How to hold a grudge

How to hold a grudge

I used to be a huge fan of the New York Times Magazine on Sundays. Every week I would turn to the essay on the last page, all excited about the insightful piece that I was about to read. You could almost hear my brain cells crackling in anticipation of seeing the font, smelling the ink, reading the endless SAT words. It brought me such joy. Upon finishing, I would sigh and think, “One day, I hope I can write something like that.” Something that would move people, cause people to pause a second and think about something other than themselves and whatever problems they may have going on in their lives. I am all about escapism, whether it be on television, music, a book — anything that allows me to retreat from reality is good by me.  And these essays would ultimately lead to conversations with my dad or any other intelligent people in my life. After all, if I read the same column as a smart person, didn’t that make me smart? (No, but dumb people think that way, so let me have my moment. Thank you.)

A few weeks ago, some friends/neighbors of mine had gone on vacation and forgot to cancel their NY Times. On past vacations of theirs, their party line was, “Whoever gets our paper first can keep it.” I was the lucky one this time (as the only paper we get now is the New York Post on weekends, and that, though more Husband #1’s speed politically, is far from enriching reading). In fact, I hit gold twice and got two papers! Yes, this is what my life has come to, getting exciting about taking someone’s paper. Of course the first time I took their paper, some man with a French accent asked if I knew whose paper I was taking. Apparently, I look like a common criminal, walking around town in my patched-up jean skirt and Disney character knapsack. Who knew I looked so menacing? I thought I just looked homeless. In any event, it led to this column, so at least there’s that.

The magazine is not how I remembered it. Truth is, it has been years since I have read any part of the Times. Even Sunday Styles — I used to be all about the wedding announcements. And boy, would I get excited when I actually knew someone who was getting married. Clearly, it has been a very long time since that happened. When I read this particular wedding section, I learned that in addition to Mr., Ms., Mrs., Miss, there is Mx. Apparently that is the non-gender-specific honorific. If I got that wrong, please don’t shoot me. I mean well. But this isn’t about that. This is about a column that was about holding a grudge.

Grudge-holding is something that I am quite familiar with, so I was very excited to read what this author had to say. But as I was reading the piece, I found myself getting very annoyed. “This person has no idea what they are talking about!” I thought to myself, and said aloud to Husband #1 who, unfortunately for him, was sitting in the same room with me. Carrie Fischer had the perfect line about holding a grudge. She said, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” This author was comparing holding a grudge to ants carrying sticks or something. Maybe more of my brain cells have disintegrated than I think have, but this writer was way off. And it was making me really angry that this person could have an essay printed in the Times and not me. Not that I have ever submitted an essay to the Times, and I am so humbled and honored that the Standard publishes my column every week — who even needs the Times? But still, if I still held grudges, I definitely would hold one against the dolt who wrote that column.

But it did make me think about all of the people who I no longer speak to (or who don’t speak to me.) At the time, you feel that you will never get over being left out or being made to feel inconsequential, but once I learned to just let it go, it was no longer a grudge. Of course, for some reason, once you cut someone out of your life, or they cut you out, you are never allowed to speak to them again for all eternity. (Hey, I didn’t make these rules. Unless this stuff just happens to me.) That part I don’t understand. But that is for another time.

And no more NY Times magazine for me. Ever. Free or not. It’s just too frustrating.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is hoping for some good news and wishes good health to all those who need it.

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