Love me, Love my Generalization

What? Me? Judgemental?I am not nice. It’s true. I quite often say not nice things (albeit TRUE things) for the sake of a laugh.


Because people are a pain. Not individually, naturally. One-on-one, I quite like everyone. It’s just all these heaving crowds of generalizations I can’t stand! Get them out of here!


For example, I work in Westport, Connecticut. Now, I started hearing whispers of what to expect in Connecticut — Westport, especially — before I even got here.

But in Westport, people are all UP in themselves. They think the world begins and ends with Westport. If you think the REST of America thinks the world starts and ends where they are, guess what? YOU ARE WRONG! World’s End is Westport, the center of the universe.


Let set this straight, for the record. I have been around and met lots of people, even outside of America. I have come up with the perfect list of the best people, for your easy reference. Don’t worry: most of you aren’t on it.

(based on ease of use and best use of space):

1. Iowans – The world’s best kept secret. (tied with)
1. Wisconsins – These are the smartest Americans, but they rarely have to pull the smart card because they are too busy being adorable.
2. Canadians (most French Canadians and some parts of Saskatchewan, excluded) – Even raised in an American “shadow,” they still manage to be sensible, rugged, worldly and fearless. (tied with)
2. The Dutch – Go there and see for yourself why they are the master race.
3. Anyone who works for Disney – Large ratio of gay men, good hospitality training, excellent health care package and nice weather make happy people.
4. Bartenders – No explanation needed, really.

Other than that, most people are exhausting.

Mais, j’ai beaucoup de regrets

Why? Because even though my ability to be hilarious at the expense of the truth of others flaws means many people flock to me and think I am witty and charming and disarming (particularly because I say out loud the thing they are thinking), it seems to be leaking tap I sometimes can’t plug. And it always reminds me of Angie.

Who is Angie? Angie Heck, an old friend of mine from my Kansas City-WDAF days,  is a born-again Christian. But, that was incidental to the one strong and fervent belief that really marked her:

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

The odd thing about Angie: she never SAID this was her belief. It was just WHAT she did. This was true about all of her beliefs, in fact. I count her among my lifelong friends (I hope) — even though we don’t keep up — because I really respect her and emulate her. She never hassled me to go to church with her or pray with her or to be nicer or not say funny-awful things about people.

In fact, she wasn’t even capable of making me feel BAD about the way I acted. But she always tried to point me in another way of thinking. She asked if I wanted to join her on some of her outings and to church. She graciously accepted any answer I had and always listened patiently and without argument when I declined or if I had reasons.


If my atheistic (and skeptical) friends were here — people who never met Angie — they’d have something to say about her ability to “manipulate” me, I am sure. But what would they have to say, quite simply, about her human kindness? I know they couldn’t argue with it if they met her. It would be easy to dislike her as a generalization, but simply impossible NOT to find her one of the best human role models around (though she would naturally disdain of that!).

And she never even worked for Disney and isn’t from Iowa!

I always try to think about her and me — me, my with my average, everyday Catholic Christianity paired with my Gandhi-esque viewpoints — as different people on different paths. I could never be Angie: she is TOTALLY type B (like Colin), easy going, infused naturally with patience, a slow mover. I am not built that way, and hopefully for reasons that have their own benefits to the world, that is OK.

So, while I try to remember that I have something to learn, from her or from anyone who makes different choices than me, I am always looking for other ways to make people laugh.

Even if it means I have to be a little bit more boring.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

  4 comments for “Love me, Love my Generalization

  1. August 3, 2007 at 9:31 am

    “Nice” entry (get it?). Here are some of the ways I had while reading…I think I am the nicest person you will ever meet – by omission. Given the frequency and depth of all the things I want to say – and don’t – and all the things I want to do – and don’t – it’s amazing that I am 1)alive, 2)not serving a life sentence in Fulsom and/or 3)not schizophrenic.

    That said, I DO think it’s important to be thoughtful of others and polite and make more fun of myself than I do of others. Not sure why, other than I’d like to think it makes the people, places and things I interact with just a little better for our interaction.

    The rest of the thoughts will have to be posted later…emergency just came up…

    The REAL nicest guy you know (w/ tongue firmly planted),


  2. August 4, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    I couldn’t agree more about the kindness and good spirit of people from Iowa.

  3. August 5, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    For those of you who have never been, “You really ought to give Iowa a try….”

    “We can be cold as the thermometer in December if you ask about our weather in July, and we’re so by god stubborn we can stand touching noses for a week at a time and never see eye to eye. But what the heck, you’re welcome, glad to have you with us, even if we may not ever mention it again!”

    And if you don’t know what that is from, you should rent “The Music Man”

  4. Your brother Mike
    September 21, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    I find it fairly ironic that you write a blog entry complaining about broad generalizations immediately after you write a blog entry with a broad generalization of Americans as southern-drawled rednecks with flannel shirts and shotguns.

    I’m just sayin’

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