I just wrote of the tragedy — wrote at length — and made passing referenced to the circa 2003-2005 rape accusation. I needed to remind myself that Kobe read a statement in court essentially acknowledging that the sex with the 19-year old who accused him of rape “may not have been consensual.” As Tara Sullivan in the Globe is saying, finally, the star who could have been a great advocate against the rape culture missed that chance. Mindful, he was never convicted in a court of law and there was a civil settlement, which does not amount to a guilty conviction — and these sexual encounters, with the famous or non-famous can be complex he-said-she-said matters….nonetheless, it shouldn’t take a #MeToo movement to remind us that no means no. And that victim is still out there, a 34-year-old woman. What must be her thoughts?
And so, there. We are all sinners. The tragedy abides, as does all the good KB did, this father of four daughters, one of whom entered eternity with him.
I believe I was somewhere in Florida’s interior when it happened — when Kobe Bryant, his daughter and several other souls were suddenly lost in a violent flash in the fog three thousand miles away on a north-of-LA hillside. I had probably just recently exited I-275, then exited I-10 and found my way to state road 301 west on my way back to what is currently home: Largo in the Tampa Bay area. And I know that for much of the drive I’d been thinking about my son and his new wife. I was just coming from their wedding in Mount Pleasant, SC, a seaside suburb of Charleston. And I was thinking about life’s frailty, its shooting star evanescence. ( Driving on any American highway at any hour of the day will induce such thoughts.) I’d been praying for God to keep the newlyweds safe — to keep us all safe, every soul. But life is both fragile and — though we should not dwell on it — full of dangers. And the truth is that I had not, in the years prior to his wedding, bonded with my son as any father should — and should not fail to do. Now, the love I was feeling, tinged in equal measure with joy and remorse, was great. Every moment without love is a tragedy. Life is short. Love — well, it’s eternal. Cliche? Yeah. Sorry. Continue reading “A FLASH IN THE FOG”
My son Barrett is getting married this Saturday in Charleston, SC. A beautiful couple, a great moment. I planned to wear my old blue pinstripe suit. But style-wise companions and associates convinced me that my suit is outdated and that it would make ME look outdated. So I bought a new up-to-date blue suit and had a nice seamstress at the mall take up the too-long pants. Trying the suit on later, I discovered that the pants still broke well over my shoes. Ugly! The old-guy-at-the racetrack look. I took them back to the seamstress She smiled and insisted they were fine, that if taken up any more, they’d be too short when I sat down. I did plan to sit down once in a while, so that made sense to me. But thereafter, it made no sense to all those style-conscious sartorial advisors of mine who, when consulted, told me my seamstress, God bless her, seemed oblivious to fashion advances in the pages of GQ and Esquire. The style, they said, is to be sleek and not too capacious (i.e., baggy) in the pants with the cuffs barely touching the tops of the shoes. All I can say is, they haven’t seen my shoes — black, bulbous things worthy only of Mickey Mouse. Perhaps it’s best if they get draped over like dead bodies. What this all comes down to is – I’m sadly out of date for such a cool guy. I must work on that. Meanwhile, my up-to-date, fashion-savvy handsome son – who was just a mere boy when I bought my antiquated formal wear – is having the biggest day of his still-young life and everybody will be looking at him and his lovely bride, not at the father of the groom. I’ll ask the photographer to crop me at the knees. And I’ll probably spend most of the wedding sitting down anyway. Apparently I have the right pants for that. And for the occasional dance number, I admit I’ll be a little self-conscious. So I’ll be dancing in the dark, while the new couple dances out into the light.
It was a Florida warm day in which, in the mid-afternoon, I sat by a friend’s pool in the city of Palm Harbor. The sky was blue and cloudless, probably in deep contrast to the threatening storms of the north.
Suddenly, overhead, there were crows, a wide trail of them straggling, probably, over a mile or more, for just when I thought I might have seen the crow that was bringing up the rear there came another disordered fleet of them, now and then a few circling away from the main body for some reason known only to God, nature and the birds involved. But ultimately, they, too, joined the movement left to right, high, so very high overhead. Continue reading “AS THE CROWS FLY…”
Observing the shame that has fallen on the Houston Astros and knowing that the Red Sox might soon be forced to submit to the same chastisement, I feel compelled to ask — what does it say about our society that seemingly upright public figures could so overtly and deliberately cheat on such a grand stage as a major league baseball championship? Perhaps I’m naive to ask the question — but I have to say I am shocked and fear it may say a great deal about our anxious morality and its precipitous state of decline. Perhaps I’m learning that, the bigger the stage, the higher the stakes, the larger and bolder the sin.
Endless cycles of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance.
from T.S. Eliot, Choruses from “The Rock”
Rockets are scary and those wheels of fortune do grind slowly, but exceedingly fine.
I confess I watch Wheel of Fortune and recorded last night’s “episode”. (It truly IS an “episode” and “adventure” for the souls who wait weeks, if not months, to try their puzzle-solving skills on national television after being duly vetted, interviewed and tested for sportsmanship so unflagging that they smile and applaud fellow contestants even after losing thousands of dollars and a trip to an exotic venue at the capricious click and bump of a stupid wheel).
But my recording of last night’s episode was abruptly pre-empted at the outset by a special network bulletin and I was soon looking at the face of CBS’s Nora O’Donnell — appearing to my eyes equal parts alarmed and indignant — urgently informing us that Iranian rockets were raining down on a U.S. base in Iraq, ominously launched not by Iran’s terrorist surrogates but by — and from within — Iran itself. Continue reading “WHEELS (AND ROCKETS) OF FORTUNE”