Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things I Love But Used To Hate

by Brendan Cavanagh

Throughout my life, I've consistently found that disliking and ultimately complaining about my distaste for a variety of things- people, places, activities, movies, food, etc.- has kept me thriving. I don't know what it is, but sometimes I simply love hating something. For example, in my junior year American Literature class there were a number of kids who had an either cynical or erroneous opinion about every novel, poem and short story we read, and it drove me mad! I would literally knock about papers and pens on my desk in exasperation, exhale rudely and loudly and give the teacher a look of utter disgust. But then I would jump into the discussion and do my best to disprove every point the previous speaker made, often to no avail, as some students were exceptionally mulish. The point is, though, complaining about anything is what drives me to maneuver past obstacles and succeed.

Occasionally, however, I will take a leap off my pedestal up in the clouds and admit that I was wrong in my opinions about any one of the aforementioned subjects. As a result, I have been able to take what used to be anathema and accept it as part of my identity at this point in time. Of course, my current tastes are apt to change in the future, but I'll worry about that fork in the road when I get there. Anyway, here's a list of things of love now, but used to hate:

One. Vegetables

I can distinctly recall several dinner scenes involving me staring in horror at the green menace that was invading my steak and potatoes: steamed green beans. Just looking at them literally caused me to recoil in terror. The hot, thick, malodorous steam wafted into my nose and triggered the gag reflexes at the back of my throat, as if I had just witnessed someone vomiting and subsequently smelled their vomit. As my parents prodded me into cleaning my plate, and in those final moments in which everything else was consumed except the green beans, I sometimes began to tear up in desperation. In order to alleviate myself of the taste, I would frantically drown the green beans in A1 steak sauce and reluctantly lift the fork to my mouth and drop. After I chewed up the disgusting mush, I was forced to do nothing else but swallow it. A couple times my throat closed itself up and I sort of pathetically choked on my green beans a bit. I still don't really care for steamed green beans, but since childhood I've developed an appreciation for many other types of vegetables. I like the way onions add so much flavor to French Onion Soup, or the way broccoli tastes when it's steamed and mixed into a cheesy sauce, and I've always been a sucker for potatoes. I don't really know why many children hate vegetables so much. Some suggest that it is the unappetizing color, but that's never what bothered me. I think my problem, at least, has been one of texture (i.e. diced celery, diced onions, mushy green beans).

Two. Milk

While I'm on the subject of embarrassing childhood dinners, why don't I go ahead and discuss my previous aversion to milk? I used to drink milk like a fiend, like any other toddler. But then once I grew up a bit and began attending grade school at St. Agnes, I was subjected to the atrocities committed daily in our cafeteria. I won't even begin to discuss the food situation, but one of my biggest qualms was the awful stuff that was cafeteria milk. You know, the kind in the paper cartons, which, when you opened the tops, got torn paper mixed up with the milk so you wound up drinking 3/4 milk and 1/4 wet paper. Made for an interesting milk mustache. I couldn't stand to drink it, or to watch one of the cleaning volunteers drink someone's half-consumed carton of milk after they disposed of their tray, and therefore went on the milk wagon for a number of years. For the entirety of the rest of my grade school years I brought a plastic bag containing a juice pack and some candy to lunch everyday to make up for my lack of calcium intake. And when I'd go home and eat dinner, I was forced to drink at least a glass of milk, which usually warmed up in the time I spent avoiding drinking it. It wasn't until about the end of junior high that I finally had myself a super cold glass of milk. And man, was it delicious. Milk is literally the most natural drink in the world (it comes from mammals!), and when it is served in a frosty glass with wisps of cold air emanating from it, I go nuts.

Three. Getting emotional During Movies

I was never a hard-ass or anything, but in my youth I rarely let a movie affect me to the point where I broke down and started crying or anything (except for the climactic bridge scene in Annie- I really didn't have any hope for her. I hid behind a chair, never looking away, but cried my eyes out the whole time). Even when I completed the tear-jerker eleven-season finale of my favorite show, M*A*S*H, I didn't allow myself to shed a tear (though I damn near when Col. Potter broke down saying goodbye to Klinger). Or even when millions of viewers lost it completely at the end of Season Three, when (SPOLIER!) Radar reports that a beloved character has been killed on his/her flight home. But as of late, something inside me has happened, and my rough exterior has been cast aside for a softer one. These days, movies kill me. Even the cheesiest ones, or those devoid of anything emotional in them. My mom says I'm a true Irishman. I think the first time I've cried during a movie in a long time was when I watched Ordinary People (particularly from 2:38 - 3:43 of this scene).

