Monday, July 28, 2014

Mr. In-Between

You're probably much too young to remember one of the top songs from 1944, Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's "Accentuate the Positive," but my mind's radio was playing it when I woke up this morning. (You've got to Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate-the Pos-i-tive, E-lim-I-nate the neg-a-tive; Latch on to the affirm-a-tive—don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.)

Like dreams, which are the mind's way of dealing with things that went on the previous day, I suspect my mental radio chose this particular song in response to a comment a friend made the other day. He said that a mutual friend had largely stopped reading my blogs because they tended to be pretty much negative, and I had to admit he had a point.

Why do I bitch and moan and complain and grumble so much here? I mean, I honestly consider myself to be a pretty positive guy. I like puppies and kittens and small children. (Aha! And the moment I wrote that sentence, I heard my mind add "until the bigots and hate mongers get to them." Maybe I am a little too negative.)

I know it's probably difficult for other people to understand—and obviously difficult for me to convey—how I can let negativity carry me away as often as it does. I wish it were easier for me to explain why: that it is simply because I believe so strongly in good and positive things that those things which are not good and positive...those things that are not as I so want them to be...bother me far more than they should. I simply cannot comprehend how easy it seems to be for so many people to totally ignore common courtesy, or respect for the rights and beliefs of others; how they can blithely deny others all the things which they expect or demand for themselves. And that frustrates and angers me.

It is  one of the wonders of our species that we are able to conceive, mentally, what we are incapable of executing physically. I'm not talking just about physical science here--we can conceive the idea of levitation without being able to achieve it, for example--but also about ideals. I have just talked about respecting the rights of others to believe what they choose to believe, and I firmly believe it. But that doesn't mean I don't hold people like Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, Michele Bachmann, and the legions of other garbage-spewers and hate mongers in utter and total contempt. Yeah, they've got a right to be unmitigated assholes, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. And I don't.

There is a great difference between saying, "Here's what I believe and why I believe it, and I hope you might consider it, too," and "Here's what I believe, and you'd damned well better believe it, too, or I'll do my best to make your life a living hell." One of the reasons I most vehemently object to people like Messrs. Cruz and McConnell, Ms. Palin, and their totally negative ilk is their total refusal to even consider the possibility of compromise, to acknowledge that views other than their own might conceivably have some merit.

I truly, deeply, and sincerely believe that if everyone saw things the way I see them, the world would be a much better place. But it amazes me...who chooses to largely ignore those aspects of reality I do not realize that the negativists and naysayers are even more dismissive of reality than I. I'd love for you to think the way I do, and for you to seriously consider my suggestions, but I do not demand it as the “No to Everything!” crowd do, and I do not assume the right to tell you what to do or believe. They do. 

So I find myself painted into yet another corner between what I want to be and what is. While I so desperately would like to always "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate-the Pos-i-tive,”  and "E-lim-I-nate the neg-a-tive;”  and while I truly do try to  "Latch on to the affirmative," I'm afraid the reality is that we're pretty much stuck with Mr. In-Between.  

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (


Kage Alan said...

Do you remember how we met? I was extremely intimidated by you due to a series of e-mail exchanges I read. It appeared whenever one person said one thing, you took up an opposite stance in your response to the point when someone suggested I request to become part of your group, my own response was "Oh, heck no! I don't want to incur his wrath if I open my mouth."

But then I got to know you and you are nothing like that.

Here's the thing, D. These are your blog posts. They're your thoughts just as my posts are mine. I, like you, are making the choice to share them with others. The posts aren't always happy. They're not always positive. But they are ours.

If you decide to write a little more about positive things in your life, then it's your choice to do so. And if you don't, it's still a choice I will respect and continue to read regardless.

Dorien Grey said...

Thanks for the honesty, Kage. My problem is that I expect so much from life and people and am so frequently disappointed. All part of never growing up, I suppose, and of looking for a happily-ever-after world that can't exist.

I think it was Oscar Wilde who said "A cynic is a frustrated romantic." I never want to be a cynic, but I fear I do come close at times.