Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lessons Learned: Really Important Opinions™
Good morning, everyone! I hope you've had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. I'm about 2k away from reaching the NaNoWriMo 50k finish line, and I just wanted to stop and share a little nugget of wisdom with you (recently learned by my own trial and error method of living life, of course). Tin foil hat recommended, but not required.

The lesson I've recently learned is...people will argue with you, or at least attemp to draw you into an argument, over the most ridiculous, juvenile shit you would never have thought, not in a million years, was important enough to get anyone's panties in a twist over.

Sometimes a topic of disagreement is so out there, just so completely wtf, you have to stop and wonder if the other person is high or mentally unstable. Or maybe that's just how I process it. I don't know. What I do know is that this sort of thing isn't locked into one geographical location. Oh, no. This isn't just an American thing. It's a worldwide, shared epidemic of insanity, and when it happens to you, it's about as much fun as a case of surprise diarrhea.

However, the inherent value in this kind of scratch-pop argument is that if you have ever, even for a moment, believed that your voice - your opinion - doesn't really matter, woo hoo little sister, do I have news for you!  Words have atomic weight. They matter. If you care to test this theory, I challenge you to say something risque or even controversial on the internet. Say it wrong, land it without proper padding to spare everyone's delicate feelings, and it will go nuclear.

But wait! You don't even have to dance into controversial territory. Be playful and friendly. Start out small. Misquote some song lyrics. On purpose. Throw some hashtags in for seasoning. That's what I did. Ka-boom! Or, you could talk about a book you read and liked, the last movie you watched and hated, or go for broke and tell the world what your favorite flavor of coffee is...and yes, you're allowed to read it off the menu at Starbucks, because who the heck bothers to memorize a menu, anyway? (Personally, I'm too lazy for that. Sorry, not sorry.)

It doesn't really matter what topic you decide to talk about. If you're passionate enough about it, or even if you're only briefly Heylook! sparkly-shiny! kind of passionate about it, some rat bastard you don't know, who you've never heard of, and who you wouldn't bother to get to know if you met them face to face, is guaranteed to crawl off their garbage heap of Really Important Opinions™ to let you know just how wrong you are...and inadvertently, just how powerful your benign little voice really is.

Never take that for granted. Your voice matters. Your story matters. The way you tell it matters. Since the dawn of time, people have fought and died on the garbage heaps of other people's Really Important Opinions ™. Think about that for a while.

Marriages, lives, and careers have been made and destroyed on numerous battlefields built from incompatible opinions. There are people out there who are so apt at this kind of warfare, they can scent the blood of someone who doesn't agree with them from half a world away, and they will rush in like berzerkers armed for the kill, completely drunk on the power of their own opinion...the option of minding their own fucking business be damned.

If you ever felt unimportant, or like no one is listening and that what you say matters to no one, think again. You probably just haven't shared a passionate opinion, yet. Oh, but you will, darling. You will. And when you inevitably get good at it, you'll begin to amass your own garbage heap of Really Important Opinions™  to share with which I say, bravo, and also, guard it wisely.

Just one more important thing to know. When you're about to share a particularly special opinion, you know, one of those that stink a whole lot more than all the others because they have a much heavier atomic weight than most opinions, be very careful. Those opinions are known to cause dangerous chain reactions if combined with incompatible opinions.

Politics, current news events, religion; race, gender and social issues; oh, and the sharing of misquoted song lyrics, can cause a nuclear winter scenario with irrevocable damage to your reputation, career, peaceful living environment, the quality of your drinking water, and can even lead to death threats. So word to the wise on that: know before you blow.

In general when it comes to any opinion, it's a really good idea to do your research and thoroughly vet your opinion with facts from credible sources before you crawl off of your personal garbage heap to wage battle shove it down the throat of others offer it politely to someone else.

I know...I know... [hands up]. While sharing is the kind and neighborly thing to do, the fact remains that not everyone wants to hear what you think. They like their garbage heap just the way it is, thank you very much. A few people out there may genuinely not care, or they may welcome your opinion, but it's a good rule of thumb to think before you speak. Or type. Or email.  Because no matter how wrong you know the other person is, not every greasy garbage heap is worth dying on.

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