We spent the weekend in Wooster, Ohio. We drove there to do something we have been wanting to do for years, namely to see a production of Sigmund Romberg's 'The New Moon' by the Ohio Light Opera company at the College of Wooster. It was worth the 15 or so hours we spent on the road travelling there and back, including the usual breaks for food and such. At least, my wife and I thought so. I'm not so sure about my son.
I had asked my son to be sure to pack 'good clothes' to wear to the production, and after we had all changed in our hotel room to leave for the theatre, I was surprised to see him wearing shorts. "I thought I asked you to bring good clothes," I said to him. "These are good clothes," he responded, "they're good summer clothes. You didn't tell me to bring long pants. They would be winter clothes."
Huh? We may have the making of a lawyer in my son. I'm not sure I would like that.
So, off we went to the theatre, with him wearing a nice shirt and shorts. In fairness, there were several other kids there, and even one adult, wearing similar attire. However, I just can't get used to this very casual approach to going out for a very special evening. Whatever happened to getting dressed up for such occasions?
You know what really gets me? Baseball caps. We have dined many times in restaurants, plain or fancy, with many male diners, young and old, wearing their very best John Deere baseball caps. What's up with that? Perhaps I wouldn't mind as much if they at least took the caps off when they sat down to eat. Nope, that never happens. My brother and I were trained by my mother to remove any headgear at the dinner table. Or else!
Enough griping. The world is a much different place than it once was, and many things have improved over the years. I don't consider the overly casual dress style to be one of those improvements, though.
My wife has always joked about trying to raise our son as a 'Renaissance Man.' She wants to expose him to culture in the way of music and theatre, wants him to have good manners, to be able to dance a passable waltz , and have him carry on a conversation without resorting to language that, if printed anywhere, would demand liberal application of 'expletive deleted' edits. How does he fare, so far, as a Renaissance Man? Mostly, he does have good manners. He does dance passably well, unlike his father. He speaks well. We're not so sure, however, how much of the culture we have tried to expose him to has been appreciated by him. Maybe not much. Still, perhaps decades from now, he will look back and remember these occasions fondly. I hope so.
I wonder sometimes about enjoying life and pursuing admittedly frivolous pastimes and entertainment, while people elsewhere are being blown to bits. Is that fair?
No, it's not fair. The universe isn't fair. Things that happen to some people aren't fair. Disease isn't fair. War isn't fair. So, should we all sit around and mope, and be guilt-ridden about things we can't control?
No. What is happening in Israel and Lebanon right now is not my fault. It's not your fault. There are misguided and angry people in our world who thrive on murder and mayhem. They have always existed and likely always will exist. Things will be what they are meant to be, whether we cry and gnash our teeth, or whether instead we enjoy what life has to offer.
Still, we should not turn a blind eye to the misery in our world. We have a responsibility to encourage fairness and responsibility. We have an obligation to fight back when we are pushed. We live in a complex world and we must understand it as best we can. Perhaps, someday, when everyone thinks first and acts later, our world may be a better place.
In the meantime, crank up the music.