wanting, but not a total loss. We’re a family with a love for comics so we went in hoping for the best. I just wanted to sit back, pop on my 3D glasses, and get transported by a story of superheroes and fantasy. And eat popcorn. (I’m not apologizing – I know how it’s made and what’s in it. It still rocks.)
After two hours, we recycled our glasses with greasy “butter” fingers and headed out into the lobby. It was busy, but there were a bunch of movies that came out this weekend. We rattled off all of our favorite moments and easter eggs to each other. My Rob laughed at the things we noticed and patiently answered my questions to fill in my huge superhero knowledge gap. We liked it, and it felt a little uncomfortable. My head started making lists. What was I supposed to dislike about it? What did I miss that was so terrible? What is wrong with me that I liked it when so much of the other reviews were tepid at best? I couldn’t swallow the Haterade. I liked it, but I was embarrassed to admit it beyond the supportive embrace of the family driving home with me.
Our society loves to shame each other. We revel in it like kids with ice cream. Memes, vlogs, and clickbait exist to draw people in to mock their guilty pleasures of degrading others and what brings them joy. We’re all guilty of it; I’ll own up to my share of AFVs and People of Walmart. But it always leaves me feeling slimy. Who do I think I am? No one who is in a position to judge that’s who. So the change I’m striving to make today is to not yuck someone else’s yum. And delete the coupons in my inbox. Go watch what you want and enjoy yourself. As long as we’re not hurting each other, we can like different things without humiliation or shame. Relish your movie – and get the large popcorn.