Thursday, July 05, 2012

Some Things are More Important than Others

What is important to you?  Would you rather watch The Bachelorette or Community?  Would you rather go to a fancy restaurant or a baseball game?  Would you rather spend time with the cast of Jersey Shore or take a ball peen hammer and crush three of your own toes?  It all boils down to priorities.

The disconnect between one person’s priorities and the priorities of the other person is the place where animosity lives.  The problem is sometimes people put too much importance on some disagreements that just aren’t that big a deal. 

When my wife and I were first married there were minor differences in priorities which caused points of friction (since those points of friction were nearly 22 years ago we obviously got over it).  She had a priority of cleanliness that I did not.  To me putting something away meant it was simply out of the way.  To her it had to be inside something else.  She wanted things in cabinets, drawers and the like whereas I was fully content if things were in places that were not likely to trip me as I walked to the bathroom. 

The secret to getting along with others is being able to distinguish between the priorities that are most important and require a certain level of agreement and the priorities that can be allowed to be different. 

Priority that can be different:  Mac versus PC.  This is like the old Chevy versus Ford debate.  Sure there are differences but is it really worth hating one another.  “My laptop cost more than orthodontia, is thinner than a fine crepe served in a Parisian restaurant and came with an official Steve Jobs mock turtleneck so I am cooler and better than you” is just not a reasonable mindset. 

Priority that can be different:  Celine Dion is the best singer ever versus Celine Dion is just Barry Manilow with slightly higher levels of estrogen.  With the invention of headphones people do not have to listen to each other’s musical choices so this doesn’t have to be a line drawn in the sand. 

Priority that can be different (Kansas edition):  KU versus K-State.  I have to say I have been very much taken aback by some of the animosity displayed in this rivalry.  Really?  They are two institutions of higher learning where individuals learn thinking skills and abilities which prepare them for success in the world and create fully rounded human beings.  So, why do some people approach the relationship more in the manner of Protestants and Catholics in 1972 Belfast? 

Priority that can be different but lately has become entirely too contentious:  Republican versus Democrat.  I am not so old that I can remember the Whigs or anything but this animosity and severe level of vitriol just isn’t like it used to be and can’t be of benefit to anyone.  If you listen to the characterizations created by the opposition advertisers we have a choice for president between a man who thinks only the rich deserve to be taken care of, that both American jobs and his own personal money should be sent overseas, and who flip-flops faster than an X-games skateboarder after drinking two dozen cans of Red Bull and the other guy who wants government to decide whether grandma gets her insulin, wants the country to become a socialist reflection of European elitism and is a closet Muslim.  Neither description is all that accurate but accuracy is not the goal, fear and hatred is. 

Other priorities that can be different:  James T. Kirk versus Jean-Luc Picard (also see William Shatner versus Chris Pine), Bugs Bunny versus Woody Woodpecker, tastes great versus less filling, Buster Keaton versus Charlie Chaplin, the first Darrin in Bewitched versus the second Darrin in Bewitched, Gene Wilder Willy Wonka versus Johnny Depp Willy Wonka, designated hitter versus no designated hitter, Coke versus Pepsi, Burger King versus McDonald’s, boxers versus briefs, kindle versus nook, any of the eleven actors who played Dr. Who versus any of the eleven actors who played Dr. Who, paper versus plastic, Superman versus Batman, and, finally, Star Wars before George Lucas monkeyed with it versus Star Wars after George Lucas monkeyed with it.  All of these basic choices will be made due to basic priorities held dear within the very DNA of a person but none of them should cause an inability to get along with people who chose the other side of the issue.
Christopher Pyle thinks the only nonnegotiable choice is Christmas presents must be opened Christmas Day not Christmas Eve.  You can argue with him at