Are you a Dread, a Yes or a Whatever

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T. Michael Stone


The first time ever I saw your face

I thought the sun rose in your eyes

And the moon and stars were

The gifts you gave to the dark and the endless skies

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, written by Ewan McColl and performed by Roberta Flack among others


Yes, I wish that for just one time

You could stand inside my shoes

You’d know what a drag it is

To see you

Bob Dylan, “Positively 4th Street”


Sometimes it seems to me that there are basically three kinds of people in this world: Dreads, Whatevers and Yeses.

Let me explain what I mean.

If you see a Dread walking toward you in town – sometimes referred to as Walking Dread when encountered in this fashion – you dart across the street to the post office and hope they didn’t see you.

Dreads make you feel uncomfortable, uneasy and pessimistic about most everything.

Whatevers occupy a middle ground of sorts. You wouldn’t run across the street to the post office to avoid them, but you wouldn’t get upset if they did. A Whatever can be engaging and fun on occasion, but the primary emotion they inspire is apathy.

And finally, we have the Yeses.

Yeses are those people who just make you feel better whenever they are around.

If a Yes walks in the room, you smile and say, “Yes,” which is why I call them Yeses.

If you see a Yes run across the street to the post office, you might dart across the street after them.

I have my Yeses, Dreads and Whatevers, but I realize that I fall into one of those three categories for all of the people I interact with every day.

I’d like to think I’m a Yes to most of them, but I’m probably more of a whatever. And if you consider me a dread, I apologize for whatever I did to make you feel so uneasy, uncomfortable and pessimistic about most everything.

This may seem silly, but it has practical applications.

One interesting exercise is to tally the Yeses, Whatevers and Dreads as you go about your day.

If the Dreads outnumber the Yeses by a 2-1 ratio at the end of the day, you might want to consider the possibility that you are a bit of a dread yourself.

If the Dreads outnumber the Yeses by a 3-1 margin, then you are suffering from Dread Lots syndrome, in which you dread nearly everyone.

If everyone seems to be a whatever, that probably means you’re a millennial.

If the Yeses outnumber the Dreads 10-1, you are Yes man.

I think you see from these examples that your point of view has a lot to do with it.

But nobody has a permanent station along this continuum. If you are a dread and you give me $10 dollars every time I see you, you will probably leap right from Dread status to Yes status.

If you one of my dearest friends and you reveal to me that you are New England Patriots fan, you drop from Yes to Whatever status. And if you remind me of the score at the end of the third quarter in Super Bowl 51 (Falcons 28, Patriots 3), you drop all the way to Dread status.

Of course, gender and appearance play a role in this equation as well.

An attractive woman with the personality of a rabid wolverine might qualify as a Yes on her looks alone. A man might ignore every verbal attack and every humiliation just to regard her exquisite face anew with each sunrise.

That’s how some of us wind up married to women we can’t stand.

“Beauty itself doth persuade the eyes of men without an orator,” as old Will Shakespeare once said.

 I don’t think as many women make that mistake, but I’m sure there are women out there married to men they would push in front of a train given the opportunity.

All you can hope for is that one day your Yeses might vastly outnumber the Dreads.

Or at the very least you can hope you see the Dreads in time to duck into the post office.



And here's the musical portion of our weekly variety show which includes about 100 images of Bob Dylan smoking a cigarette


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