Peace Lessons From Bob Dylan & Sushi

Sitting in Starbucks with my road manager Ben waiting to board a plane, Bob Dylan came through the speakers. I love his songs…when someone else is singing them. But, oh, his voice! Tin can in a blender to my ears. But I have lots of cool musician friends who swear they actually like Mr. Dylan’s slurred nasal out-of-tune and out-of-time performances.

I’m not buying it, I told Ben.

After he gave me a hard time about my disdain for the skills of such a legendary artist – as if I’m some expert on singing, you know? – I took my case to the people of Twitter. I made my confession…

My name is Shaun and I don’t get Bob Dylan.

Dozens of people sided with me and I felt a rush of stranger affirmation…and made sure to read each reply to Ben, of course, because I’m humble like that. Some of the responses were hilarious. Even the ones from big Dylan fans. Good times. Highly entertaining…at least for me.

And then…

@shaungroves which is probably why you don’t get me, either.

The message came from someone with a very quick wit. She’s hilarious actually and so one of about 200 followers I really follow. Certain she was joking, I replied…

My theory is that Bob Dylan is like Sushi – the cool kids pretend to like both more than they really do. #hater

…and waited for her witty reply. And it came…

Um. Ok. I actually *love* sushi and Bob Dylan’s music. But thanks for being dismissive of me. Again.

Ha! Nicely played! She stumped me so I replied…

You’re welcome.

OK, not all that clever, sure. Not all that funny either. But, points for brevity?

I’m sorta reeling, here. I’m not “pretending” to like anyone or anything. I am just…me. Your replies have hurt me.

I boarded the plane with a smile on my face. Not the most productive use of fifteen minutes but a little levity hit the spot after a long weekend on the road.

Five days later I get a series of direct messages on Twitter from this witty follower of mine. Turns out, she wasn’t being witty at all. She was serious. Our little exchange over Bob Dylan and sushi brought her to tears and lodged in her heart festering for five whole days, finally moving her to express her deep disappointment with me privately (which is so much better than launching a hate blog don’t you think?).

And this made me think of a Spanish monk of course. His name was de Vitoria. He had an epiphany about war long ago. Both sides in a war, he decided, can perceive themselves to be just. The Spanish conquistadors, for example, thought they were being attacked by the inhabitants of the new world and were justified in fighting back. Those inhabitants thought they were being invaded by the Spaniards and so they believed they were justified in fighting back. Both sides, from their limited points of view, felt violated and justified in making war.

In every conflict there are at least two perspectives – not just mine. Seeing the other person’s – empathy – is the first step toward peace.

So we got on the phone together and traded perspectives and peace broke out.

Who do you need to call?