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Good Things and Why We Hate Them

Good Things and Why We Hate ThemIs it possible for a good thing to be too good? If you really think about it, don’t we all agree the answer is yes, but for different reasons? I love pizza, for example. In a sense, it’s my kryptonite. Put a pie down in front of me, no matter what the size, and as long as it doesn’t have mushrooms—those things are nasty—I’m going to wolf it down. This is all well and good until I start accusing Mrs. Crosby of shrinking my pants to justify my gluttonous behavior. This is even true in our relationships. For example, if Jennifer Aniston is so hot, why does every guy she hooks up with ultimately run away from her like a scalded dog? It’s almost like we all have a built-in “goodness meter” that chronicles the continuum that we seem to follow from intense infatuation to bitter hatred. I guess the fundamental question is what causes a good thing to become the object of our unrelenting dislike?

For some, I believe the demarcation line between liking and loathing is predicated on repetition. Isn’t this why we wind up hating the team that always wins? Maybe it’s our innate juvenile sense of “fairness”—“I don’t want to play Monopoly any more because Billy always wins”—or our desire for variety, but ultimately we get sick of the team that is always beating everyone else. No one disputes the historical greatness of Notre Dame football, but when you reach the point that most folks would root against them, even if they were playing a team of convicted murderers coached by Charles Manson, the level of dislike has reached the pathological. In other words, we like you, but we’re also sick of seeing you.

When everyone is telling you how good someone, or something, is, it’s a natural tendency for resentment to build. This is a phenomenon as old as man himself. Cain obviously had some unresolved issues with Abel, for example. Perhaps this road to distaste is the most familiar to all of us. For some it might be the sibling that you were always compared to, or the too good to be true kid that everybody idolized in high school to the point that you secretly hoped he’d grow up to be an axe murderer; but I think we all have someone like this in our lives. The key here is how we deal with these internal feelings of inferiority, and this runs the continuum from hidden resentment to “needs deep therapy”. I’ll let you judge where you reside on the scale.

Perhaps the most common accelerant that drives something good to the object of our derision is overexposure. In other words, we just can’t get away from it. No matter where we seem to be, or go, it’s right in our face, and I think this one has the Cloud written all over. It was definitely bad enough when the Cloud was just a single entity, but now it has proliferated. There is the public cloud, the private cloud and the hybrid cloud and just about any other cloud you can think of outside of Cumulus and Nimbus. In a sense the Cloud is like Miley Cyrus. No matter where you look—she’s there. Maybe Miley isn’t the best illustration of my point since, unless you were a big fan of Hannah Montana, I think she skipped the whole good thing and went right to irritating and loathsome, but you get what I mean.

I’m not sure that we can ever distinguish the point when good crosses over to bad since the margin is so narrow. The line between popular and over exposed is a thin one. Fortunately for us, in most instances, the object that we’ve grown to hate typically has a short life span. Notre Dame football hasn’t been very good for a while now, that kid from high school is now fat, bald and just finished his third stint in rehab and even Miley will be the subject of one of those “whatever happened to?” articles in due time. The Cloud, however, has the half-life of plutonium 90 and is going to be with us for awhile. Just like Kleenex, it will become a part of everyone’s lexicon. Unlike the suitors of Jennifer Aniston we can’t run away, so we’ll just have to coexist with it—just don’t expect us to like it.