Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Wisdom of Phineas

I fell asleep prior to the conclusion of Sunday night's Academy Awards.  In fairness to my fellow narcoleptic, Chrissy Teigen, she made it one hell of a lot deeper into the broadcast than I.  I called it a night prior to Casey Affleck growing his beard, I think.  

I woke up Monday morning to a great deal of breathless reporting about the great envelope screw-up of 2017, courtesy of Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty, and your friends and mine at PriceWaterhouseCooper.  I appreciate the fact that it was one hell of an embarrassing couple of minutes for all concerned.  That being said, from the clips I saw on-line, it seemed to me that the people from La La Land and the people from Moonlight both handled the faux pas with grace.  And at the end of the evening, the people who won "Best Picture" were recognized and left the auditorium with Oscar in their possession.  

It was a far cry from that disaster at the 1997 Tony Awards when a seat-filler walked off with a Tony properly intended for one of the producers of Best Musical winner, Scarsdale Surprise"...

As my great, great grandpa Phineas used to tell me, "If the worst part of your day is someone screwing up announcing your name as the winner of an Academy Award, then you are having a pretty goddamn good day."  Phineas was the wisest old man I have ever known.  Proof of just how far down the scale of "worst day ever" entries what happened at Sunday night's Academy Awards is found in the story of Royce Young and his wife, Keri.  

I am not a fan of NBA basketball.  Full disclosure demands that I acknowledge that I was not aware of the fact that Royce Young earns his living writing about the NBA for espn.com until after I read the incredible tribute that he had written to his wife, Keri, which he posted on his Facebook page on February 17th, shortly before he left their home to travel to New Orleans to cover the NBA All-Star Game. 

Keri Young is pregnant.  She is carrying a little girl.  Keri and Royce Young have a young son, Harrison, to whom baby Eva would have been a little sister.  Keri Young's due date is May 7.  

At the nineteen-week ultrasound, Keri and Royce Young received stunningly tragic news.  Eva, alive in her mother's womb, does not have a brain. Keri Young, upon learning the devastating news, decided that she is going to carry Eva to term.  By doing so, the Youngs shall, upon Eva's death, make her organs available for other babies in need.  More important to Keri Young is the fact that by doing so, they will permit their little girl, whose life shall be but a fleeting glimpse, to meet her mommy and daddy.    

If Royce Young's tribute to Keri does not inspire you while simultaneously breaking your heart, then I know not what can.  I have read it several times and it guts me each time I do.  And I am enough of a coward to acknowledge that all I am doing is reading about it.  I shudder at the likelihood of my failure were I tasked with the responsibility with which Royce Young is tasked and I know, without hesitation that I would certainly fail if required to walk for even a moment in Keri Young's shoes.  

Read their story.  Spend just a moment in their lives, walking around for just a little while in their reality.  Then scroll back up to the top of this piece and play (or replay) the video to which I provided the link in the second full paragraph, which chronicles Sunday night's Academy Awards fiasco.  Ask yourself if old great great grandpa Phineas was not right, after all.

It is, of course, a rhetorical question.  And one to which the answer, on this particular day, hurts more than anyone wishes it did.  


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