Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

February 6, 2014

VALLEY: Cue the harp music, cut to the fantasy

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I have a new idol in my life. It’s probably odd for someone of my age to admit as much, but it’s the truth. Anytime I see a person bringing hope into the world, count me in as a fan. I’m referring to Pope Francis. What a breath of fresh air this guy brings to the table.

The man is the real deal.

In a generation possessed of a me-first, self-promoting mentality, Pope Francis is a beacon of humility. A throwback from the trending narcissism that has irreversibly taken over society.

It took him only five words to become my hero: “Who am I to judge?”

But that doesn’t mean he’s happy with the status quo. He’s not about to sit back and let dysfunction continue on its destructive path without a fight.

Francis has stepped to the plate and filled an ever-growing chasm in our lives. He recognizes that we – more so every day – are living in a culture devoid of responsibility. A culture that is callously discarding respect as yesterday’s news; and one that tosses aside courtesy as too old-fashioned.

For example: We are obsessed with gossip, voyeurism and a propensity to flaunt whatever it is we think will offend someone else. We are gripped in an age of cheering for athletes who make half a million dollars a week, yet gripe about teachers who make $60,000 dollars a year. We are in the midst of rewarding able-bodied individuals’ laziness with the fruits of the elderly’s hard work.

But who am I to judge?

I wonder what sort of advice this pope would give to some of today’s news-makers. What kind of wisdom would he impart upon them?

Cue the harp music as we cut to … yes … a fantasy scenario:

•••

The setting: The State of New Jersey, where His Holiness, Pope Francis, is visiting. New Jersey’s head of state, Governor Chris Christie, has requested an audience with the Pontiff.

Christie speaks first: “It’s such a pleasure to meet you Pope Francis.”

Francis: “Twinkie? Can of Coke?”

Christie: “Yes, thanks, don’t mind if I do.”

Francis: “Now, what can I do for you, Governor?”

Christie: “Well, Holy Father, I’m in sort of a predicament here. I’m involved in a scandal where I’ve been accused of vendettas against those who have opposed me.”

Francis: “And you need some advice, my son?”

Christie: “Yes. My administration is accused of causing huge traffic jams. People were kept from going where they intended to go … allegedly.”

Francis: “Well, you know, Governor, what you sow usually comes back to you in the same manner.”

Christie: “Well, what I’m concerned about is if these allegations will have any effect on my presidential aspirations.”

Francis: “Well, Governor, let’s just say ... allegedly ... you’ll have to cross that bridge when you come to it, won’t you?”

•••

Cue the harp music again. Now visualize a new visitor with the Pope.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: “It’s such an honor to meet you, Holy Father. Are there any Twinkies?”

Francis: “I’m sorry, but the last guy ate them all.”

Ford: “Well, let me start out by apologizing for my tardiness.”

Francis: “Did you encounter problems on your way here, my son?”

Ford: “You bet I did. The traffic was horrible. I couldn’t get over that damn bridge!”

Francis: (slight chuckle) “Ah yes, we all tend to run into problems along the road of life. It’s how we deal with them that counts.”

Ford: “Amen to that!”

Francis: “Coke?”

How can you not love the guy?

And that’s the way it looks from the Valley.

Tom Valley is a Medina resident. Contact him at tvalley@rochester.rr.com.