Sunday, April 17, 2016

April 17: Daughter's Dance Competition, Emmett Kelly, Classic Saint Marty

My daughter making up with her boyfriend
The second day of my daughter's dance competition.  This morning, she did her make-up and then decided to do her boyfriend's make-up.  And he sat there and let her do it.  Of course, he ended up looking like an Emmett Kelly reject.  Yet, he was still smiling.

My daughter's two dances went really well today.  She received Outstanding and Superior Awards.  Plus, one of the dances received the judges' White Diamond Award and the other was part of the Entertainment Showdown.  You may not understand what I just wrote, but, take it from me, it was a big deal for a tiny dance studio from the Upper Peninsula.  I couldn't have been prouder.

After the competition was done, we did what all teenage girls do to celebrate:  we went shopping.  Old Navy this time.  She got a whole lot of clothes.  I myself picked up a few pairs of pants and a couple of shirts for myself.  And then it was Chuck E. Cheese for dinner.  My son was so excited that he didn't even wait for the car to stop to open his door.  Before I had turned off the car, he was across the parking lot and through the door of the restaurant. 

We spent almost two hours there.  The pizza was surprisingly good, and my son, daughter, and daughter's boyfriend had a really good time. 

It has been a really good weekend, full of love and happiness.

Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired three years ago, when I was once again writing about love and happiness.

April 17, 2013:  Athletic Bastards, Hate in General, Love in General

Ed Banky was the basketball coach at Pencey.  Old Stradlater was one of his pets, because he was the center on the team, and Ed Banky always let him borrow his car when he wanted it.  It wasn't allowed for students to borrow faculty guys' cars, but all the athletic bastards stuck together.  In every school I've gone to, all the athletic bastards stuck together.

Holden is an alienated young man.  He has a problem with "athletic bastards" like his roommate Stradlater.  He has a problem with phonies like his father, who's a corporate lawyer.  He has a problem with Ackley, his suitemate at Pencey Prep, because of his bad hygiene.  Pretty much Holden has a problem with practically the whole world.

Perhaps that's why so many troubled teens identify with Holden.  Holden speaks for a group of people who usually have no voice.  I think that's why The Catcher in the Rye is considered to be such a subversive book, because its main character is on the fringe, not fitting in with any of his peers.  It's no wonder that Holden's story has been linked to so many messed-up kids involved in violent acts in schools and on the streets.  Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon, had a copy of the novel with him when he was arrested.  He inscribed the book, "This is my statement" and signed it as "Holden Caulfield."

Yesterday afternoon, a colleague saw my copy of The Catcher in the Rye sitting on my desk.  He looked at it and half-jokingly said, "Are you allowed to keep that here?  Has the FBI talked to you about Boston yet?"

At first, I was a little taken aback.  I quickly regained myself and said, "Yeah, I told them the book belonged to you."

My colleague laughed and then went on a diatribe about terrorists and Islamic extremists and the suspension of the Geneva Conventions and torture.  I listened politely.  I understood his anger.  I was angry Monday night as I watched the news reports about the Boston Marathon bombing.  It wasn't unfocused, general anger.  It was anger that wanted justice and retribution and revenge for all the lives that were injured and lost.

We still don't know who's responsible for what happened in Boston.  Domestic or foreign, it was an act of terror.  Certainly, the person or people who did it felt justified (maybe even righteously inspired) to plant those explosive devices.  For me, it's a Mark David Chapman moment, the guilty party using the Bible or Koran or Declaration of Independence or Second Amendment or The Catcher in the Rye or whatever to perpetrate an act of senseless hatred and violence.

People just don't get it.  Mark David Chapman didn't get it.  Osama bin Laden didn't get it.  Skinheads don't get it.  J. D. Salinger wasn't promoting hatred.  In fact, at the end of the novel, Holden says he misses Stradlater and Ackley.  Mohammed and Jesus Christ didn't promote hatred.  They were all about love and peace.  Anybody who thinks otherwise has got it wrong.  Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes and thieves.  He loved these people, even if He disagreed with their life choices.

I call myself a follower of Christ.  That means I'm supposed to love people.  Forgive people who do me harm.  Anyone.  Black, white, straight, gay, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindi, short, tall, fat, skinny.  I have to forgive the party responsible for the Boston bombing, show love and compassion.  That's a tall order.  But being a Christian is not easy.  Just ask Jesus.  He has the scars to prove it.

Hate in general is bad.  Hatred of anyone (gay or African American or Muslim or Christian) or anything (unless it's bad poetry).  Love in general is good.  It's what we should all aspire to.  Jesus said, "As I have loved you, so you must love one another."  Mohammed said, "Do you love your creator?  Love your fellow-beings first."  John Lennon sang, "All you need is love."

Saint Marty thinks those are words to live by.

Sing it with me...


  1. Congrats on the amazing weekend - what outstanding results from the dance competition.

    And agreed, hatred isn't where it's at. Love is harder which is why, I think, so many people are afraid of it.