Lately, I’ve had a hard time carrying on a conversation with people in my life. For some unknown reason, there is a disconnect that never existed before. Perhaps it’s my age. It could be my new aftershave. It’s possible I’ve lost my mind and everyone else is completely sane. Whatever the source of the problem, I just can’t get through a conversation without someone pointing out the evils of my life and how I am responsible for the destruction of the planet.
While I know that many topics have passionate supporters or detractors, I simply didn’t realize they were all around me. To make matters worse, I was unaware of the full scope of topics that are now considered taboo. It is true that some of my opinions are controversial (for instance, I still hold to the old-fashioned opinion that you should never wear white after Labor Day), but lately, I’ve been lambasted and turkey basted about topics that I assumed were safe territory.
Take a conversation I had with a friend the other day. I mentioned that I worked on a research hog farm while in college (in 1982). Big mistake. Between the outrage of GMO crops, the factory hog farms springing up all around, cruelty to animals, pollution of local waterways, and the global food crisis, I found myself apologizing for even touching a single grain of wheat or scratching a hairy porcine back.
Or, as another example, a few years ago I bought an electric mower. I thought this was the responsible, “Green” decision. Most of my neighbors mocked me but they are Republicans so I was okay with that. When I mentioned my purchase to my tree-hugging friends they just lowered their heads and shook them in shame. “You know,” they said with sorrow in their voice, “most of Indiana’s electricity comes from coal so you’re probably doing more harm to our environment than if you were to just use a gas-powered mower.” Seriously? A guy just can’t catch a break.
But it doesn’t stop there. Here are just a few discussions I’ve had in the last couple weeks concerning daily life and the negative feedback I get.
- Want to go deer hunting? Bambi-killer.
- Want to eat a nice fat chicken dinner? Do you know what they do to those birds?
- Want to drink bottled water? There are thirsty people around the world!
- Want to wear synthetic materials? Haven’t you heard of sweatshops?
- Turn down your thermostat? Global Warming!
- Drive anything larger than a trashcan? Global Warming.
- Purchase a paper book? Haven’t you heard of e-books…and Global Warming?
- Print agendas for a meeting? Global Warming and How many trees did you kill?
- Eat white eggs? Again, do you know what they do to those birds?
- Drink soda? Gonna make you fat.
- Drink diet soda? Gonna kill you.
- Fertilize your yard? Planet hater.
- Blow your lawn clippings into the street? I’m calling the neighborhood association.
- Brush your teeth with the wrong toothpaste? Blue plastic beads are clogging the oceans.
- Buy a dog from a breeder? Do you listen to Sarah McLaughlin and not weep?
- Write a blog about other people’s opinions? Don’t mention it.
To counter the constant negative backlash I suffer every time I leave the house, I’ve decided there is only one possible solution: Never leave the house. So I’m ordering all my supplies from Amazon, having them air-lifted via drone (don’t even start), and mowing my yard late at night to avoid eye contact with my neighbors.