But I always sit on posts for at least one night before publishing, like a good mother duck. And – as always – it was smart to let that little egg of an idea warm up and hatch in its own time. Turns out, I’m not mad at people who don’t try. They just make me sad. Turns out, I’m mad at people who try incredibly hard.
When I say someone who doesn’t try, I mean this: Dan complains incessantly about his job to anyone who will listen, but doesn’t take steps to look for a new job, go back to school, get a promotion, anything… he just fills the air with word pollution and continues to exist. We all know a Dan, and Dan is weak.
But. When I talk about someone who tries incredibly hard, I mean the woman who said (to my face): “The worst thing happened. I found out that the really nice receptionist at my gym is gay. Now it’s awkward every time I go in, because we used to talk and now of course we can’t anymore. It just breaks my heart.”
*** R E C O R D S C R A T C H ***
What’s worse than someone who puts no effort into evolving? Someone who puts a lot of effort into intentionally avoiding evolution.
This woman, instead of doing the human thing and expanding her world view to include a gay man who is kind and funny, purposefully shut down the whole relationship. Why? Because she found his existence too threatening to her concept of every gay person being filled with evil and going straight to hell. She actively chose to not learn a powerful lesson. She purposefully avoided an opportunity to grow.
And this is what really burns me up. The ones I’m really mad at are the people who do try, exceptionally hard, to keep their lives utterly centered on themselves. This is called willful ignorance, and it’s what you practice when you want to maintain your narrow world view at all cost.
There is a point up to which I am willing to make excuses for people. Genuine excuses. Maybe his parents were really vocal about this, and that’s the only opinion he’s ever heard about it. She’s young, and all her friends go to her church, and maybe she feels like she’ll lose them if she speaks up.
But past that point… which lies somewhere around the time you turn into a GROWN-ASS ADULT… if you are afraid of people who are different just because they’re different, you’re pouring a lot of energy into remaining so shallow. In this day and age, willful ignorance means you’re intentionally avoiding certain people in your community, certain people who write online, certain books and restaurants and movies. And it means that you force your brain to shut up when it whispers that the actor you love to watch on Modern Family is actually also gay in real life, and does that mean you’d shun him instead of giggle if you met him on a… SHUT UP, BRAIN! STOP MAKING ME THINK ABOUT THE THINGS I DO.
As always, Calvin and Hobbes express my thoughts perfectly, so at this point I’ll just turn you over to them: