Our first occupants are decided. The votes have been checked for hanging-chads. The busts are cast in bronze and mounted on the wall of the garage. The first class, of maybe many, or maybe a few, shall be revealed.
Opening the garage door, we see it. The majestic White Cadillac sits there, but a Caddy isn’t meant to sit. It wants to be driven, and occupied. Today, however, we must start with the baggage.
The trunk isn’t meant for humans, but one’s going in there. He deserves it, too. The trunk is where we put people we’re tired of hearing. They’ve grated on us, and we’re more than motivated to stuff them into the most uncomfortable, sound-proof chamber imaginable. Only the trunk shall do, and we’ll need a big’n for this load.
So, who’s going in there? Why, Rush Limbaugh, of course. We’re going to grease-up that huge gut and stuff him back in the trunk, cigars and all.
Why? Well, that should be easy. Quite simply, labeling an ideological opponent as a “slut” as a means of countering her logic and opinions screams of desperation, misogyny, and a horrible lack of critical thinking and manners.
I realize he’s already suffering. The press has not been kind, and sponsors are falling left-and-right, but we must never forget how unfortunate his words (and his chosen career is one of choosing words) are. The harm he’s brought to our chances of bridging a gap between liberals and conservatives in this country may be felt for years–even beyond our forgetting his poor choice of words as of late.
Now, Rush can’t drive from the trunk. What’s more, we wouldn’t want him driving this mean machine under any circumstances. We need to find a good person to handle both the car and the cargo.
No, not the “My Cousin Vinny” Joe Pesci. We’re going straight for the “Goodfellas” Joe Pesci.
As George Carlin said “Joe Pesci looks like a guy who can get things done.” That’s exactly what we need driving this wonderful piece of Detroit steel. Well, that and a guy who will undoubtedly scare the shit out of Rush.
The thing is, we don’t want Rush murdered. Perhaps, as in “The Godfather,” we should have assigned this one to Clemenza. Well, Joe’s already sitting there. So, perhaps we need to put a calming voice in the passenger seat.
We need a voice of reason in the front-passenger seat of our land-barge, and only one person is equipped to keep Joe in check. Jeff Gamso.
Jeff, the author of “Gamso, For The Defense” and former ACLU muckily-muck, is an outspoken critic of the death penalty, and he’s our one shot at keeping Joe from imposing it upon Rush. Jeff is dogged and persuasive. He isn’t flashy. He isn’t cosmopolitan. He’s himself, and that’s what we need to convince Joe to put the knife and gun away. He values human life, and he values fairness. He is a champion for both.
Note: He doesn’t know it, but I owe Jeff an apology for something that happened in the mid-1990s. I’ll likely talk about it in the future, but not now.
One could say Jeff deserves a spot in the backseat, where those who’ve accomplished a lifetime body of work rest and enjoy the ride. However, he’s still at it and appears, by all accounts, at the top of his game. At the same time, he’s accomplished more in just a few short years with his blog than most of us lawyers accomplish in an entire career.
The backseat is reserved for those whose work is finished, or close to finished. It is a place of honor, rest, and relaxation. They need but to sit back and take-in the sights. They are those who we wish could share a cross-country ride with us, but who can’t (or won’t). To say their legacy has a profound effect on who we are today is an understatement.
(Sure, the backseat can also be used for more juvenile purposes, but not today. Today, we’re being adultish here at UA. Not that we’re above it, but today we’re trying to act our age.)
We start with John Steuart Curry. An American artist, he is most famous for his murals on the Kansas Statehouse walls. While his entire body of work is impressive, one creation had a lasting effect on this author.
In Kindergarten, I was subject to a field trip to the statehouse in Topeka. We walked in a large pack as a droll tour guide led us from statue to statue, office to office, painting to painting. Eventually, we rounded a corner to see a mural entitled “A Tragic Prelude.” I stopped, gazing up. It depicted a larger-than-life John Brown surrounded by symbols of a time called “Bleeding Kansas” prior to the Civil War. The mural is violent and symbolic, showing hatred of war, the fallacies of man, and a bit of tenderness and allusions to rugged individualism. You could look at it for hours and not see everything there is to see.
In the background, a tornado rages, moving slowly to destroy everything, good or bad, that man created.
People love to minimize the talent and scope of American artists (particularly painters). I say they’re wrong. I say John Steuart Curry is one of many who proves them wrong.
Finally, John S. Curry is joined in the backseat by a person who I idolized for most of my adult life, Buck O’Neil.
Buck was not a politician or an inventor or a soldier. He played baseball. He played in a segment of baseball called the Negro Leagues and managed one of its most storied franchises, the Kansas City Monarchs. After integration, he became a scout for Major League Baseball.
More importantly, Buck O’Neil helped to found the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the old Kansas City jazz district. It is a wonderful place, oozing with history and lessons in life, perseverance, and acceptance.
Most importantly, Buck was a wonderful, truly wonderful, human. He found no time to criticize or complain. Instead, he effected change by accentuating the positive and assuming the best of all people. He sacrificed none of his life to negativity, though we would sympathize if he were bitter for some of the things he saw in his life.
When he witnessed a man at Minute Maid Park snatch a home-run ball from above a young child, most of the crowd condemned and booed the man. Buck didn’t. He presumed the man had another child to whom he’d present the ball. Assuming that the man was a selfish prick never entered Buck’s mind. That’s how you enjoy a life. Buck didn’t tell us. He showed us. (For a fantastic account of Buck, please, please, read The Soul of Baseball by Joe Posnanski. It is wonderful, no matter who you are. Joe is a great writer, and Buck is a great person. That’s all you need to know.)
I try to be like Buck. I really do. I hope that, someday, I am.
So, I watch the full Caddy depart with it’s full compartments. The occupants seem different, but they aren’t. They’re all decidedly and completely human, and that, my friends, makes for one helluva journey.