Yucking My Yum


So, I guess I’m becoming a YouTube reviewer.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a comic book artist. My mom, being an artist herself with a camera, completely rallied behind me in this and supported me as I devoured the medium. I took drawing classes. I studied comics religiously. I would painstakingly look at panel design and composition, and try and recreate it, to gain an understanding of perspective, physics, and anatomy. I drew, constantly, for hours upon hours, and I loved it. I was going to be the next great artist, god dammit, and nothing could stop me.

Except for these words from a relative: “That’s not very good. Why are you wasting your time with that?”

I was crushed – here was this dream I had, this thing I love to do, and I was told by someone I loved and admired that I wasn’t good enough, so why was I bothering? The rug was completely taken out from under me, and for a long time, I didn’t pick up another comic. Why should I, when the only thing I remembered about them was that I was never good enough to take part in creating them?

In short, I was yucked. This thing that I found so delicious – my yum – was spit on and I was told in no uncertain terms that I was completely wrong. That it wasn’t delicious, that it was, instead, disgusting and foolhardy – why would I want to persist with something like that? Something I clearly wasn’t skilled at? So I didn’t continue…I didn’t dare dream an impossible dream about being an artist. I. Wasn’t. Good. Enough.

I wish I knew then what I know now, what with hindsight always being 20/20. I’d have realized that disdain in my relatives eyes were simply due to a previous dream-crush they’d experienced as child or adolescent that sat with them – still sits with them. I don’t know what that dream was, but they’re still overtly negative towards anyone daring to step outside of the normal line and chase a dream, so I know something there hurts them.

Through my life, I’ve been yucked on quite a few things that I loved – Piers Anthony, Star Wars, comics, Disney, to name a few – and I certainly do it as well. I’m flabbergasted at my wife’s enjoyment of country music, of friends enjoyment of puerile comedy, and of the worlds apparent adoration of Lady Gaga. I’m not afraid to tell people how terrible I think something is, and I know that it’s stupid, because what I’m doing is just spitting on something that someone takes great joy in and telling them how wrong they are to enjoy it.

I’m being, for lack of a better term, that guy.

You’d think, as someone who grew up on the periphery of social acceptance, that I’d be more conscious of people’s interests. I remember vividly in high school talking to a friend of mine and vehemently denying an interest in Star Wars, despite having watched the original trilogy the weekend prior, because I found him to be cool, and I didn’t want him to think I wasn’t. There was a girl – the same girl, actually, whom I remembered from my previous article about ‘The Twist’ – who I would never admit to preferring to go out on a Friday night to a friends house to play Dungeons and Dragons or the Star Wars CCG over going to our high schools football, basketball, or soccer games. Because she’d like me less than she already did…which was microscopic, at best.

So let’s stop it. Let’s make this our call to arms, and in some small, yet completely significant way, decrease world suck. The next time someone tells you they like something that you don’t dig or don’t understand, rather than telling someone how terrible it is, tell them how cool it is that they like something. Don’t get down on someone for liking Twilight, tell them it’s awesome that they’re reading, and bring up your favorite author. Rather than pointing out your disdain for the Black Eyed Peas music, instead use that as an opportunity to introduce someone to the amazing music of Eric B. and Rakim, or the Foo Fighters, or Keb’Mo. Don’t tell someone Halo is terrible; offer to hop in 2 player with them, if they’ll play a game of FIFA with you later on. Let’s increase our Yum, and get rid of our Yuck.

Jay Malone


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