Playing Chicken

I just turned 56 a few days ago.  I’m wondering at what point do you officially become “an old man”?  Please, save the “you’re as young as you feel” baloney.  I used to have this passion for fitness and exercise: today after work I put on my walking shoes intending to put in a brisk 3 miles.  At about the 1.7 mile mark I had cinder blocks on my feet, and an intense yearning for a Snickers and BBQ pork rinds.  Summer heat?  Maybe.  But coming out of the shower and checking out my pecs in the mirror, they looked (trick of the light?) disturbingly undefined fleshy appendages, despite the 10-12 “perfect pushups” I do every day, except when I don’t.  This meditation on aging was triggered by catching some nincompoop simpering on the one of the morning shows about the “legend of Marilyn Monroe”, and what Marilyn Monroe means to our culture today.  “What if Marilyn had lived?” the hostess asked, and he went on to gush about how she was maturing as an actress, maybe gone on to be the Meryl Streep of her day.  If MM had lived, most likely she’d have become a blowsy has-been like Shelly Winters, and Elton John wouldn’t have written “The Candle That Broke Wind”, or whatever that song was.  Getting old sucks, except when it doesn’t, like this October when our first grandchild is born. I can’t wait until I can play the Peter Falk role in “The Princess Bride”, reading my grandkid childhood classics like “Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer” and “Pet Sematary”.  But I digress…

I have an email distribution list called “Catholics” for sending Catholics, some interested Protestants, and a couple of mullahs in the Iranian government Catholic-related stuff.  Yesterday I sent out a brief reflection on “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day”, in which I participated:

At Chick Fil-A last night cars were around the block, people (amiable, recently bathed) were lined up out the door.  It was wonderful: some fed-up folks went and got fed. Delicious, and no water cannons or rubber bullets were necessary.

You know, maybe the great mass of us get no respect from the Reeds, the Pelosis and the Bidens because we don’t kick up a fuss.  Maybe it’s time a few people stopped showering, working, attending to their communities and their families and go pitch some tents, burn some cars, and throw rocks at cops……………naw, never mind.  I would tear a rotator cuff tossing a rock, too slow to get out of the tear gas.  I’ll just keep praying and voting.

I got an interesting reply from a close friend who’s of a more liberal bent:

Tolerance Maestro, tolerance…Remember there are mullet wearing, truck driving, gun toters in your club who kill “niggras”, “kikes”, and gays, yet, I don’t send out an e-mail when they flash their Confederate flags at the NASCAR races.

The “in your club” got to me.  I didn’t know I was a member of a club that had such distinguished and colorful fellow members.  Has Dan Cathy, anyone in his company, or anyone supporting his company talked about killing anybody?  Does the Roman Catholic Church – indeed, any Christian denomination – advocate such behavior?  Where is the tolerance for Dan Cathy, holder of the same views on marriage as the President, until the President “evolved” recently?  I didn’t see any mullet-wearing, truck-driving, gun toters at the Chick Fil-A last night: maybe they were in disguise.

The concept of tolerance is an interesting one.  An English professor who made a big impression on me my freshman year decried “tolerance”.  He was a gay (didn’t know what that was back then) African-American who spoke with the diction of Gielgud.  “I don’t want to be tolerated,” he declared, “I want to be understood.”  When I expressed my admiration of him later in the semester, a classmate tilted her head and said “Don’t you know he’s gay!?”  And as I look back, yes, he was flaming now that you mention it.  But at the time that seemed like the least important thing about him.

I heard Catholic philosopher Dr. Peter Kreeft interviewed recently, and he said Catholic gays loath the “Hate the sin, love the sinner” mantra.  He had one ask him, “How would it make you feel if I told you I hate your love of the Eucharist and all the Catholic things you do, but I love you?”  “Pretty bad, I guess” was Dr. Kreeft’s reply, “But it’s an easy decision for me.  What you have to decide is what’s more important: being gay or being Catholic?”

So let’s all strive for better understanding, avoiding the modern definition of tolerance, which is “Be quiet if you don’t agree with me.”  Those are my thoughts, I welcome others.

Explore posts in the same categories: Catholicism, Faith, Humor

One Comment on “Playing Chicken”

  1. good2begone Says:

    “I don’t want to be tolerated, I want to be understood.” Simply put…that is incredible advice! I may begin using that gem. Great post. Your honesty and humor is refreshing!

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