Sunday, February 27, 2011

February 27: Saint Anne Line and the Oscars

Tonight, I'm going to watch the Oscars with my family.  That might sound like an incredibly tedious evening for most people.  It's a big deal for me.  You see, since I was a teenager, I've had a competition with my family over who can guess the most Oscar winners.  It started out as just acquiring bragging rights, as in, "Hey, all you losers, you eat shit, and I'm awesome!"  Then, about ten or eleven years ago, we bought an actual statuette that has the size, shape, look, and heft of an actual Oscar.  It goes home with the winner for the year.  This innovation has turned an evening of good-natured sportsmanship into a blood sport.

My sisters spend hours on Google, doing "research."  This afternoon, they were huddled in a corner, whispering to each other.  The Oscars have caused tears and arguments.  The winner, now, can't even savor the moment of triumph.  I won two years ago, and I had to wait to do my in-your-face-sucka dance until I was at home, alone.

I realize this may sound over-the-top, maybe even a little ludicrous.  But there's nothing worse than watching the Oscar ceremony for three or four hours and walking away empty-handed.  No wonder Woody Allen never shows up.  It's even worse when you realize you don't even stand a chance half-way through the night.  At that point, I usually start hitting the Cheetos hard.

There will be nothing even remotely saintly about my behavior or feelings tonight.  I want to crush my competition.  Every year, I vow to not get caught up in the fever.  Every year, I fail.  Right now, I'm sitting here, trying to calculate my odds of bringing home that gold trophy for a year.  It ain't looking good.

Saint Anne Line's life sort of puts this whole night into perspective.  She was disowned by her parents for converting to Catholicism.  In 1585, she married a fellow convert.  Her husband, however, was sent into exile for participating in a Mass.  He died in exile in 1594.  Anne, herself, was arrested on February 2, 1601, for hosting a Mass in her home.  On February 27, she was hanged for "harboring priests."

So, compared to Anne Line's life, my little competition for a faux Oscar seems, at best, silly.  I readily admit this fact.  Anne put her life on the line for her country and her faith.  I'm watching vapid celebrities stroll down a red carpet to attend a gala event that, in the grand scheme of the universe, really means absolutely nothing.  It won't bring about world peace.  It won't topple a bloodthirsty dictator.  It won't make Sarah Palin a Rhodes Scholar.

Saint Marty is trying to keep everything in perspective.  But Saint Marty would give his left testicle to take that statue home tonight.

Wish me luck!

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