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Since my first days chewing food, I learned one specific thing about myself: I fucking hate raw tomatoes.

The acrid, slimy, seedy, gloppy innards of that vibrant staple of almost every cuisine in the world; that lycopene-infused monster that lowers blood pressure, that horrendous slimy infidel taking up space on my sandwich or burger, get it off of there. If there was any hope for me to learn to enjoy raw tomatoes, my childhood hero, George Carlin locked in the hate in his famous routine, “Fussy Eater.”

The real trouble with sliced tomatoes is they don’t look like they’re finished developing yet. Looks like they’re still in the larva stage. There’s thousands of seeds in there and a whole bunch of jelly-looking stuff in there.”

Done. George don’t like ‘em, so neither do I.

Digesting the hate of something so universally beloved down to the core of my soul became so amusing, I loved it. Best part of it was that it was a seething revulsion that did NOT cause harm to anyone, not even tomato farmers. (They’ve got 8 billion raw tomato eaters around the globe to feed. Since I wasn’t trying to convince society to stop eating raw tomatoes, they didn’t give two shits about me.) My hate was my own and life on Planet Earth continued.

My hatred of them became a superpower. I knew what I didn’t like and I wore it like a badge of honor. And when I disclose that fact to friends and family, the looks of shock and revulsion like I just admitted to kicking puppies was amusing. Damn straight. You’re all messed up for eating that globulous shit. Not me.

It formed an identity in my young impressionable mind. Look at all the reactions I got from declaring my hatred!

What if your hatred is so palpable, you desire recruiting an ally?

The empowerment of meeting someone else who shares their hate must fuel their very being, and convinces them they’re right. Let’s craft a hypothetical situation, shall we? Screw you, I’m doing it anyway.

“You hate Mickey Mouse too? Fuck yeah! That rat bastard can bite me. Glad I met you, man.”

Your hate is multiplied. Way to go. Now you’ve got a buddy. How awesome is that?

Your new moody friend knows a guy in the next town who has a similar hate, so he’s in on the action, sending you offensive Donald Duck memes that would make Sleeping Beauty wake from a nightmare. Holy crap, you’re building a community based on hate. What could be better?

Now you’ve shared your message through Xweets and TikToks, and more and more people pile on. Comments, and likes, and other dopamine fountains froth and stir, till your iPhone burns a hole in your pocket from all the negative rage you’ve fomented. Probably get a CNN interview lined up soon. Sweet! You’re on TV. Hate is so great.

Someone in your cabal made up hats, while another dude designed a car wrap, and someone from Florida silk screened flags of a giant middle finger in a familiar white glove. Wait, is Mickey giving us the finger, or are we giving Disney the finger wearing a Mickey Mouse glove? Doesn’t matter, bro. Look at the size of that middle finger. Fuck yeah! Down with the mouse.

So, how does society react to your expression of hate? Viciously.

You’ve got screaming parents and crying kids in minivans from coast to coast. Armchair lawyers are telling you how you’ve violated trademarks and Disney lawyers will come after you and sue you back to the Stone Age. Bring it on! Disney CEO, Bob Iger now knows your name and where you live, and is secretly planning on hiring a Gaston cast member to egg your house. A K-pop band you’ve never heard of just went viral with a protest song against your efforts, and Bill Maher is opening his TV show with a woke discussion on the Anti-Mickey fracas. Dude, Time Magazine is on the phone.

You’ve done it. It’s not just an opinion anymore. It’s a movement!

Before you start drafting your speech for your inaugural Nobel Hate Prize ceremony, take a moment to appreciate the garden you’ve grown from the seeds of hate you’ve sewn. Would this have happened if you told a friend, “I love Mickey Mouse?” Nope. Would you have helped the American economy if you didn’t benefit from the sales of your “Fuck Mickey” hats or flags or bumper stickers? Not a bit. Would you have divided society and caused 16 people to get arrested outside Disney World after they vandalized public property, and traumatized children, and inspired the breakup of 34 families due to fomenting a divided house where one parent actually agreed with you, and they’re sleeping in their truck or on someone’s couch? Ha. Really?

Hate is so awesome because of all the primary, secondary, and tertiary benefits: division, isolation, persecution, ostracism, humiliation.

Anyone who takes the “love” route is a lightweight. Who wants to sit around talking about things they enjoy? What a waste of time. Those hate-people are really doing a service by destroying things that other people peacefully enjoy. Frankly, my life was dull and predictable until Angry Hate Man showed up in my life and harassed me about things I enjoy, or even better, didn’t think about at all. My life was fine with the existence of Mickey Mouse. I didn’t think about him more than once every six months, or less. Thanks to Angry Hate Guy, I can’t get Mickey out of my life.

Certainly a lot more fun than being nice or keeping your horrible opinions to yourself. That takes a lot more work.

Maybe if Angry Hate Guy comes by my house, he can bring a jar of salsa to go with my chips. I started eating salsa recently and that shit is tasty.

Jay Heltzer

Jay Heltzer writes attention-challenged fiction, plays bass trombone, digs sloppy fountain pen sketches, and is in pursuit of the perfect cheeseburger.

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