Can you feel the love? Neither can I.
I remember being appalled when I first this heard this story.
Obviously these two women had a history and I don’t think anyone expected Bette Davis to crank out some kind words about someone she clearly hated.
No, what I found upsetting was the way that Bette David declared her hatred so publicly.
Shame on her, I thought. Didn’t she realize how badly her comments made her look? Trashing the recently departed doesn’t do them any damage. It just makes you look like bitter and angry.
Well, last week I got the chance to practice what I had been peddling.
I learned through a Facebook post that a guy I used to work with in the 1980s and whom I hated with an absolute passion had died at 67 years old.
Oh, how I loathed this guy. I could give you all the details—I could write an opera about that prick--but this all happened 35 freaking years ago and I am really want to forget that grief.
I was shocked at the news of his death, and a little shaken, as I always am, when someone in my age bracket bites the dust. You don’t want to think about the belling that tolls for thee.
The challenging part came when people started posting their thoughts about this guy on Facebook.
I was stunned as I read one glowing comment after another, especially from people who I thought should have known better.
Are this people serious? I thought. We are talking about the same guy, right?
But I said nothing. As tempting as it was to unload a whole boatload of venom on this guy’s memory, I clammed up.
When a friend asked for my thoughts, I merely responded “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” and hoped that would be the end of it.
But it wasn’t. More questions came my way and that’s when the dark side of my mind reared up and composed the vilest, most vicious line it could create.
I’m not going to repeat it here, but this particular remark included that four-letter gem that starts with a “c.”
Yeah, that one.
His Hour Upon the Stage
Good God, how my fingers ached to hit the keyboard and pound out that message of hate.
If anyone how that right to say such a terrible thing, it was me, seeing as how much grief this guy had caused me.
But I held back. I knew unleashing this vile sentiment would only reflect poorly on me.
Instead I recalled a line from Macbeth that Malcolm uses to describe a traitorous nobleman who confesses his crimes and begs forgiveness before his execution.
“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it,” Malcolm says.
And that’s what I wrote.
It wasn’t easy holding back my rage. Even now I feel some regret about not dropping the C-bomb, and I want to go back to that memorial post and let the arrow fly.
But if I go back to the post, I go back to the past, and back to one of the unhappiest times in my life.
And I would be revealing my harshest self for all the internet to see.
This isn’t about respect for the dead, it’s about respect for myself.
But then my father, God rest his soul, was also a very angry man.
My mother, on the other hand, tended to believe that if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.
I would like to think that I’m a better person than I was in 1980s.
Back then I chose to stay in a hostile environment where nothing was ever going to change.
I complained endlessly about this guy and how he got away with murder, and how unfair it all was.
But I remained there for five years, convinced I could make a difference, and—I suspect—subconsciously enjoying my role as a martyr.
I hope that if I ever found myself in a similar situation that I would have the good sense to vacate the premises with all due haste.
I want to drop the hate for others and increase the love for myself.
Now I have to wrap this up. There are some wire hangers in my closet and I’m going to throw them the hell out.