Friday, March 7, 2008

Sucking for a Bruise

My Mom used to say that to us when we were being 'too proud'. As a matter of fact, all the neighborhood moms said that and not just to their own kids, but to each other's as well.

Being an early Baby Boomer, I had the benefit of parents who'd grown up in the aftermath of The Great Depression (Grampy, who was a licensed electrician and wound up being one of the founding members of the IBEW, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, would tell of selling apples on a street corner) as well as the post-World War II Beginnings of The American Century. Having twice glimpsed the near-end of their world as they knew it, they had 'perspective.' So much of what we have now simply didn't exist when our parents were our age and the world they, and we, created is barely recognizable to those whose grandparents are still alive.

Change can be evolutionary or revolutionary (ask the Romanovs about the latter and Erich Honecker and the East Germans about the former) but it's always inevitable. Everything that exists changes, as a result of being here and as a function of the interactions while on the planet.

We have had some nice days here in Southeast Connecticut, weather wise, for the first week in March (actually, temperature wise, for the first week in April, but that's fine) and I'm almost hopeful that the dark days of winter for this year are behind me (us codgers don't like the changing seasons to get too turbulent. My idea of a 'scorcher' now is mid-70's, low humidity and for winter, I like a small temperature drop into the low thirties with a side salad of snow totals of less than six inches). I have quietly enjoyed the low fifties, and light breezes we've had-emphasis is on the word, quietly.

Driving home yesterday, I passed a guy with a VW Cabriolet, with the top down. Way to go, bozo. Talk about giving God The Bird. Obviously, the driver was NOT raised a Catholic, and most certainly not raised by nuns. I plead guilty to both.

Catholic school children are EXACTLY like 'you and me (sorry for the larceny, again, F. Scott), because we are. As a Catholic kid, I have been conditioned to experience pleasure and happiness, followed immediately if not ruthlessly, by pangs of guilt for having those feelings. Try as I might to disown that part of me, it's like pretending my left thumb isn't there. There is a Catholicism embodied by the Pope, and on a good day (maybe) the College of Cardinals and the Bishops; there is a Catholic church that your local priests are operating and then there's the real Catholic Church, the one practiced by the nuns. (You disagree? If you didn't go to parochial school, you have no standing or basis to offer an opinion, sorry.)

Let me point out that I was schooled by Sisters of Charity (there's a misnomer! (Saint) Elizabeth Ann Seton, what were you thinking?) but I've encountered enough emotional cripples in my life to conclude the flavor of nun is of little import. You learned very early in the Catholic Faith that Sister Thomas Anne, Sister Rose, Sister Mary Immaculata and Sister Jean had decided that God had no truck with comedians or with those who thought we were here to have ANY fun at all (You don't have to call me lieutenant, Rosie.)
As a matter of fact, made clear to me on more occasions than I care to remember, was the admonition to always confess to having fun while in the box with Father Costello or Monsignor Harding. From the silence on their side of the curtain after having given up that I had, indeed, had fun, I guess they never really got the memo on that prohibition since I can't ever recall having a decade of the Rosary added to my Penance because I made Neil S. laugh so hard at lunch that milk came out of his nose.

My point, Mr. Top-Down Look-at-Me Driving-My-Neat-Car-on-a-Beautiful-Day Guy (Esquire, I suspect): this is why we can't have nice things. If you get something nice, put it in your pocket and sneak a look at it late at night just before you go to sleep. If you find that special someone to love, the job in life that helps complete you, the joys of lasagna--whatever; keep it to yourself. While the Quality of Mercy is not Strained (btw, CofE is practically the same as RC), the nuns taught us that God works in mysterious but full-time ways to maintain a status quo in the Misery Index. So if you're having a Great Time, to balance it out, maybe I'm getting shat upon. And since I don't do that to you, I'd appreciate a little reciprocal consideration, okay?
And, yes, Virginia, I meant you when I said don't make me wait.
-bill kenny

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