In 2018, a coworker told me his only new year’s resolution was to unsubscribe from emails. “I spend half my day deleting junk,” he said. “Not anymore! I’m going to take control of my inbox and LIFE.”
He sounded so confident. So sure of his abilities. So satisfied with the simplicity of his goals.
I decided to follow in his footsteps, and for the next month every time I received a generic email I didn’t want, I forced myself to take a few extra seconds to end the relationship. Every “unsubscribe” I punched felt like I was helping America take one more step toward defeating the Nazis. It was liberating. And before long, my inbox turned from a virtual zoo to a sanctuary.
You may be receiving this newsletter with the same attitude that I, of yesteryear, approached my bombardment of emailed J.Crew bargains. You may be tempted to unsubscribe and go about your life, not knowing which sarcastic Utah idiot is going to attack you with their unsolicited thoughts next week.
But let me encourage you to reconsider.
My name is Eli McCann, and I’m probably your best friend and you just don’t know it yet. And without this newsletter, you may have never found out.
Why do I think I’m your best friend? Well, for one, you could 100% list me as a reference for a potential employer and I will fake the hell out of a positive endorsement for you, on the spot, like this man did on live radio a few years back.
I’m also a good time at a party, like one woman who recently made a parody video mocking the trend of gen-x white people sharing their abhorrent recipes while a dude films and asks obvious and clearly pre-planned questions. In this video, someone proposes and demonstrates how to make a party drink in a toilet. And articles across the internet do not seem to understand that this is obviously satire.
Truth be told, most of the parties I attend anymore are for dog birthdays. My baby boy Mr. Duncan Doodle has a very large social circle and the constant onslaught of festivities he’s invited to attend are frankly draining my bank account.
When I’m not partying, I’m working. The Pandemic has given me a lot of opportunities to learn things about myself I never knew before. For example, I’m apparently a very angry person who is incapable of appearing pleasant during zoom meetings, or so I discovered a few weeks ago when a coworker sent me a screenshot from a meeting we had just concluded and said, “Just wanted you to know what your face looks like when we’re working.”
I like to believe I wasn’t always this way. That the Pandemic has just broken my face. That I used to be pleasant and motivated. I think the Pandemic has broken a lot of us in our own special ways. I discovered some evidence of this recently in a brief text exchange with my husband:
Anyway, beyond the incredibly important traits listed above, I’m also severely uncoordinated in front of the youths. Not long ago I lived the most embarrassing thing I have ever experienced on a college campus. And this is coming from a guy who was a closeted, woman-dating gay at BYU for like six years. Why is any of this relevant to my argument that I’m your best friend? It’s not. But I never pass up an opportunity for self-promotion. P.S. Here's my Twitter and website.
Truly, if you live in Utah and you love it, we already have that in common, and that’s probably enough to jump-start our relationship.
From time-to-time, friends outside of our great mountain corridor ask me how I can possibly live here. I’m a flamboyant, probably liberal dude in a pretty red state. Recently The New York Times had me type in my address so it could inform me I live in a neighborhood where 190% of all people voted for Democrats in the most recent election. “You really should get out more and meet other people,” the publication basically screamed at me. I laughed at the implication that I live in a political bubble of angry communists, and tried to respond by shouting a monologue at my computer about the makeup of Utah politicians and voters. But The New York Times did not care.
I’ve written in the past about our quirks and Pioneer Day traditions, and how the most sincere part of my sarcastic heart believes that in our state, there is room for all of us, and that we are all better off when we protect that room.
Recently my extremely conservative, Fox News watching neighbor marched over to my house and announced she was moving to Florida. “She’s leaving us,” I yelled at my husband, Skylar. “Now who are we going to call when we need to borrow a platter or a set of wine glasses that we didn’t steal from a hotel?”
That afternoon I looked out my living room window to see Skylar hugging that neighbor on the sidewalk and crying. “I’m really going to miss her,” my Portland-born, hippie-radical partner told me through tears later that evening.
I saw the neighbor yesterday. She signed the papers to close on her house. “Skylar told me he loves me and feels like I’ll be taking a piece of his heart with me when I move,” she said. And then her eyes welled with tears and her face scrunched up like a squeezed sponge. “It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. I don’t think I realized how hard this was going to be until he reminded me how much I love my neighbors.”
That’s Utah to me. We’re all assholes in our own way. We all struggle to listen a little and not villainize a lot. We can be quick to anger and judge. Some of you will probably send the poor lady who runs this newsletter irate emails over my use of the word “assholes.” And because she let a militant homo take the reins for one morning.
At the end of the day, I love this place because most of us actually do care about one another, even if we sometimes forget to realize it because our neighbors are watching Fox News or lining up to vote for Bernie.
We care about one another in our neighborhoods, even if our legislature is trying to convince us otherwise by misbehaving on Twitter and attacking their political opponents and vulnerable populations. Whatever happened to the good old days when they were more focused on outrageously good rap videos?
We care about one another.
I care about you, I think. Even when you throw destructive gender reveal parties and forget to call me on my birthday (May 18th).
I care about you, and whether you realize it or not, you care about me, too.
And that’s why I’m probably your best friend.
The Beehive Newsletter is a community-based weekly newsletter that provides a platform for Utahns to share the stories and events that are unique and important to them individually. From politicians and high school students, to farmers and health-care workers, our Guest Editors change weekly, providing diverse perspectives and overlooked stories from every corner of the state.
If you’re interested in becoming The Beehive Newsletter’s next Guest Editor, email Rachel Swan at email@example.com.