Maybe I should have entitled the post Taking Stock. Because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of days. If you read the previous post, Stock, you’re familiar with with what I am alluding to. Talk about a tempest in the proverbial teapot. If you’re curious about what I’m talking about, you can catch the up on the action because it’s still going on today, for crying out loud. The short version: a person asked a question on the Food 52 Hotline about a measurement I had listed for an ingredient in a batch of bread, and in the process went around the bend, over the edge, out of line, berserk, bananas, and generally totally lost all control. Peoples’ comments both there and here have been very interesting. Many people tried in many ways to point out to the original questioner that it wasn’t the question itself that was objectionable, but the way in which it was phrased from the very beginning that people took issue with. And then the questioner went on and made the whole thing not only worse, but MUCH worse. More than once.
I’m still shaking my head over the whole thing. As several people have pointed out, it was by no means just me who was the focus of scorn, but rather anyone and everyone who doesn’t measure the way she/he does. And the individual completely missed the point about exactly that which I tried to explain in my lengthy response. I am puzzled that someone can carry that much anger around, and about something so innocuous. There is nothing wrong with a righteous display of anger or outrage about something of consequence, say, for example, Rush Limbaugh’s recent tirade. I’m still thinking of printing t-shirts that read: Sluts Vote. But I digress. Self-righteous rage is something else entirely. And I seriously doubt that I’m special enough that the individual who was so angry worked up that head of steam just for little old me. No, I suspect that she/he takes that attitude everywhere and flogs people with it regularly.
Have you known people like that? I certainly have. It’s as though they’re a roiling mass of free-floating anger just looking for something or someone to attach it to. And it tends not to matter who or what the object of it is, as long as there is some object. I simply do not understand how some people can live on a steady diet of their own poison. They poison themselves and everyone who can somehow stand to be around them, small group that it tends to be. How can people live without love, both giving and receiving it? Because ultimately, in addition to all sorts of other wonderful human qualities that they miss out on, such people do end up living without love, and that is a sad life indeed.
Coming in contact with someone like the original questioner is like sitting under a black cloud that just won’t go away. It cast a pall over me for a couple of days. Please understand, I did not take the individual’s comments personally. Creamtea asked a great question on the Food52 Hotline: Is there a full moon out? She correctly points out that there have been incidences recently of a general lack of civility on the site, another case in point being this one. Amanda Hesser is one of the two inventors of Food52, and rightly took exception to how the original question and some comments were phrased. Good grief, is there something in the water? Life can be hard enough on any given day. What is the point in making it harder? Not to mention deliberately downright unpleasant.
So in taking stock of the whole event, I’m actually grateful that it has led me back to some ideas of which it never hurts for me to be reminded. Love the people you love. Be kind to as many people as you can possibly be kind to; what goes around comes around. Everyone carries a heavy load. Everyone. Be grateful. Do it often. Work hard; it helps me feel like I’ve earned some of the space I occupy. Play some every day. Read a lot. Leave room for happiness. And cook a lot.
Thank you, friends. I am honored to be among you.