A lot of you have said to me that I don’t like a lot of things. I was asked once if I was as negative in person as I am in the newspaper. I was asked if the whole curmudgeon thing was a big put-on or I was really like this. Well, yes and no. That yes and that no can be for either question. I am not a negative person by nature, but I do see a lot of things that get on my nerves. Am I a grouchy old man? I don’t think so, but my wife and daughters might disagree. I have gotten to that age where I say things I mean and I mean things that I say. I don’t see the point to sugarcoating things and I am well past the age where I lose sleep over the opinions of people I don’t know.
“You don’t like anything, do you?” one reader asked me.
Sure, I do. I like coffee and pie and a decent sandwich. I have written entire columns on foods I enjoy. I like a lot of things everyone else likes, but there is no point in sharing that stuff because everyone already likes that stuff and they don’t need me extolling the virtues of something they already like. If there is one thing no one likes, it’s redundancy. I could spend hours listing things that I genuinely like, but I’m not allowed that much space in the paper. I’d do it, but the guy who paid a chunk of change to get a full color ad for his funeral home in the paper might get a little upset because his ad got bumped for a guy who wrote a big list of stuff he likes. I’m inclined to agree that perpetual care is more important than whether I like mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.
I like country music. Not the new stuff, that’s not country. I like Ray Price and Buck Owens and Conway Twitty. I like rock music, too, but nothing too heavy. I don’t like a lot of music they play on the radio because it’s the same ten songs every hour. Nothing sounds like it used to and I miss the old cowboy songs and the old cheatin’ songs. Nowadays, it’s all about young people hanging out at a club. I can’t see Porter Wagoner hanging out at a club, but I imagine he would be easy to spot.
I like movies. I have since I was a kid. I like dramas and comedies and the occasional musical. I am getting tired of the endless super hero movies nowadays, though. We adults would like to see a movie once in a while, but I guess westerns and good old fashioned mysteries aren’t popular anymore. That’s okay, though. Netflix, DVDs and Blu-rays have taken care of that.
I like people. Readers of this column might be shaking their heads in disbelief. I like watching people. It was easier when we lived in a big city, but people watching was always entertaining. You can learn a lot about people by watching them on a subway platform or at a bus stop. I once saw a guy eat Thanksgiving dinner on a subway platform. I think he had a pretty good time, but it probably would have been better if he had someone to share the wishbone with him. A subway platform is not the place you want to ask a stranger if he wants to pull the wishbone.
I like sunrises and sunsets equally, but for different reasons. The sunrise is the promise of a new day and the sunset is the reward for a job well done. It doesn’t really get much simpler than that. I don’t like clouds and rain, though. I know there are people who do, but I’m not one of them. Gray and wet is just that: gray and wet.
I like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t care much for New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day or the summer holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas always meant the family was getting together. As I was growing up, we didn’t get together much during the summer.
I like writing for a newspaper. There is a particular cadence to my columns that is not difficult to pick up on. It’s designed to be read aloud. I read it aloud to my wife after I write it. I think it would be perfect for radio. I like radio. I don’t think my commentary would go over well on television. I know a few folks who work in television and they are very good at what they do. I know one or two who aren’t good at what they do, but that’s another story. I was told I have a face for radio once, which probably explains why I am not on television. Until then, I think I will keep writing for a newspaper. I have always wanted to do it and now I am. I like that, too.
Besides, what other job can you have where the finished product is thrown onto your porch every morning? You don’t see a bricklayer saying that often.
Contributing columnist and Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.