in Biography, Theater

On Being Hated

Thinking about my previous hatred essay, I came to realize that I’m usually on the receiving end of the whole hate thing. I’m somewhat impressive in the sense that over the course of my life, more than a few folks have hated me with a burning passion. Something about me inspires pure loathing that can last for years, even decades.

Case in point: For most of my childhood, I was in a performing arts group in LA called the Kids of the Century that sang at state fairs and such. We traveled to most of our gigs in rented buses, and Hank and Sheila – not their real names – used to share a seat near the front and proceed to make out in front of everybody. They were one of those gross, cutesy couples with the pet names and the Eskimo kisses and the slobbering. Always the slobbering. Being an insecure adolescent, and probably being somewhat jealous because I wasn’t making out with anybody either in public or in private, I mocked them every chance I got. I don’t remember what methods I used, but knowing me, I was probably pretty annoying.

Fade out, fade in. Several years after high school, I went to a Kids of the Century concert, only to see Hank and Sheila, now a happily slobbering married couple, sitting two rows behind me. It made me smile to see them again. I went up to them at intermission. Hank was very friendly, and we chatted amiably, but Sheila wouldn’t speak to me. When she saw me coming, she made a point of standing up and dramatically stalking off in a huff. I was unable to take a hint, so I caught up with her, but she still wouldn’t speak to me. She wouldn’t look at me. And all I was trying to do was say hello. I went back to Hank, who sheepishly told me that Sheila still hadn’t forgiven me for the way I’d made fun of her all those years ago, and she still talked about me with venom in her voice.

Keep in mind – I hadn’t seen Sheila for probably close to a decade. I hadn’t been talking about her. I hadn’t thought about her. Yet after all this time, she was, in the words of the Scottish poet, “Gathering her brows like gathering storm/Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.”

It was a bad scene.

I’m not justifying my adolescent behavior. I’m saying that, by keeping that hate alive for so long, she did herself a whole lot more damage than she did me.

To sum up: Languatron comes by it honestly.

Learning from Larry
The True Story of Richard the Bricklayer

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  1. This is Sheila. You could have apologized for all the belittling, harassment and bullying you gave me, my now husband and brother-in-law but you sat next to me without any regard for your actions. There are consequences to your actions and You were a very big bully to most of the people in our group. Our incident would not have happened if you learned the art of remorse.

    • Well, hello, Sheila! Glad you found me! I hope you, your husband, and your brother-in-law are well.

      I am grateful for this opportunity to apologize to you for how cruel, rude and boorish I was back in the day. If I could go back and undo my unkindness, I would. I have no excuse, nor do I pretend to have any.

      Yes, there are consequences to actions, and it seems that my actions have cost me the opportunity to be your friend. I sincerely regret that.

      My point in this post was not to justify my behavior, but rather to illustrate that holding grudges hurts the grudge holder a whole lot more than the object of the grudge. Having held a fair number of grudges over the years, I learned long ago that forgiveness is healthy not because the forgivee deserves it, but rather because the alternative is so destructive. As my old boss used to say, “hatred corrodes the container it’s carried in.”

      Your timing is appropriate, as I was in Los Angeles this past week with my family, and I spent an evening with a host of old KOTC friends that was the highlight of the trip. The people who showed up to see me were some of the dearest friends I have ever had or ever will have. I remember them – and you – with nothing but fondness.

      I apologize again. I wish you nothing but happiness and joy.

      Jim

  2. and this is HANK…it’s not that we harbored any grudges…in fact, you were such a useless individual that we never thought of you once, up until we happened to have the unfortunate instance of stumbling upon you…(kind of like when you’re out walking and happen upon road kill)…I understand that during KOTC you were obnoxious,loud,rude and mean to everyone to cover your lack of talent and teenage insecurities…being several years older than you, I saw you for the boy you were….however, you took every opportunity to be a douchebag, and, in general, were nothing but a ‘negative’ to everyone and everything around you. I’d love to believe you’ve finally grown up, and I see you’re fond of throwing around quotes to attempt to bolster your obviously dubious writing skills, so here’s one for you…”stupid is as stupid does..”.. and wrapping yourself in pretty words won’t alter the core. Rather than giving advice to others, heal thyself…and if you’re platitudes aren’t just that and you are truly sincere, spend your time with less focus on your blogging and more figuring out how you can contact and make amends to the dozens of others your infantile antics have injured over the years.

    No response required.

Webmentions

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