I like things.

Many things, all kinds of things.

I like movies and books. I like television shows and radio broadcasts and podcasts. I like fine food and comfort food and fine wine and champagne. I like cold beer on hot summer nights and cold beer on cold nights and cold beer on every night in between. I like a good clean joke told well and dirty joke told poorly. I like telling puns and I like it when people groan when I tell puns. I like good music. I like bad music. I like music. I like drinking dark, strong coffee with friends telling stories. And I like telling stories. And I like being told a story, all kinds of stories.

And there are so many other things that I like to like. But the one thing I have found that I like liking more than anything else is liking things.

Now this might sound all very childish and silly. We all like things. Hell, Facebook has made a global trend out of endlessly scrolling through a vast variety of things to like. We now thumbs-up thing after thing till the act of thumb-upping becomes habit and not really liking. Things are liked by rote rather than liking the thing that is liked.

But that is not what I am talking about.

I’m talking about things that bring true enjoyment and pleasure to your life. Or at least a moment in your life. No matter how small and seemingly insignificant that moment may be it is better to like a thing than to hate it. Or at least that is what I have found.

There was a time in my life – not that long ago actually –  when liking something was not my default goto position. In fact not liking something was something I set out to do. I used to say it was “constructive criticism” or “deconstruction” without actually knowing what those terms meant; it was just my way to intellectualize the tearing apart of a thing without giving it a chance. I had preconceived notions, narrow and well defined, and if your thing did not fit into those parameters then your thing was crap. And believe me I got really good at telling you why your thing was crap and why I did not like it.

But years went by and I found that there were things that I missed. A movie or a TV show or a book, a person; occasionally I just ignored or dismissed something as being not worth my time. Things slipped by me.  And then I would catch a glimpse of it later and think, man how did I miss this? This is good. I think I like this. What else, I thought, did I miss?

Also, if I’m completely honest, hating on things all the time eventually makes you boring and miserable. And let’s face it no one wants to hang out with that guy. Being boring and miserable is just no fun at all. Nobody likes it.

Now mind you I don’t mean to imply that I have to like everything without a critical eye. I can still look at something and point out a flaw or a misstep without destroying the whole thing or experience. You can dislike a piece of something without dismissing the whole. Without trying real hard I’m sure you can find something to like in almost anything.

Except racism. And Bigotry. Racism and bigotry are horrible and no one should ever like them…ever. They are inherently unlikable things. It is okay not to like racism and bigotry. And Donald Trump. Totally okay not to like Donald Trump.

But you get the idea. Liking things is better than not liking things. And if you think about it liking something opens up so many new possibilities. There is a whole world out there ready to be liked. There are tastes both bitter and sweet. Entertainment to make you laugh or cry or offend. There are friends ready to be made. There are stories waiting to be heard.

It may seem simple. But I like it.


Originally posted July 7, 2015

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