Saturday, December 06, 2008

Getting Over Hating People

Since I drive a long way to school and work I have a long time to think about stuff. Last week the radio station (yes I listen to the FM radio, my tape deck died years ago and I don't have money to get a CD player) was having a "Totally 90s Weekend" and they played that one Blind Melon hit. I'm not a fan. The thing that I'm ashamed of is that I was happy when I learned of the death of their lead singer, Shannon Hoon, in 1995. At the time I hated the music of the 1990s and the retro-hippie shit/grunge thing that was going on. So when I heard that Hoon had died of an OD I laughed.

So last weekend when I heard the song and I remembered how I enjoyed the singer's passing I felt bad. I felt bad about myself, so I spent the next few days thinking about this concept of hating people that you have never met for reasons that really have no direct (or even indirect) effect on your life.

I never met Hoon, Hoon never did anything to me and yet I celebrated his death. At the time I was a hard-rock guy who was having trouble dealing with the fact that the 1980s were gone and the music went with it. Still this is no excuse. It was a shitty thing for me to do and I'm sorry about it. It wasn't fair to Hoon, the guy needed help and was probably a lost soul long before he OD'd and there I was applauding his failure. The guy had a family who loved him and he had fans who loved his music, his life was as valid and valuable as mine. It wasn't just Hoon either, Kurt Cobain's death made my friggin' week. His band hammered the nails in the coffin of a brand of music that I was too stupid to realize was long since dead. Those kids gathering in the park to mourn him was a huge source of amusement for me. What an asshole I am. Kurt Cobain was another guy who I'd never met and had never done anything to me personally. Worse, he didn't do anything to anyone else but himself. I hated Nirvana back then and yet today I have a couple of their albums. The guy was an original.

So where does this hatred come from? Was I so much better than those guys? No, not really. On top of making me a giant douche bag it also takes a lot of energy to hate people you've never actually met. I wonder what that hate did to me physically? Did it make my ugly? Shorten my life? Make me fat? Today I don't really hate as much as I used to and I'm making an effort to let what hate that I do have go. I think the big change came when I learned to be happy for other people and their success. When I was young I had a lot of jealousy and resentment and I've made a great effort to let all of that go because it came from a bad place to begin with. I wish I'd learned this earlier in my life.

So to Cobain and Hoon I offer my apology, I'm sorry I felt the way that I did and I'm genuinely sorry that you guys aren't still around.