Friday, January 11, 2013


            Life is a battle.
            And, to be a good soldier, one must know exactly what kind of war you’re fighting in.
            Over the 20 years I have worked in the bar/restaurant industry (Christ, it’s been way too long), I have come to understand a little bit of humanity. I have been witness to great celebrations, I have been witness to crushing sadness. I have seen people propose to one other and embrace with tears streaming down their faces in joy, and I’ve seen drunks fall off their bar stools and crack open their skulls on the dirty ground.
            So, with some small authority, I have been privy to several things about human beings; their frailties, their strengths, their sense of humor. But as of late, I have been seeing a disturbing rash of a particular personality type that I believe, if we don’t act fast, might be contagious.
            I’m talking about the Hater.
            You know this particular person. Allow me to set the record straight about who a Hater really is.
            A Hater is a person who, when around someone who is ‘shining’, immediately and seemingly with great pleasure, begins to judge, criticizes, insult, or demoralize this ‘shining’ individual. What I mean by ‘shining’ (for those relatively unfamiliar with hip-hop culture) is a person who is extraordinarily excited, stoked or super-happy about ANYTHING.
            Take Example 1. The other day I’m polishing some glasses, as bartenders tend to do, and there’s a couple of customers hanging out, drinking coffee, sipping on some Budweiser’s, doing the cross word puzzle. In walks one of our regulars, a Nice Young Lady, who looks like she’s about to jump out of her skin with wild elation.
            I look at the Nice Young Lady, nod to her, and say:
            “Hey darlin’! You look stoked. What’s shakin’?”
            She puts her large, heavy looking bag on the bar, pulls off her coat, and starts shaking her head.
            “Oh. My. God. Matthew, you’re not gonna believe this. I just found out I got the funding for my new project (I won’t go into the particular thing she had been working on for a long time, but I can say it has to do with social activism and for a great cause)! It’s actually going to happen! I’m losing my mind,” she explains.
            I lean forward: “A drink then?”
            She grins. “How about five?”
            We get into it. She’s got all this new merchandise for her ad campaign. Stickers, website, the whole bit. I can’t help but to roll with her happiness, it’s completely infectious. She’s grooving, explaining all her plots and plans.
            Then I see it. The guy sitting next to her.
            I can spot one of these people miles away.    
            That’s right.
            A Hater.
            The Hater sips on his beer in a slumped sort of way. He puts his beer down on the bar gruffly, occasionally wincing every time the Nice Young Lady exclaims something positive, as if her elation has some kind of repulsive smell he can’t bare. Unfortunately, the Nice Young Lady is unaware, probably because of the dizziness of happiness, that this sad fuck is actually a Hater.
            He grumbles: "What’s your project?”
            The Nice Young Lady is a spree of excitement, detailing her project and how she plans to enact it. The Hater listens, but acts unimpressed, sipping coolly on his Budweiser. I wait to get involved, only hoping for a different result than the one my instincts are telling me. The Nice Young Lady continues explaining how she’s going to pull off this social activism.
            “Yeah, I don’t know. It sounds a little bit unrealistic,” he mutters. I see the Nice Young Lady’s eyes go slightly dull. She’s not completely effected, but you can see this first bit of ‘hate’ is doing its job.
            Now I jump in. “Hey, fuck it right? All great things start with dreams. You gotta be a dreamer to get anywhere in life,” I tell the Nice Young Lady, trying to bring back some of that joy.
            But the Hater continues.
            “Can I see those stickers you have there?” He says, pointing to his beer to me, a classic asshole move. You can’t just ask for a beer and say please, motherfucker? Either way, this still does not dissuade the Nice Young Lady. She tells him all about the use of these stickers, what’s the story with them, and her eventual plan.
            “What do you think?” She asks.
            He looks at the sticker, flips it back down on the bar, and sips on the new beer I just placed in front of him and says:
            “They okay. I just think the design should be different.”
            Again, bam! Hater strikes again. You can see the eyes of the Nice Young Lady grow duller even more.
            I pick one up and say (yes, actual quote): “Don’t listen to this fucker. No accounting for taste and all.”
            Hater looks at me and I just give him my grin I personally reserve for those I dislike. Me and the Nice Young Lady continue to vibe with each other until the Hater leaves.
            Now I’m not saying don’t be critical in life. Be constructive with it. Nor am I arguing one should agree with everything that someone says or does. I’m just saying if you go out of your way to shit on something that took time, energy, and practice, merely because you’re a sad fuck whose only enjoyment in your day is to dump your useless negative energy on a precocious 24 year olds project, then we are going to make a new rule. 
            If you don’t know about something, you are no longer allowed to say your opinion about it. Is that too much to ask? Am I going to start criticizing some photograph if I’ve never picked up a camera in my life? Am I going to talk shit on surfing if I’ve never stood on my own board and rode the sea?
            I understand we have become a nation of opinions not based in any kind of fact, but Jesus, can we just own up to the fact that many of us simply have different skill sets? I’m SO tired of people—and yes I listen to it every day at the bars—talk about things they have no idea about, and on top of that they judge, criticize, slander, and demean those that actually try very hard to learn, to practice, and suffer for their own projects, whatever they may be.
            Someone at the bar the other day literally said, and I quote: “God, you know, Bob Dylan really shouldn’t play the harmonica. He’s terrible at it.”
            First of all retard, it’s Bob fucking Dylan. That fucker could play a bassoon and make it interesting and beautiful. And second, how many albums you release, asshole? How have you contributed to the world of harmonica playing? You don’t like Dylan, fine, no problem, but that he ‘shouldn’t play’ anything is asinine.
            And you hear this everywhere; from film critiques to music, to personal projects, to people, there are a million Haters out there.
            Let it be known. The Bartender Knows, upon this fine day, has now declared full war against Haters.
            If you shit on people’s hopes and dreams, you are officially my enemy.
            You think you’re being helpful by being critical or trying to show ‘tough love’, the only thing you’re going to get is deep seated resentment leveled right back. Everybody’s got bad days, I know. Hell, 2012 was a never ending bad day and even I delved into some hating myself.
            But 2013 will stand in history as the War On Haters, people, and I say join me in this grand battle. Defend the dreamers, the mad ones, and the wonderfully positive.
            You’re greatest weapon in this battle is this small and yet poignant catch phrase I want you to use when find yourself either subjected to some kind of hate or the witness of someone being shit on by a Hater.
            I want you to look them dead in the eyes, very calm and firm, and say:
            “Hey, buddy. Go FUCK yourself.”
            Ready? Let's practice.
            Someone tells you something is impossible.
            Go fuck yourself.
            Someone hates on your favorite song.
            Go fuck yourself.
            Someone makes you feel like your dreams aren't worth following.
            Go fuck yourself.
            They’ll get the hint.     
            Jesus turned the other cheek. 
           Well, we ain’t Jesus. We just some people in the world trying to get things done while the rest just try to prevent it.           
            HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYBODY! (except you, Haters. You know what we want you to do.)  




  1. Well said. You've honed in on one of the most acutely aggravating and most prevalent facets of modern social life: the Hater. Worse yet, Haterism somehow gets disguised as superior intelligence! Like, oh just cause you have a more nuanced and negatively-charged opinion, you must be more thoughtful and erudite??? I can't just like Bob Dylan in peace?

    "Gee, I love XYZ."

    "XYZ sucks."

    Well okay, there you go! Conversation successfully killed. Don't bother to ask me WHY I like XYZ and therefore learn something about me or challenge me to examine my tastes in a healthy way. No. That would require far too much effort and genuine attention.

    Ack. It wears a man down.