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All Extremes of Human Emotion and My Dinner Plate

October 8, 2012

I love hamburgers. I always have. “You could make hamburgers every night,” I used to say to my mom, “and I would be perfectly happy with that.” And growing up in small town Wyoming, where meat is the center of every meal and ranchers many of our family friends, we had hamburgers often. Growing up, I wouldn’t even put anything on the burger. Just give me a patty of beef and I was a happy camper. Then, I slowly graduated to the addition of cheese, bun, and now the works.

The problem with my love for hamburgers though, is that I have always hated french fries. Unless they are completely buried in salt and seasoning and covered in sauce or chili and/or cheese, I want nothing to do with them. “Eat your fries,” my dad would scold me, but I never would even if it took sitting at the table for hours. There is just nothing appealing to me about those salt infested fatty root slices and there probably never will be. Because I hate french fries. But I do love hamburgers.

I recently realized when looking down at a plate of hamburgers and french fries though, that I had the entire range of human emotion lying before on top of one moderately large dinner plate. It made me think of all the times my sister would stab the ol’ “If you love them so much, then why don’t you marry them?” To which I would respond, “Maybe I will!” as I sank my teeth into my new handheld fiancé, its grease probably dripping from my chin and onto my shirt.

Looking back, that is probably the wisest thing my sister could have said about the situation because she was essentially saying, “Look Brendon, you are greatly confusing the use and meaning of the word love when you apply it to your infatuation with a ground beef sandwich.”

Then I thought about my general use of the words love and hate and how, years later, I am still confusing the their uses an meanings. For example, when I watch a Nicholas Cage movie, I will tell the people around me how I hate Nicholas Cage as an actor, but I love to laugh my way through his movies and the fact that I have moved the entire range of human emotion from a dinner plate to a movie about a flaming motorcycle riding skeleton is even more disturbing then before.

It makes me wonder the repercussions of this sort of language confusion. Does the fact that I continually say I love hamburgers numb my understanding of the word love? When I decided that I loved my ex girlfriend, did I really love her, or did I love her in the same way I love laughing at Nicholas Cage? Do I hate things such as the act of human trafficking as much as I hate eating french fries? Because if that’s the case, I will occasionally participate in human trafficking if I am hungry or bored enough.

I think this can be applied to more than just the terms love and hate as well. In our culture, we love to abuse terms and narrow them. For example, when I say something along the lines of, “I f***ing hate this traffic,” I am really numbing the impact of any and all curse words.

Love and hate are more complex than what one can possibly feel for an item of food, but yet they are what we constantly apply to such items. It makes me think of how we are becoming increasingly careless in our use of language in our culture and how it is possible that our narrowing of language narrows our ability to understand certain complexities in life, thus resulting in ignorant confusion. If I say I love a certain girl for example, I am perhaps more prone to have sex with or even marry that girl before it is healthy for us to do so. To me, this sort of behavior has to play a part in problems such as the ridiculously high divorce rate in our culture, to name just one.

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