January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Such an odd day, really.

Being self employed, I am never one to celebrate most legal holidays. I'll show up on at the post office on President's Day and other legal holidays and be all confused. I work when I work, which means weekends, holidays, nights, etc. I do not take many days off, I rarely acknowledge weekends or days of rest. So hopefully my pecking away at a keyboard today will not be construed as disrespecting the memory of Dr. King. I'll sneak out for Yoga mid-day, and will keep his memory and quest for justice in my heart then.

That being said, there is a bit of a racist undercurrent to this day - so many people do not honor the day, and there is a rolling of the eyes in some corners of corporate america not unlike that which occurs on jewish holidays. Oh, no, THEY are taking off AGAIN.

As a child raised in a very homogenous locale and educated by nuns, whose parents were thoughtful and moderate catholics but not particularly progressive, I was not that aware of the civil rights movement. In fact, I am sure for many years I confused Martin Luther and Martin Luther King - as if a man named Martin Luther had at one point been elevated to nobility. SRA Scores and grades aside, I was a stupid child. This serves me well in channeling humility, recalling how dumb I was and am.

One of Dar Williams earliest songs (which I am somewhat proud - so much for humility - to have purchased from her on tape at a slimy bar in Bristol CT, before The Honesty Room was released, and like to think she paid for gas to get home that night with my $10 bill) was called All My Heroes Are Dead.

I guess in honor of MLK day, I'd like to suggest that we look around our lives for a couple of living heroes, maybe give them a call, drop them an email, let them know that their lives and work is appreciated. I have a couple that I am thinking of.

And for no good reason, I am reminded of John Gorka's song Hero (which he credits Hugh Blumenfeld in the liner notes for resurrecting)

They say that when it comes to choosing heroes
It's best to pick the ones who aren't around
If you choose among the living
You tend to have misgivings
When your hero lets you down
He might have a bad night in your town

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