My kids love to establish a person’s favorite things. Favorite food, favorite movie, favorite season, favorite pair of socks, favorite window in the house, favorite character in Frozen, etc, ad naseum, ad infinitum. And they’re not alone. Social media is peppered with favorites lists, where you identify your own and then tag other people to have a Favorites Festival.
I confess to having a hard time with determining my favorites. Ask me about books, movies, or TV shows, and I’ll start massaging the question. “Do you mean movies before 1950s? How about favorite classic book? Do you mean animated TV shows?”
And of course, there’s the pressure to choose a movie/book/TV show you’re supposed to like versus one you’d actually pick up and read again. You might have a hard time admitting to the one you’d pick up again, because people might judge your tastes as being “problematic.”
For example: are you allowed to identify “The Honeymooners” as your favorite TV show anymore, if the main character is always threatening domestic violence? “One of these days…” Maybe that show will one day be sent down the memory hole into nonexistence. “There were never Honeymooners. In fact, there are no honeymoons. And if you had to define honeymoons, they would be considered a remnant of a past patriarchal society where there was this thing called marriage, and a honeymoon followed that archaic ceremony. Thankfully, we’re past all that.”
Look at me, going all 1984. But back to the main point, I deal with Favorite Anxiety. I get asked the question (even by my kids) and my mind begins to race. “I could say X, but I’m probably forgetting the Y that I can’t think of at the moment. Argh! Ten minutes from now I’ll remember Y and I’ll want to amend my statement.” No one wants to hear a revision to your identified favorite later in the conversation. Learn to commit, man!
Let’s take a for instance. I have said in the past (but not always because I probably forgot it!) that my favorite movie is The 400 Blows. What? A French black and white film about a boy on the lam from school? So pretentious, Chad. Did you take a film class in college and you gotta throw that movie out there to show your cred? Full disclosure: I did watch this for a film class in college.
Ok, deep breath. I just have to own my favorites, and let them stand up on their own terms. Yes, I like, nay love, that French flick, but I have watched an American Werewolf in London more times than any other movie. I watch it every Halloween. Perhaps I’ll peg that as a strong second.
What I need to do is get a list going on my mobile phone. That’ll relieve my anxiety. I’ll just reference the list whenever I face a question. Next time my eldest asks me what my favorite vegetable is, I’ll go right to the list. “Oh, right, it’s avocado.”
“That’s not technically a vegetable, Dad.” Favorite Anxiety strikes again!