Each summer the newspaper at which I am an editor pays for every member of the staff to take two classes of our choice at a nearby junior college. I usually take a computer class and one other. The computer class is to keep me up on what is going on under my fingertips and the other is to keep tabs on what else is happening around me. Newspapering can be surprisingly isolating.
This year I took a class called “Someone I am…”. I am so sorry I did. It was two days of “visualizing our inner selves”, “grasping the angels we can be”, “stepping onto the great plain of our greater selves”. We placed our pain in rocks and washed them then threw them away. We drew pictures of our agressions (with crayons) and through a ceremony of dancing and chanting we destroyed the drawings… and on and on.
I (who has been compared to Lew Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show both physically and professionally) did it all and I screamed at no one calling them blithering idiots, moronic dupes or similar things I was thinking despite their earning the titles.
I was polite. If they wanted to resent their husbands because he happened to want to watch the baseball game on television rather than lie on the front lawn and chant something the insructor made up in a psuedo-language, fine by me (even though I thought the husband should have her committed to some sort of institution).
I even took part in the creation of final ceremony. We wrote a poem and recited it. We placed rocks and flowers around a candle we danced to some weird new age music and we chanted. Then it was over.
Everyone (except one - guess who?) headed for a group hug. I picked up my polished stones, my crayons, my journal, my bottle of natural spring water and sidled towards the door. Then I hear from the pack of bodies in the center of the room, “Doesn’t TV want a hug?”
Like the cur I am, I pretended not to hear and continued out the door fearfully thinking this was all one of those SPY Television things that my reporters set up intending to blackmail me.
Let me answer now. No, I do not want a hug from you! I hug, kiss, and say “I love you,” to only a handful of people in my life. I refuse to demean those individuals by doing and saying those things with an addled group of new age boobs that think the ultimate in sensitivity is dancing around barefoot in circles to a pan flute. It is a little thing, I know. But I refuse to do it. If it offended you, write a letter to the editor.