'They look too exciting for so early in the evening'.
There is little in life which can’t be addressed with a Dr. Seuss book. Whether it’s Horton standing up for his Who-friends, the Grinch’s small heart growing three sizes, or David Donald Doo dreaming of donuts and duck-dogs, Dr Seuss had a prescription for every situation. My own particular favorite is the story of the Zax.*
A North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax meet, one day, in the Prairie of Prax. ‘And it happened that both of them came to a place. Where they bumped. There they stood. Foot to foot. Face to face’. Because each of them refuse to budge even an inch to the left or the right, they just stand there, arguing. At the end, they’re still standing, foot to foot, face to face, as a highway is built over and around them.
I was reminded of this story last week, amidst the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, because I heard all about it-from both sides, and passionately-from our customers. A wine shop is a little like a bar or a hair salon, in that people feel comfortable enough with us to share what matters to them. And we love that. But the feedback on these hearings was heartbreaking. People were polarized into opposing tribes. They were angry and sad. They felt betrayed. Or bullied. And all of them felt like nobody from the other ‘tribe’ was listening to them or understood them-at all. Most of all, they were completely right and the other tribe was completely wrong. It was an exhausting and upsetting week.
I try to keep my personal politics aggressively separated from my business’s social media presence, so I won’t address my own opinion of Kavanaugh’s fitness to serve on our nation’s highest court. I will say that I find the allegations of misconduct lodged against him to be unsettling. So when I chose to post a photo of Kavanaugh on social media, it was not because I’m a fan.
The photo had a quote, ‘I liked beer. I still like beer’. The caption was, ‘It’s been quite a week. I think one thing most of us can agree on is that we still like beer. We may actually NEED a beer. Agree? Then join us at Beer Extravaganza.’ All of which I meant, verbatim. It’s been a rough week. Maybe everyone can get together, try some new beers, and behave like neighbors and friends. Historically, beverage alcohol has been a favored social lubricant for those who choose to drink it. Our current society seems like it could use some lubricant. Maybe a little humor, too.
Wow, did people dislike-and completely misinterpret-that post! Part of it was just classic Instagram culture-people who saw the picture and immediately commented…without ever reading the accompanying caption. But the comments were also deeply divided, absolute…and mean. Ok, point taken. Luckily, all those years in sales gave me a thick skin.
But I’m still holding out hope for some civil conversation, maybe with a little wine or beer to help it along. Again, it has been a rough week for our country. Both tribes feel wronged. But we don’t want to end up like the Zax.
* from Dr Seuss, The Sneetches and Other Stories