I hesitate to pen this because it paints me in a bad light, but if we can’t accept things and move on, what can we do? I’m not that person now, so I guess it’s okay.
I used to be one of those guys. You know the ones, who are always bragging about the newest thing they have or like that no one else has even heard of. And if someone else *has* heard of it, then I didn’t like it anymore, even if I secretly still did, because it didn’t make me special anymore.
It started with music. I would find the most obscure bands and singers I could, just so I could say I liked them and get the blank looks from all the others who weren’t “in the know” as I was about this amazing obscure artist. I would follow them around from seedy bar to seedy bar and claim to be their biggest fan. You know, until they got a hit song, and then I was out of there because they weren’t all mine anymore.
Then it moved on to writers. If everyone else was reading John Grisham I had to be mired in John Barth (who I’ve never really understood, but his writing was “high brow” enough to count), as the good intellectual that I was. I would bring his books wherever I went just so I could stick up my nose and explain how most people don’t “get” Barth, but that he was an intense genius. Yeah. Right.
Technology was next on the list. Having the latest gadget that was wait-list only was the ultimate for me in the mid-’90s. It was like having something cool made ME cool, but it had to be rare, something most others didn’t have. Just like everything else that had led to that point. I can’t tell you about all the previously cool items that became mainstream and I gave up on for specifically that reason.
I guess television shows were last in line. I would pick shows that were on the verge of cancellation and become their biggest fan, just because obviously not many others were watching it. I felt so chic when I would mention that THIS was my favorite show, even though I knew most other people didn’t “get” it. Because it felt good that I got it. It made me feel superior to all the paeans out there who were so clueless.
Then I grew up. Sure, it was tons later than it should have taken to get there, but it eventually happened. It was almost like I woke up one morning and though, “Sam, you’re being ridiculous. Why can’t you like Hootie & the Blowfish? What’s wrong with appreciating John Grisham? Why deprive yourself of a technological gadget just because everyone else is using it? Sure, Dawson’s Creek is popular, but you’re going to watch it anyway, because you LIKE IT.”
That’s it right there. I decided if I like it then what does it matter how I come off to other people. If I like the Spice Girls I’m not going to hide it. I’m just going to enjoy it, whether others agree with me or think they’re all tone deaf.
And John Barth sucks. Legitimately.