Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Opinions? Everybody has one.

There is an individual I know who has a tendency to let whatever pops into their head fall out of their mouth without engaging the filter in between.  Non-potable opinions fly out of this one person with an alarming regularity, with an untold body count when all is said and done.  Actually, it happens that I know a LOT of people with that same deficiency.  Usually I like to do a little something called “character compositing” (where I roll a few personalities into one), but feel free to call this person by their first name.  If you know them.  Or are them.

It isn’t just an unfiltered tongue doing damage with these loose flying opinions, either.  All over the internet there are posts by people who let their fingers do the talking without the benefit of a moral, conscientious sifter.  They hide behind the comfortable curtain of anonymity or their seemingly untouchable status, since posting requires no face time or interaction with those who comment after the fact.  Oh, it is a brave new, somewhat ugly, world that computers have created when it comes to opinions. 

Over the years, I’ve tried to explain away the reasons that someone would blurt out hurtful or embarrassing comments, thinly disguising them as “opinions”, but as age tenderizes this beefy lil’ ol’ heart of mine, I’m starting to think it has nothing to do with oblivion, psychological damage or really good intentions (as some claim their barbed remarks to be) that sets jaws a-clacking, with unhinged opinions.

There are those who walk through life whose opinions spray emotional Agent Orange wherever they go, killing the spirit of those in their wake with what they consider to be constructive criticism (one of the biggest oxymorons ever).  It does not matter how educated, experienced or spiritual you are…your opinion is not a one-size-fits all.  Let us try ‘em on, but if they don’t fit?  Please, move along.  Stop trying to shove your shiny shoe on our foot.

If you don’t care for our political, religious, eco or career choices I’d like to suggest you drop those rocks back in the flower garden, perhaps stopping to look at yourself in your reflective targets.  Sure, you’re entitled to your opinion and you may be taller, but when did your wings grow so large that you float above reproach?

An old joke about opinions compares them to a certain body part, stating that “everybody has one” – and my mother-in-law (may she forever rest, in a slightly agitated state) would tell you that insufficient output of that body part on a daily basis is cause for great distress (TMI, I know. But, that was her shtick).  Loose opinions, in my opinion, are held in the same esteem.  Not very highly.  And, it isn’t that I don’t like ‘em (opinions, that is).  I do!  I do!  It’s just that I’d like them to have a slightly higher moral fiber content.  For example, there is no merit to having someone ask my daughter, in a room full of people, “Have you put on weight since last year?”  That opinion of yours?  Is crap.

It seems that our senses are responsible for a whole lot of opinions to be raised for discussion.  Flavors, sounds, smells and textures, they all lead to various opinions, found in any media format called “reviews” which are written by critics.  But, when someone voices their thoughts in public about a musical artist, singing their praises for writing their own material and unique phrasing you really shouldn’t tear it down just because you consider it “noise” – one man’s symphony is another woman’s cacophony, but it doesn’t give you the right to dismiss it, loudly and repeatedly.

And when it comes to emotions?  Well, emotions are definitely not to be weighed on some twisted scale of justice, in the world of opinions.  Your perceived abandonment as a child is not equal to/greater than/or less than the physical or psychological abuse of others.  Pain is not something you can weigh.  This is not a contest.  It cannot, nor should it, have a prize to be won by one party or another.  I will not state the obvious about love and joy not being up for evaluation, either.

We are all entitled to our opinion, it is the stuff exciting conversations are made of, but opinions have also destroyed nations.  Sometimes, perhaps even sadder, households. 

The good news is that opinions, like bodily waste management patterns, can change.  With time, consideration and the presentation of healthy material human beings can be swayed to consider the opinions of others.  Benjamin Franklin said, “For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found otherwise.”  So, while I encourage you to keep serving up your opinions for consideration, I’d like to ask you to be mindful of how you present it.  As my highly opinionated old boss, Peter Keefe used to say, “Fancy mustard on a crap sandwich, is still a crap sandwich.”  And I don’t have to take it.

“In matters of opinions, our adversaries are insane.” – Oscar Wilde

Leave a Reply