Roy Exum: A Friend Means More

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I have never asked anybody to read a story I have written. I might refer a person towards one, if I thought it might be to their benefit, but I have no idea who will read my words anytime I hit the “send” button. Some people are fond of my stories, others not so much, and that’s okay because I’m the one who gets the most pleasure out of what I do.

I’ll admit I’m quite opinionated – a requirement when you write an opinion every day. I’ve found that opinions are like belly-buttons; everybody has one and often one’s beliefs shape a person into who they are. I get loads of comments every day, so many I could never begin to reply to each one, and the fact I have far more that agree with me is flattering, but I love the ones that disagree because -- if they are civil -- I have found they make me think the most.

Over the weekend I got one from a close friend: “I am slowly moving into no longer reading your column. Instead of thoughtful reflections on various topics, you just seem to be spreading the same message as every other political right-winger. At one time, your writings were unique. What happened?” the note began.

“I now realize you have moved so far to the right by being sucked into the vacuous pit of political talking points. It is as if you no longer have your own thoughts. It feels like I am reading what Rush Limbaugh would write, not Roy Exum, who long ago never even let his political leanings be known,” another part read.

“You seem to have lost the ability to reasonable debate on various topics, and like our insecure commander with the fragile ego, you just spend time belittling those you disagree with and somehow claiming that you own the right to being the better American. You love your GOD, GUNS, and GLORY. You are the real patriot...all the rest of us are just a bunch of horrible Americans.”

* * *

Wow! The person who wrote this to me is quite liberal – which is fine with me – because this person is a delightful human being who was brought up the same way I was, taught from the get-go that “if you can’t find something nice to say, say nothing.”

I can’t begin to count the times I have wished I had never said nor written hurtful things. Man, I’ve eaten so much crow and have embarrassed myself it’s unbelievable, but, the truth is, “you can’t un-ring a bell.” I am also unable to count the times the “three day” rule saved a friendship – that’s where you write the worst letter imaginable to a person you know, put it in your desk drawer, and wait three full days. When you read what you have written three days after you wrote it, 90 percent of the time you’ll not need a stamp. Keeping a friend is far too important.

With social media the three-day rule has turned obsolete. Let’s take the case of Hayley Geftman-Gold as a sterling example. Not long after the Las Vegas gunman killed 59 and wounded over 500 others Sunday night, this brilliant woman who was a vice president and senior counsel of strategic transactions at CBS, jumped on Facebook to write, “I’m actually not even sympathetic [because] country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”

Think about this! Why would somebody so bright, with such a brilliant future, also write, and “If they would not do anything when children were murdered (Sandy Hook?) I have no hope the Repugs (sic) will ever do the right thing.”

As you can easily suspect, she was fired within hours by the shocked network and her family is now in hiding because the death threats and response from across the country continues to be vicious.

My goodness, Geftman-Gold is an Ivy League graduate, got her law degree at Columbia and has three cute little boys. Her Facebook Post is every bit as big a mystery to equal the gunman’s motives but falls directly in line with the hatred we see coming out of Hollywood, the NFL, and other liberal camps on an increasing basis.

Now it happens to me! One of my dearest and most wonderful friends just let her liberal views get in the way of a friendship I adore and I’ll not stand for it. I can see one only reason she sent me that email – to hurt my feelings – why else? Guess what? It didn’t work. This person means too much to me.

If people don’t read my stories that’s perfectly okay. If people disagree that’s just fine, but only when one seizes the chance to write me with their liberal anger am I reminded anew that if you can’t say something nice, this world of ours will be much better off if nothing was said.

I’m not going to allow her to wreck our friendship or derail my great admiration and joy for the character that she most certainly is. Nope. I’m chalking this one up to political hate and I am unwilling to play. She is too great a friend.

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