Thursday, August 9, 2012

Memo to Shirley MacLaine: I'm Over All That, Too

A good friend recently recommended I read Shirley MacLaine's latest book, I'm Over All That. The premise intrigued: MacLaine writes that once you've reached a certain age, you know what's important and what's not. You've earned the right to say "oh hell no!" to things that have repeatedly bored, hurt, angered, or befuddled you.

Reading MacLaine's book, I realized there are several things I'm over now and will probably continue to be over. Here are a few.

I'm over one-sided conversations.

Recently, I encountered someone in a restaurant who I'd known during my Charleston days. I acknowledged him, asked how he was. It was as if a curtain had been raised, and his floor show began. He talked amusingly and yet incessantly, asking me absolutely no questions in return.

At one point, he was reminiscing aloud about Hurricane Hugo, which blew through Charleston in 1989. I mentioned that we, in San Francisco, had experienced a major earthquake the following month. This was a test; I wanted to see if my disclosure would prompt him to ask what the experience had been like for me. He failed the test.

I'm over him and people like him. I want a dialogue, and I feel sad for serial monologists. How can they ever expect to learn anything about themselves if they don't listen to other people? (The answer, of course: They aren't interested in learning about themselves, because what they'll learn won't be pretty.)

I'm over politics in general and politicians in particular.

True leaders who believe in and fight for a just cause? I love them. People who go into politics for the power, the manipulation, the media exposure? I've had a belly full of them.

I've stopped reading the vast majority of 2012 campaign news. I already know who I'm voting for as president, so why subject myself to all that needless noise? I'm way over all that, and I doubt that's going to change.

I'm over french fries.

Just kidding.

I'm over Chic-fil-A.

This is a tough one for me because I love, love, love their sandwiches. But I'm not spending my money on an organization that's so dead-set against my right to marry whoever the hell I want.

I'm not over freedom of speech.

Chic-fil-A's executives have absolutely every right to voice their opinions. And all those people who waited in line for hours to buy the restaurant's delicious sandwiches during the much-publicized Chic-fil-A appreciation days? I say good for you, go for it.

In fact, I support your right to support Chic-fil-A 100 percent. Just don't get all Judge Judy on me because I'm boycotting them. That's my right, too. And come to think of it, you should support me in my boycott just as much as I support you. We're both exercising our freedom of speech and keeping democracy alive. Everybody wins.

I'm over guns and gun lobbyists.

Yes, I know the right to bear arms is baked into the Constitution. And yes, I've heard the slogan that if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them. I don't know the solution to the gun violence in this country. But I know this: It's a huge problem and it needs to be addressed in a sensible way, soon. Let's start by revising that ban on assault rifles. I mean, outside the military perhaps, who has a right to an assault rifle? No one, in my view. 

I'm over entitled pedestrians and distracted drivers.

But I suspect you are, too, so let's move on.
I'm nearly over big Hollywood blockbusters.

The big Hollywood movies this summer were recycled garbage. Here's how bad it was: The Amazing Spider-Man, one of the big money makers, was a remake of a film that was only 10 years old! I'm sure I'll be tempted to pay my money for another 'tentpole' film at some point, but for now, I'm done.

I'm not over movies about real people.

My two favorite movies of the summer have been independent productions about people, not comic-book characters, and the things that make them human.

The first is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, two actresses I greatly admire. The film is about British retirees who have lost their dreams. They think the game is over for them, reluctantly move to India--and discover that, far from being over, their lives are taking a different, and ultimately more interesting, direction.

The second is Hollywood to Dollywood, a charming documentary featuring gay, identical twins. It's the story of people (the Lane brothers) who are chasing their dreams and who, along the way, discover things even more valuable than what they were seeking. For more on H2D, see my post about the Lane twins.

I'm never over reading what you have to say.

A blog is at its best when it's a dialogue, not a one-sided conversation. I'm fortunate to have readers who can always be counted on to chime in with funny, smart, personal stories of their own. For that, I am sincerely grateful.

Now that I've buttered y'all up, I'd love to know: What are you over for good, and why? What are you not over? 

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  1. I'm over baby showers. I know, I am going to hell. But, I'd rather just send the gift and not attend.
    I'm over bigotry and prejudice.
    I'm over white rice.

    I'll never be over cream cheese, potato chips and margaritas. Preferably together.

    And, I'll never be over reading this blog. LOVE it and LOVE you to pieces James.

    1. JuJu, you're the best! LOVE YOU right back!

  2. I am over trying to be nice to family members who do not like me or anything about me (or my immediate family).

    I will always love chocolate, cheese cake, and BLT sandwiches (but only in summer when tomatoes are real).

    Keep up your great work!

    1. Thanks MerCyn. And I'm with you on all your points--especially the BLTs in summer. They're even better with heirloom tomatoes and apple-smoked, thick, crunchy bacon. Oh my God, I want one NOW.

  3. I am over working in the legal field. Need I explain why?

    I am not over learning as much as I possibly can in this lifetime and eating anything made with potatoes while I am at it: fried, mashed, baked, whatever.

    I love your list and agree with every one. Excellent stuff, sir.

    1. Great comments Feisty Cat -- especially about potatoes. I can't get enough of them. I've even been known to dip a french fry into someone's mashed potatoes! Thanks for commenting as always.

  4. i am over everyone in l.a. who NEVER get their heads out of their phones. they remind me of the people in the movie "wall-e" who are always riding around looking at their personal screens. i am so over grindr that i have never been on it.

    i will never be over shirley maclaine!


    1. I hear you, Tony. And yes, I will never be over Shirley MacLaine. I've always enjoyed her performances, always.

  5. Jim, I would say we are about 100% in agreement in what we are over and what we are not over. Let me just say, yes I believe in free speech, but when Chick-Fil-A donates money to organizations that try to convert me? It's not freedom of speech any more it's flat out harmful.

    One other thing I am over? "Respecting" someone's opinion about why they don't believe I should be married to the person I love. No, I don't respect your opinion or religion, if it preaches hate. OK, off my soapbox now.

    Great post!

  6. I am not over learning to play piano, though nearly 80. I am nearly over fly fishing for trout for the same reason.

  7. Hey Jim,

    I'm SO over anyone who doesn't know that good customer service requires commitment, a smile and eye-contact.

    That may be MY next blog topic. ;)


  8. Jim, you echo exactly how I feel! Is something in the water because people have gone nuts. Especially entitled pedestrians! I think I need a support group (or at least a massage) before I scream!
    ps. miss your smile bunches.

    1. Jesse, a massage and a scream would probably do anyone some good! You're a sweetheart and I hope to see your smile soon! xoxo Jim

  9. At 54 I am over myself. People have telling me to do this for so long took em up on it.

    1. Theaterdog, you might be over you but I'm not. I always love reading your comments!

  10. I feel so deprived...
    ...never, ever, even saw a Chik-whatsit, and now when I do I'll feel the necessity to avoid it.
    I, too, will defend the right to freedom of speech. It's too bad some folks don't understand the consequences of not filtering their thoughts before exercising said freedom.

  11. James, I can really relate to 'your' list! Especially those one-way conversations. I too will never be over Shirley MacLaine!
    Trying to make my siblings understand me, I'm all over that!!
    Must get that book.

    1. I'm with you, Jim! Thanks for commenting. So glad you're reading my blog. -- Jim