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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Gray Matters: Things I don't quite understand

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

After as many decades as I have been around, you would think I should have most everything figured out. But unfortunately, there are several things I still don't quite understand.

Among them are the interminably lengthy, flowery obituaries which appear in many newspapers. I just finished reading one here which left me aghast. The writer, whom I took to be the daughter of the deceased, just went on and on.

Embarrassingly intimate details covering the woman's lifetime were included, as well as opinions of her which had been expressed by friends and family members years ago. There may be a place for all of that in a document to be shared by family and close friends, but such a public ovation seems to me to be totally out of place.

The concluding sentence was, "Mom wasn't one for ceremony so a private family gathering was held in lieu of a formal service." To my way of thinking, the extravagant eulogy was far more publicly ceremonious than any dignified funeral service I have ever attended. I feel that, somehow, the writer was totally off the mark, and she is not alone. Examples of this kind of thing are all around us, though few have carried it to such an extreme.

I continue to seek an explanation.

Do you suppose those extravagant eulogies seemingly triggered by grief are the outpourings of emotions which were never adequately shared while the deceased was alive? If that is so, it should be a warning to all of us to be more open in expressing our affection for those we hold near and dear.

Perhaps those who get so carried away have never learned the true meaning of life and death. The lack of a clear understanding of the spiritual reality of the two being an integral part of a whole might be a reasonable explanation for some of this kind of thinking.

Meanwhile, I have warned my kids against any such eulogizing when my time comes. In response, one son replied, "You won't be there to stop us, Mom, so we can do anything we want." My answer to that was that if they get so carried away, I'll come back and haunt them!

Something else that puzzles me is the strange, almost child-like behavior of otherwise seemingly normal adults who are die-hard athletic fans. If we can trust the TV and newspaper depictions of my children's generation which is that of the parents of today's athletes, I find it disturbingly juvenile.

Men in their sixties, old enough to know better, were acting much like the student fans. Some were even dressed just as scantily and were looking even more ridiculous than the kids. I am aware that most of these folks had probably been imbibing a bit too much of the hard stuff which, of course, contributes to the situation.

I don't mean to sound like a prude for I enjoy a good glass of wine or a cool beer on occasion myself, but the notion of moderation seems to have gone by the wayside, and our culture is paying the price.

But enough "doom and gloom." Something I do understand is the state-wide pleasure in the Hawkeye's Orange Bowl victory. Two, I have been pointing out to my new friends, most of whom are so eastern Iowa oriented that they are seldom aware of anything west of Des Moines, that freshman star Brandon Wegher was last year's outstanding prep at Sioux City Heelan. And you can't get much farther west in Iowa than that!