I was reading a magazine article yesterday, and the author asked us to think about several people (living or dead) who we would like to invite to dinner. Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) immediately came to my mind. As you may have noticed, I am a major fan of interesting quotations, and I can't think of too many people, aside from Shakespeare, who rival Geisel in that area. He started his love of words and humor as a very young man. In fact, he took on his pen name while at Dartmouth. He was writing for the humor magazine "Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern", and eventually became editor-in-chief. He was caught drinking gin in his room with a group of friends, and the dean forced him to resign from all of his extracurricular activities. He didn't want to give up writing for the humor magazine, so he started writing under a pen name. That was the beginning of Dr. Seuss.
I enjoy tracking down where interesting people got their start. For example, Brandon Stanton, who is well known for his blog and book about Humans of New York, was a bond trader. He took up photography as a hobby, and soon it took over his life. His pictures piqued my interest in photography, and my iPhone has been busy ever since. The blog, more than the book, really gives the reader an insight into the minds and hearts of people.
The other book that I read and reviewed this week, Losing Faith, also takes the reader into the minds of people. I kept questioning myself as I read the book, because I found myself hoping that obviously morally challenged people would be the victors in Mitzner's book. That made me take a second look at my values, and I came to a conclusion that was different than the one I always believed. Morality is not always black and white. Like in many aspects of our lives, morality can also come in shades of grey. Stealing is stealing, but how do we measure the father who steals to feed his son with the same ruler as the hoodlum who steals his victim's wedding band. Murder is murder, but should the abused wife who fears for her safety every day be held as accountable for killing her husband as the husband who beats his wife to death because his soup was cold one night. I have to hope that our justice system does a good job sorting it all out in the end.
Speaking of our justice system, my son-in-law, Jimmy, served on a long trial over the last few weeks, and I am proud to say he went with his mind instead of his heart. The defendant was a tobacco company, and he said that he came out of the experience even more disgusted with them than he imagined possible. He wanted to hold them accountable for the death of every man, woman and child who can not put down their cigarettes. Instead, he listened to the lawyers and the judge and realized that as bad as they might be, these defendants were not guilty of this particular crime. The jurors don't get to hear everything, and even though we might think that O.J. was guilty, most of the time the jury gets it right.
Well, here it is, Christmas Day, and I am getting way too serious. It is time for me to sign off and go eat one of the cookies that I baked earlier today.