I Love Humanity...It's The People I Can't Stand

You know how every beauty queen stands up there, fixing her crown and holding back the tears. What’s the first thing she wishes for? That’s right: “world peace.” Dumb as she makes that sound, it’s really the mother of all wishes.

Which is how I feel when I look out at my world from a long shot. The sweeping fields of lush green and yellow ripening in the spring…the cobble-stone streets rambling through country hamlets…the sky-seeking towers of our great cities…throngs of happy families giggling through Disney World…caring teachers happily herding their kids through recess…little ones building sand castles…congregations praying in the pews… crowds standing with their hands on their heart at flag-led parades and games.

People en masse can be people at their best. Because you’re experiencing them like a Currier & Ives or Norman Rockwell painting. Humanity! The pinnacle of the Creator’s [or if you insist, Evolution’s] handiwork down the eons. The one strain of planetary life which has grown and conquered all in its way.

Now here’s the problem.

I can’t speak for you, but when the long shot tightens, and you find yourself shoulder-and-sweat next to them, something happens to humanity. The nobility gets grainy. Standing behind humanity in an growly checkout line, I seem always to get the shopper who waits till then to take out her coupons… driving behind a serpentine stretch of rush-hour traffic, I always find the hesitant first-time driver… on planes, I wonder why the passenger next to me is without exception the largest, latest most luggaged one on board…and as for the theatre, I can bet my life that 15 minutes after it starts, the usher will be jabbing a flashlight in my face to guide the entire party of late-comers to the very damn middle of my aisle!

I want to love my fellow man; and woman too. I believe in world peace, Santa Claus, and all the Rockwell calendars in my house. I really really do. But why, why, are people so different than humanity….?

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  • Jonathan Swift had a diametrically opposite view. In a letter to Alexander Pope, he wrote: "But principally I hate and detest that animal called man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas and so forth."

  • My father essentially said what is in the headline.

    For that matter, I don't hear Miss Arkansas saying "we better nuke Iran before they nuke us." Or even North Korea. Sort of like you never hear the mother of a gang thug shot down say on the 10 p.m. news "I'm glad he's dead." Maybe a few said that about Osama and Qadaffi (or however he used to spell his name), which seem to be the two big stories of 2011.

  • In reply to jack:

    Fellas ~ it seems you illustrate just how differently we can see our fellow man. And while I respect Swift, I always seem to prefer humanity from the long rose-colored-view vs the more revealing closeups

  • The devils are in the details or the warts and all.

    That's why I try to not to look at myself too closely in the mirror.

    If I do, I lose my humanity and become a person.

    Mirror, mirror....

  • Its the concept of humanity we love. The wonderful ideas of peace, science, logic, the good things that humans have done and can do collectively are the bright spots always on the horizon that we love. Unfortunately, few individual humans live anywhere close to the airy and beloved ideals.

    People suck. It's just that simple. But its worse than that. They ALWAYS WILL suck. People cannot change. People are venal, hateful, selfish, ignorant, unfeeling, and violent. It will never change, either. That is human nature.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Richard & Plublius ~ Sounds as if each of you -- to different degrees -- shares my problem with the closeups. I mean, the more we get to know or be known, the more flaws seem to emerge (i.e."familiarity breeds contempt"). People may "suck," although I'd shade that a little by calling it: The human condition."

  • I work in customer service. Rudeness has become the norm. Some customers seem to think I'm there for them to "lift their leg on." I have gotten recognition for my customer service from management, but some people will not and cannot be pleased. After being berated by one man, I mumbled under my breath, "And I'm sure your children visit often." Next time, I'll just say it out loud.

    I told my fellow employees about the guy who wanted me to give him a kiss. He's going to find his cane where the sun doesn't shine if he comes near me again!

    Lord, grant me patience and HURRY!

  • In reply to siblingless:

    Sibling ~ I don't envy you your job...I imagine it tests your faith in humanity every day of the week...patience, yes, and make it quick, Lord!

  • In reply to siblingless:

    Customer Service is an oxymoron today, especially on the telephone.

    The only good customer service I got recently was at Target. I said, "I'm returning this because it doesn't work," the person behind the desk scanned my receipt, and gave me a credit slip. In the meantime, I said "do I have to show you my card," and she said "no you're done." I said thanks, and that was it.

    In the meantime most customer service is like at Dominick's, where one has a personalized deal for "24 oz Safeway bread at $1.88," buy 2 different types of 24 oz. Safeway bread, get the deal on one, and then get a lecture from customer service before getting the $1.11 back.

    Not to mention getting the runaround about whether Comm Ed will inspect a defective meter (they never did) or repeatedly disconnected by the cable company telephone system. At least the second representative was courteous. Also, when they ask me how the weather is in Chicago, I ask how are things in Bangalore.

    Maybe Haysoos will get you another job.

  • Jack --We are all "fallen" and lifted up and fallen. Especially with today's ice.

    Siblingless... I once had an angry guy with an axe chase me around the Hardware Department of Montgomery Wards. He was not in a kissing mood.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Richard ~ "Fallen" pretty much says it all! When our neurobiologists fixate on our genes and genetic engineering, that may be good. But not good enough, in my opinion. Better that we start by better understanding "fallen."

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