Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Unbreachable Chasm Between Pomposity and Humility

Were you relieved to awaken yesterday morning and to discover that in spite of a seismic event that had occurred in Manhattan on Friday morning, the Earth is indeed continuing to rotate on its axis?  

I have never met either of the titular co-hosts (until yesterday morning anyway) of what is - as I understand - sixty minutes of programming that ABC each and every weekday morning after the completion of that morning's installment of Good Morning, America.  Having lived the entirety of my life (save for four years as a shuffling Buffalo) in State of Concrete Gardens, I know that this current iteration of this show is the linear descendant of a local morning program that - once upon a lifetime ago - used to be hosted by Regis Philbin and Cyndy Garvey, who was at one time married to Los Angeles Dodger, Steve "Mr. Forearms" Garvey.  To my knowledge, other than perhaps catching a glimpse of it one morning while on vacation with the Missus as we were gathering up our stuff to head to the beach, I had never seen Ms. Ripa and Mr. Strahan in action.  Whether I die an unfulfilled man or not is not something that shall be dependent upon my viewership of this program.  Of that much I am certain. 

Ms. Ripa raised quite a kerfuffle last month when the news broke that Mr. Strahan was leaving their show to become a full-time member of Good Morning, America - a program I last watched when I was home sick with the flu in the tenth grade.  I was almost prepared to feel badly for her until I read in several places that she is paid $20 Million a year to do a job at which she works one hour a day.  A job for which her commute, by the way, is not exactly trying.  

At the risk of being labeled a "sexist", Kelly Ripa is not the only dilletante for whom I have little sympathy and even less use.  Sam Bradford is a professional football player.  Prior to the 2015 season, the Philadelphia Eagles acquired him in a trade with the St. Louis Rams to be their starting quarterback.  Thus far in his NFL career, which began when the Rams selected him first in the draft several years ago, Bradford has been two things:  often-injured and underwhelming.  In spite of that combination, the Eagles not only traded for him but then signed him to a contract extension pursuant to which they paid him more than $20 Million in guaranteed money.

In this year's NFL draft, the Eagles took a quarterback with their first-round draft pick.  In response, Bradford publicly sulked and then demanded that the Eagles trade him.  Huge surprise that they found no takers.  No one else wants to be stuck with Philadelphia's albatross.

Ripa and Bradford, in addition to being prima donnas, have something else in common.  Both of them - after having their tantrum - returned to their day job.  Neither apologized for their behavior.  As is often the case, those with the deepest-rooted sense of self-entitlement also have the least well-developed sense of self-awareness.

Yesterday,  Alyse Van De Putte received a degree at Drew University's commencement.  She did not attend Drew University.  Her brother, Neil, did.  Tragically, on the morning of July 5, 2015, Neil was killed.  He was an award-winning at Drew, majoring in physics, and he was struck and killed by a speeding police car responding to a call at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant.

Neil Van De Putte should have graduated yesterday from Drew.  He could not.  Drew University did something that it rarely does:  It awarded Neil Van De Putte a posthumous degree.  And his sister, Alyse, walked with his classmates and accepted the degree her brother had earned on his behalf.

Alyse Van De Putte was so impacted by her brother's death that - this past summer - she found it difficult to sleep in her bedroom in her family's home because her bedroom is located directly across the hallway from Neil's.  She was so affected by what had happened that she contemplated not beginning the graduate program at Drexel University into which she had been accepted.  She persevered.  And she did what needed to be done.  She has now completed the first year of her program.

And yesterday in spite of the hole in her heart and the tears in her eyes, she showed up yet again.

And she persevered.


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