Niagara Gazette

Columns

May 4, 2014

SINGER: In praise of the indispensables

Niagara Gazette — They say no one’s indispensable, or more colorfully, that one monkey can’t stop the show; but in some ways, people are all we’ve got, and many can’t easily be forgotten. This came home recently with Ralph Wilson’s passing (making a Buffalo Bills’ future problematic), along with the dangerous return of Jim Kelly’s cancer; but it’s also evident in numerous obituary entries concerning many fine, accomplished individuals around these parts.

That notwithstanding, we currently live in a sort of human fast food society — get it quick, eat it quick, toss the trash. It’s also a society where tarnishings are regular phenomena — simply in sports, think of a Lance Armstrong or Barry Bonds: once iconic, and now they didn’t really know how to ride a bike or play ball at all?

I realize those are special cases, but more generally, a society which comes down too heavily on its special will eventually find itself beset by omnipresent mediocrity. As one friend put it, they’ll gleefully unearth the one time Mother Theresa maybe picked her nose, and suddenly she ain’t so saintly? Once you invoke that kind of standard, a sad result, among others, will be that more rise to different positions for the wrong reasons and will often bore the heck out of others while occupying such niches. (In addition, they might operate badly, too!)

We really must reduce this trasherama atmosphere and thank the Lord for those who put themselves on the line, walk the walk, etc. In particular, I’m simply dazzled by the trait of courage on display. And yet that person who, say, traversed the Falls on a wire and helped boost local tourism may have worn mismatched clothes one morning? Then it goes viral and he/she gets raked over the coals in the entertainment media, suddenly mired with the latest bit of goofery wrought by a Miley or Lindsay? Is that right?

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