Just don’t tell me what I ‘have’ to do and we shall be fine


Remember those horrible Mary Richards parties on the old Mary Tyler Moore Show? She would plan and plan for weeks and they would royally bomb. Nobody would have good time, and the entire atmosphere would be dismal and dreary with people starting to check their watches at 9 p.m. They were like that because the shindigs were ‘planned’. There was no spontaneity because her guests felt forced.

People hate feeling forced, especially if they are being forced to have a good time. For me, and I suspect for many of you, it just doesn’t work that way. You have probably found that your absolutely best times in life have been impromptu sets of circumstances in which everything just clicked into place.

romanceIt’s like planning for sex. You have soft music, maybe a comforting Jacuzzi bubble bath together, scented candles, champagne, sexy lingerie, and everything that should make for a carnal encounter par excellence. And it fizzles. What you recall, in fact, are those delicious encounters on a walk in the woods, or in a car, or someplace where you couldn’t wait (sometimes literally) to get your hands on each other and to come together with the most amazing fireworks. Those are the ones you remember because nothing was planned. Good old-fashioned horniness was allowed to prevail and it was wonderful.

So, the forcing thing, the planning thing, really gets my goat. Don’t try to demand that I have a good time, or even support your venture. Back in 1987 there was a thing called Expo in Vancouver. It was an extravagant world’s fair. The hype went on and on for months before the thing happened. I didn’t go.

I didn’t go because everybody, especially ‘officialdom’ told me I must. My late (and often lamented) mother-in-law told me I “should” go. Wow, “should”, that’s the kiss of death for me. “You’ll regret not going,” she said. I’ve never for a smidgen of a second regretted not having gone.

Then we had the Olympics. We were constantly and consistently told that in Vancouver in 2010 the heavens were possibly going to open up and maybe Jesus himself was going to come down and bless these games, and that is what justified spending 27 trillion of my tax dollars to hype this stuff and build the infrastructure. Infrastructure that is actually thoroughly needed for regular old folk to get by in life, but no, this infrastructure is for 2010. The infrastructure’s value ultimately didn’t, in terms of value to the public, amount to what the oldtimers used to call “a pinch of coonshit,” and they are still waiting to fill up the condo development.

And, they were telling me I ‘must’ go. They were telling me I ‘must’ support what they’re doing. Know what? I didn’t go. I thus far haven’t regretted that decision for a microsecond.

Then later they decided to spend public money in extolling the virtues of the Olympics and to assess ‘my’ views. I am ever so disappointed they didn’t call so I could tell them my views.

I didn’t write any of this cynically. I don’t object to athletic events. I often wander to the park down the way to watch the kids play Little League ball. I do that because nobody tells me I have to do so. It’s spontaneous.


6 responses to “Just don’t tell me what I ‘have’ to do and we shall be fine

  1. It’s funny but when people say “You really should see (that movie, that play, that whatever) I do not take it as you do. I just take it as a suggestion or sharing, I feel that they consider me a friend to recommend something to me. In 1974 I was at Seattle worlds fair. Someone had said, “Oh you really should go to this when in that area.” So I did and am glad I did!!

  2. I agree. I hate being told to go see a film or a play or to read a book. I like to discover things for myself and that is often long after I’ve forgotten about any accompanying hype. And I’ve learnt now never to look forward to something too much as it’s usually always a let down.
    The exception, of course, is any party that I give!! They are always FUN!

    • Can I come to one of your parties? I should like that. Otherwise, you and I are of complete accord in this matter, and I rarely believe hype. I think for both of us it stems from journalistic careers.

  3. When I’ve been told by tons of people that I MUST see this movie, or read that book, I’ve almost always been disappointed. These things rarely live up to the hype.

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