QUIET DESPERATION

Let’s not hear it for all the heartfelt opinions

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"The food was just delicious, and we loved the way 'Katy' introduced herself. She said, 'They named me after Katy, Texas, not Katy Perry.' The décor made us feel right at home. My steak was cooked to perfection. Five stars, for sure."

"One of the worst meals I've ever had. And why do they insist upon introducing themselves? It should be against the law. The décor looked like the 1970s rental furniture I had when I was in college. My steak tasted like it was made by Goodyear. One star."

Two diners on the same day ordered the same thing from the same waitress at the same restaurant.

Some of us learn about opinions at an early age.

There should be a class in art school devoted to it, so that later on you know how to take the good with the bad.

Many of us enjoyed the back and forth between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, film critics who could disagree about the same film, just like Katy's diners.

Up until blockbuster orgies of special effects and gratuitous violence became the film industry's standards (with a few exceptions), I thought I might want to be a film critic.

Not now.

I have been asked to be an art critic. No thank you.

You can't win.

Art and film and music are all vulnerable to ignorance. You've heard "I know what I like."

The truth is, for most of us, "We like what we know."

As Bob (Bill Murray) says in "What About Bob," "There are two types of people in this world. Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't."

I would rather eat my sleeves than listen to Neil Diamond.

Approval is important, whether you are an artist or an employee. Simply being acknowledged now and then is meaningful.

Many of us go unnoticed most of the time.

Garbage men.

The renters next door left in a huff because the owner decided to sell, and gave them 30 days to get out.

They chose to leave a souvenir of their displeasure. I guess they thought it was in the face of the owner, but it was in the face of the neighborhood, because we had to look at it for a week.

They left what looked like everything they owned in the driveway, and it wasn't pretty.

On the following Friday morning, the garbage truck drove up, and a thin young man got out, put his hands on his hips, and shook his head.

It didn't go unnoticed.

"Joseph" came out of his house to help.

Another neighbor brought him a tip.

If you own a restaurant or direct a film or perform in a play, you are up for grabs, and because of the internet, opinions can be tossed around anonymously.

I noted the death of Mary Tyler Moore. There was an outpouring of favorable comments about her television program, because it was "groundbreaking."

I thought it was dreadful. It was calculated humor, forced out every 10 or 15 seconds, and pumped up with a reprehensible laugh track.

In "Ordinary People" Moore was brilliant in a role of a lifetime. It might have been unacceptable to many of Mary Richards' fans. But it's how I prefer to remember her.

Five stars.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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