By Janice Lindsay, Contributing Writer
Sometimes I feel as if I’m being bombarded with opinions. Too many opinions. Everywhere I look and listen: opinions. Talk shows. Newspapers. Magazines. Television news and late-night TV. Websites. Blogs. Opinions, all put forth by people who are paid, or hope to get paid or at least get attention, for sharing their opinions.
I suppose that technically, because I’m a columnist, that group includes me. But as I review my past columns, I see that many have been short on opinions. In fact, some are almost opinion-free. Have I been lax in fulfilling readers’ expectations? Have I been remiss in meeting my obligations in the Opinions Department?
To remedy this situation, I herewith present a backlog of opinions that have been lurking, hoping to be expressed some day. Feel free to ignore them if you are already stressed by being up to your eyeballs in unsolicited opinions.
But here goes, in case you’re still with me.
First, in my opinion, “freedom of speech” has a corollary: freedom of listen. You have the right to say whatever you think. I have the right to ignore you, politely and respectfully, of course. We can all save time and energy we now spend feeling offended and upset if we exercise our right to not pay attention. Here’s my rule: Would I directly ask this person’s opinion, if I had the chance? If not, I feel free to ignore it.
Second. In my opinion, as we enjoy freedom of information, we also have a right to enjoy freedom from information. If Glamorous MegaSuperStar Performer spends the summer on her boyfriend’s yacht, leaving her husband behind, is that my business? Do I care? As Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote, “People also have the right not to know… The right not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense, and vain talk.”
Third. In my opinion, we shouldn’t allow the technology tail to wag the common-sense dog. My groceries and I once languished in a supermarket checkout line because The Computer wouldn’t accept the previous shopper’s check. Numerous human staff members agreed it was an okay check, signed properly, written on a local bank, for the correct amount. But nobody knew how to relay this information to the Computer. So the rest of us waited while our ice cream melted.
Fourth, speaking of groceries. Food companies should be honest and raise their prices, instead of giving us shrinking packages for the same price and hope we won’t notice. What was once a half-gallon container of ice cream looks the same, but is now a pint short. Am I a pint less hungry?
Finally, in my opinion, while food companies are being honest about groceries, they should tell the truth about those thumb-size perforations on the sides of cardboard packages that contain, for example, pasta. Instructions say, “Press to open.” Did you ever actually open one by pressing? Me neither. If they were honest, they would direct you to “Stab these little dots with the point of a sharp knife until they give up, and try not to hurt yourself.”
There you are. Random opinions to make up for past columns in which I have not shared enough opinions, and maybe even to make up for future columns where no opinions occur.
I’m aware that you might not have asked my opinions on these subjects if you had a chance. So I will not be offended if you exercise your right to ignore me.