Hate Man and the concept of “pushing shoulders”

One of my Facebook friends asked me to explain Hate Man’s concept of “pushing shoulders.” No simple task.

Hate Man fancied himself as a philosopher and a therapist who specialized in different forms of “conflict resolution.” He developed the “shoulder pushing” thing along those lines: One person wants one thing, and the other person wants another thing. So they push shoulders to resolve the conflict. Whoever wants it the most, and is willing to “push shoulders” the longest, got there way.

Hate Man was willing to “push” about virtually everything he owned. For example, if you didn’t have any money but wanted to bum a cigarette, you could “push shoulders ” with Hate Man for it. Hate Man would stand side-by-side with the other person, and they would push against each other’s shoulders. It wasn’t a matter of who could push the hardest — you couldn’t just bowl Hate Man over. It was a matter of who would push the longest. You applied a steady, constant pressure. And whoever wanted it the most, and was willing to push the longest, got their way. If it was something fairly trivial — like a rollie cigarette — Hate Man would usually only push for a minute or two before he gave up and gave the person a smoke. But if it was one of his beloved Virginia Slims cigarettes, it might be a longer push. Or if the person was starting to hit Hate Man up too frequently, Hate might dig in and make it a longer push to discourage the person from becoming too much of a pest.

Hate Man pushed shoulders with people constantly, all day long. For example if Hate Man had 5 bucks, one of the street people would invariably say “Push for the 5 bucks, Hate Man.”

Hate Man would usually say to something like that: “It’s going to be a hard push.” And they’d commence to push shoulders. It could last minutes. Or it could last hours. Depending on how much the two people wanted their way. Eventually one of them would get tired of pushing and give up. Or often they might compromise: “Hate Man, I changed my mind. I only want 2 of the 5 bucks.” And Hate would say “OK that’s an easier push.” And he might give in after a couple more minutes of pushing and give him the two bucks.

Hate Man to his dying day believed that “pushing shoulders” would revolutionize the world and become a common practice.

He was a bit nutty.

At his peak he had about 10 dedicated followers — disciples, really — who adopted shoulder-pushing as a daily practice. As well as thousands of bums who did it when they wanted to hit up Hate Man for some of his stuff.

Hate Man used pushing for virtually everything. Like if you were boring him he’d say “Push shoulders if you want me to listen to you.” And you’d have to push with him if you wanted to get in your two-cents. Ha ha.




Hate Man: street philosopher



One thing I always lauded Hate Man for. You certainly couldn’t call him an “ivory tower philosopher.” Like so many of the other people in his field. Hate always tested out all of his theories in the real world. And on the very harsh and volatile world of the streets, at that.

In the last months of Hate’s life, he got punched on the head and knocked to the ground multiple times by this crazy, violent street lunatic (the lunatic, in the midst of his meth psychosis, was convinced that Hate was “messing with his mind” on the psychic level). But Hate never backed down. He still continued to relate to, and “work with,” the person, so long as the person was willing to push shoulders and make demands. He would even do favors for the guy. Hate epitomized “talking-the-talk-and-walking-the-walk.”

Hate’s system wasn’t just an intellectual exercise. He felt it had to work on the practical level if it was going to be useful for other people and for society in general.

And I always felt some (though certainly not all) of Hate Man’s practices had real benefit. And I would see, over the years, many real people benefiting FROM it.

One of Hate’s cherished hopes was that his work would live on, and become accepted by society in general in different ways. And, on some levels, it probably will. What with all the conflicts in this world, we can always use a new spin on “conflict resolutions.”