Monday, May 14, 2012

Golden Children

In an effort to ensure that I was awake for the late-night trip to/from Newark Airport prompted by Suz's glorious visit home this weekend, Thursday night I did something I do not usually do. I took a little nap. I slept for about an hour prior to waking up and heading out with Margaret shortly after 10:00 pm to pick Suz up. I learned at age 17 when I managed to transform a Chevrolet Malibu station wagon from mid-sized to sub-compact in one fell swoop that it is better to sleep in one's bed than behind the wheel of one's car.

Anyway, falling asleep at 8:30 pm proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated. I ended up laying in bed for about forty minutes watching television and after speed-surfing through roughly six dozen channels in less than two minutes I settled upon the final, suspenseful moments of one of the cheesiest films from the 1980's. I speak of course of the Francis Ford Coppola opus "The Outsiders". Nothing says epic struggle quite as poignantly as Coppola's depiction of the clash between the Greasers and the Socs in mid-1960's Tulsa, Oklahoma although to be kind it is hard to envision Tulsa as a tough town when some of the toughest guys in the rival gangs are Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Emilio Estevez, a 99-pound Matt Dillon and - the coup de grace - Leif Garrett. When Leif Garrett is the toughest dude in your gang, it is time to surrender your corner of the 'hood to the Girl Scouts.

It may be difficult to reconcile that the same man who was responsible for "The Godfather" films, "Apocalypse Now" and - for good measure - "Tucker" also has this film on his resume. It is especially so when you watch the final couple of minutes of it. Holy Mother of Pearl - what a cheesefest.

For all of the inherent corniness in the film however, Johnny's farewell letter to Pony Boy in which he shares with his friend his thought about the meaning of "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost is spot on. It is children who are golden. It is those of us of an adult persuasion who work too damn hard to take that gold out of them. And we do so by any inane means available to us.

Need proof of this phenomenon? Look no further than the religious zealots who run Our Lady of Sorrows School in Arizona. Those big thinkers decided that they would not permit their varsity baseball team to compete against the squad from Mesa Preparatory Academy for the Arizona Charter Athletic Association Championship last week. Why not? Mesa Prep's second baseman is not a 'man'....or even a 'boy' for that matter. Fifteen-year-old Paige Sultzbach is a girl. Our Lady of Sorrows has a policy that forbids its athletic teams to compete in co-ed sports. The adults who run the joint actually issued a statement that, "the school teaches boys respect by not placing girls in athletic competition, where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty."

The heights of stupidity to which people ascend in the name of organized religion never ceases to amaze me. Kudos to the God-worshippers at Our Lady of Sorrows for failing to see the forest for the trees. Nothing quite like being condescending, patronizing d-bags in an effort to teach their male students how to respect a fifteen-year-old student-athlete at another school.

The Lord works in mysterious ways; eh?

-AK

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