Four. Girls

This is almost a lie because I fell in love with girls in first grade. A lot of other guys ran around and hit girls or lynched their beanie babies or avoided them like the plague, but not me. Sometimes I took part in the gym-wide girl chases because for one, I wanted to fit in, and secondly because it gave me a chance to interact with them. But I thought I'd just throw this in because nobody really thinks about girls til grade school really, and so technically I didn't like girls at one point. What a turnaround, eh?

Five. Nyquil

Nyquil, like vegetables at one point made my throat close of its own volition. I detested the stench, which like the ubiquitous color of all cold and flu relief liquids, I can only describe as "red." My sister (I won't say which), unfortunately, still can't drink Nyquil. It's kind of humorous and sad to watch her prepare for an hour, ultimately holding her nose and tipping her head back in order to force the stuff down most efficiently and without much pain. But like with Number Three, something happened in my genetic code that has made me, as of late, fall in love with Nyquil. Having a cold can really take it out of me, but there's honestly nothing better than submitting yourself to sleep at the end of the night, by dabbing a little Vick's Vapo-rub on my chest, squelching a heavy amount of Bag Balm (yeah, that "Cow Stuff") out of the tin can and rubbing it under my sore nose, and topping off everything with a quenching 30 ml of Nyquil. I kind of like the taste. Then I'll lie in bed, suddenly all cozy and warm under my covers, and listen to some music as the Nyquil suddenly takes on the effect of a mild psychedelic. Music is much more palpable and heavy, and bursts of color cloud my fuzzy dreams. This has led me to determine that I have a cold when I probably don't have one.

Six. Black and White Movies/Widescreen

Nothing pissed me off more as a kid than a black and white movie. There was nothing inherently wrong with the film, except for its discoloration. I could pass up movies like Casablanca or Citizen Cane in favor of The Master of Disguise, simply because Dana Carvey had a little more tone in his complexion. Crazy, I know! And then if a movie was in widescreen, ugh! I couldn't even watch it. Eventually my tastes in cinema became a little more refined and I began to appreciate films for their intrinsic value and their quality rather than their color. And once I got used to more and more movies being released in widescreen on DVD, which I figured out shows more of the shot than fullscreen, I got over it.

Eight. Coffee/Shaving

What can I say? I'm a man now.

Nine. Cleaning My Room

Until about a year or two ago, you couldn't make me fold my laundry for all the money in the world, until I deemed it a necessary time to do so. And my desk was always cluttered with little toy figurines and magnets and papers and graphite smears, the products of my incessant experimenting and cartooning. Nowadays, however, I like everything in its place. I like to have more room in my room. I sort of feel like a cluttered room is a cluttered mind. Unfortunately, my roommates never learned that. I feel like I'm slowly dying of asphyxiation as my roommates laundry piles up, and they leave their books and papers and rock-climbing gear and yoga mats and prized collection of pizza boxes, which we discovered to harbor rancid ranch sauce and cheese that could grow its own sweaters. On the contrary, I'm in the most organized and cleanest shape in my entire life. It'll be nice to have my own place someday. I'm going to have the least amount of everything and the most space. Think of all the activities I could do!

Thus concludes another one of my myriad lists. I'm sure everyone has a number of things they like to eat, watch or do that they used to deplore. It's a natural part of growing up- we constantly adjust our personalities in the attempts of discovering our true identity. And even then, identities can always use some readjustment.


  1. My favorite thing about milk-drinking a cold sip before you eat food, and feeling the milk pour down through your body and the feeling of refreshment that comes over you as if you had dumped the milk on yourself to cool off rather than drank it.


  2. Seven: Writing something in the rough draft and then deleting it before publishing the post.

  3. I think I know the feeling with respect to emotion. Somewhere along the line I realized it was actually pretty cool when a movie/music/thing actually caused some emotion in me, so I started embracing that.

  4. so the picture of bella from twilight means you like twilight. please tell me that's not true

  5. I would like to argue that water is more natural than milk.

  6. Whoa whoa Brian, let's not jump to conclusions. I've never seen Twilight. But I have seen Adventureland, which gives me reason to respect Kristin Stewart, and also I think she's cute.

    I don't know Robert. That'd be the one contender for most natural drink, but I feel like maybe since mammals make milk themselves...I don't know, 'cause water's just there, that's pretty natural. Maybe I should devote my next blog to Water Vs. Milk. That should get some heated discussion going.