Saturday, November 15, 2008
And now, a metaphor.
When I was an early teenager--13 or 14, I loved Steinbeck's book, "Of Mice and Men." Also, there was a 1939 movie of the same name starring Burgess Meredith as George and the hulking Lon Chaney Jr. as George, the simpleton. Aaron Copeland composed the music.
In one of the seminal scenes in the book, Whit, an old man, is persuaded by Curly, a cad, to let Curly shoot Whit's old dog--to put the dog out of its misery. Whit relents and Curly executes the aged canine. Whit angry at himself for giving in to Curly--angry at his own cowardice hears the single pistol shot and remarks: "I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog."
I read Mark Harris' classic novella "Bang the Drum Slowly," about eight years after I read "Of Mice and Men." In the story Bruce, a journeyman catcher, is suffering from Hodgkin's Disease, a terminal illness. Henry, his friend and the star of the team, is Bruce's protector. Their team, the Mammoths, goes on to win the World Series, and Bruce goes on to die. Henry is the only one from the team to go to Bruce's funeral. Henry (via Harris) writes this after Bruce dies. "In my Arcturus Calendar for October 7 it says, 'DeSoto visited Georgia, 1540.' This hands me a laugh. Bruce Pearson also visited Georgia. I was his pall-bear, me and 2 fellows from the crate and box plant and some town boys, and that was all. There were flowers from the club, but no person from the club. They could of sent somebody."
Those are my thoughts for the day. When something nasty has to be done. Do it yourself. In person. No matter how much it sucks.
Posted by george tannenbaum at 5:02 PM