I Don’t Get It: Why Do You People Like These Horrible Things?

They say that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.  For me, this has typically meant that I get to drink the milk after its sell-by date.


But there is a larger usage, where there are things that the universe generally loves that I just don’t, and vice versa.  Like how you, the intelligent reader, feel about American Idol and Two and a Half Men.  So, today: a list of some things that just don’t honk my horn.  Monday: a few things that probably don’t ring your bell.  But that would be annoying and noisy, so it’s a good thing, right?

Country music

There isn’t enough beer in the world to get me to appreciate country music.  And if there was, I don’t drink anyway.

Listen, I’m from New Jersey.  I have no business liking country music.  My accent is the opposite of twang.  My interests are good pizza, the beach, and changing lanes.  I couldn’t care less about beer or trucks, and I’m not sure what an open road looks like.  I imagine there are fewer strip malls and more concealed weapons.  Anyone from New Jersey who likes country music probably doesn’t have enough black friends.


When I arrived to the University of Maryland, there was a housing shortage, and I had the good fortune of being placed into a “converted triple.”  What this really meant is that there were three of us sardined into a double room.  The university gave me an XXL t-shirt that said “TRIPLE” on the back, as if that was my last name OR sufficient compensation for the discomfort.

Anyway, my roommates in the tiny, tiny room were from Virginia (hi Meg!) and Atlanta.  They both loved country music, and in an era of Napster and Audiogalaxy, there was no shortage of supply.  But you know what they didn’t love?  My my deep sighs, eye rolls, and taunting about the North winning the Civil War.  So, they also quickly learned to love headphones.

I’ll close with this: if I got a barbecue stain on my white t-shirt, I wouldn’t write a song about it, I’d ask everyone for a Tide pen because that is an emergency.


Country music is out.

Try instead: the greatest R&B, mediocre R&B, shitty R&B, hip-hop, everything from the 90s, most music from the 80s, and Billy Joel.


Oh, you love snow?  You love to go skiing?  You love curling up by the fire?  Sounds wealthy.

harry goes skiing

Do you also love ashy skin, chapped lips, and cabin fever?  How about runny noses?  You like those?  Or maybe you prefer mealy tomatoes and apples.  Maybe you like that your only choices for “fresh” produce grow underground, where they can’t be ashamed of their hideous, tasteless bodies.


I’m not sure there’s anything I hate as much as I hate winter.  Winter, the season of bare trees, cream soups, and walking home from work when it’s already dark outside.  It’s the worst.  It’s horribly inconvenient.  I don’t want to have to carry my jacket all night long because I’m too cheap to check it at the door and too sensible to leave it at home.

Winter rips at your skin, sucks air out of your lungs, and turns your appendages into blocks of ice.  Winter is violent and wrathful.  For example, I went for a run today and the wind nearly carried me off the Key Bridge.

People who like winter must really like looking ugly.  When I look in the mirror in the winter, I see some frowny loser whose skin is so pale it’s almost blue.  And my hair is so dull that I almost look – gasp! – brunette.  But the people who love winter seem to embrace the ugly.  They defend “bundling up.”  They relish the day they can wear their scarves or turtlenecks, obscuring the vampire bite that I’m assuming they have.  What else would explain their enjoyment of long nights, short days, and the absence sunshine?


“But don’t you like wearing sweaters?” they ask.  No.  I don’t even want to wear a shirt, really.  I just want a sports bra or bathing suit so I can be brown/orange and glowing and Nubian and bursting with Vitamin D.  I want to eat peaches and be blonde again.

Try instead: summer, spring, fall, moving to Mexico, not being a vampire/wooden stake through the heart/garlic.


Three times a year, I’ll walk up to a dish of olives, close my eyes, and hope.  I think positively — this time!  This time I’ll like them!   

various olives

You see, I’ve tried and tried and tried to like olives.  I feel like I’m shunning the signature crop of the Mediterranean.  It feels wrong.  I love eating!  I love food!  I love ambiguous fruits that people think are vegetables!  I love olive oil!

So why do olives taste so terrible to me?   Maybe because they are salty, slimy lizard balls.


And I’m not an olive racist.  I don’t care what color they are — green, black, purple — they all taste like a vommyburp to me.  And you can’t fool me by putting them into a tapenade.  As if I’m going to change my mind now that they’re hanging with anchovies and capers.  Even when the crostinis and baguettes vouch for olives, I just can’t abide.

And no matter how many people line up at the olive bar at Whole Foods, I think they’re all misguided.  It isn’t unprecedented, you know.  People thought the Earth was the center of the universe until Galileo finally stuck his neck out.

I will continue to try olives, hoping they wear me into submission or enough of my taste buds die that I eagerly and willfully consume olives by the fistful.  But until then, I remain unconvinced.

Try instead: trail mix, apples, peanut butter, tofu dogs, old lunchmeat.

Mad Men

Smart people who eat olives and dress impeccably — men and women in perfectly fitter blazers and pants with pointy-toed shoes — told me I would like Mad Men.  They bragged about its deep, intricate storyline.  They sold me on its historical significance and accuracy.  And then they said the magic words: character development.  My heart was all aflutter.

So I tried.  I tried to like it.

After the first episode, I was concerned that maybe I wasn’t smart enough for the show.  What was I missing?  What was all the fuss about?  By the power of Netflix, I kept going — on a school night, even.

Episode two, let’s do it.  I took it seriously.  I watched it in the dark, under a blanket, my eyes fixed on the unfolding story.  If it really was so deep, I didn’t want to miss anything.  I didn’t want those smart people and their thick framed glasses to tell me I missed the point.

Still nothing.  I kept going.  Ok, another.  And another.  Five episodes deep and I couldn’t take it anymore.

CHRISTINA HENDRICKS at Promo Shoot for Mad Men Season 5

Sure, the sets are beautiful and convincing.  Yeah, Christina Hendricks has a nice rack and Jon Hamm is devastatingly handsome.  But these fucking people are awful!   They are all conniving, sadistic, unfaithful, misogynistic liars.  These people are broken.


I found it impossible to care about or root for any of them.   Even Peggy sucks!  I have no patience for dickheads in real life, so I’m not sure why I’d tune in week after week to watch them in a fictional show.  It turns out I don’t care about Don Draper’s character development because Don Draper is an insufferable  asshole.  If that’s the point: if it’s about chronic imperfection, how everyone is terrible, and so on, then I got the point already.  I read Waiting for Godot — I don’t need to read the second act.


So, I hear that it’s a great show.  And maybe it is.  Just not for me.

Try instead: re-watching Billy Madison for the 40th time, getting made fun of for watching Lie to Me,  reading until my eyes accidentally close and I lose my page from dropping the book on my chest.


Listen, you and I both know cats stink.  They’re detached and sociopathic little bastards.


They’re judgmental, selfish, and arrogant.  Did you just say “takes one to know one?”  If not, then you must also hate cats.  Good choice.


Try instead: dogs, bunnies, sharks, active yogurt cultures, making actual friends.


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