February 17, 2018

The Challenge of Being in a Service Business

Last month, on January 21, 2018, I celebrated the 35th anniversary of the opening my law practice. I graduated from law school in May 1982, and received my license to practice law in November 1982. Two months later, on January 21, 1983, I rented an office from an established Peoria attorney.

Nine years later (1992), I hired my first associate attorney. At that time, I was 35 years old. The attorney that I hired was 10 years younger than me, and had just graduated from law school.

At the time that I hired the attorney, I had an office manager, two full-time secretaries, a full-time receptionist, and a part-time secretary. Hiring an attorney was a big step for me, and I didn’t feel as though I knew enough about running a business to continue to move forward without some assistance.

The same year that I hired the attorney, I signed a contract with Gerber Business Development Corporation to provide me with coaching on how to properly run and grow my business. I had committed to paying the attorney a large salary and I didn’t want to make any catastrophic mistakes in managing and growing my law firm.

I found out about the Gerber company when I read a book that was written by its founder, Michael Gerber. The title of the book was, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. What Gerber said in his book about small businesses in America hit a raw nerve with me.

I had previously represented several business clients who had done well for a while and then, for one reason or another, had made mistakes that caused their businesses to fail. I had also handled several bankruptcies for individuals who had failed in their own businesses. Many of the businessmen that Gerber wrote about in his book reminded me of my own clients and their failure to succeed in their businesses.

February 10, 2018

The Death of a Special Christ-Like Priest

Georgette and I met on August 4, 1978, when we were both 21 years old. We were married in June 1980, while I was on break from law school. Ten months later, in March 1981, we had our first child, Harry. I graduated from law school in May of the following year.

We moved back to Peoria during the summer of 1982. At that time, Georgette was pregnant with our second child, Anna. I started my law practice in January 1983, and Anna was born the following month. We had our third child, Maria, 13 months later, in March 1984. When Maria was born, I was 26 years old.

It was during this period of time that my mom and my sister Colleen started commenting about how I had become too serious and I needed to lighten up. Colleen is a year and a half younger than me, and of my eight sisters, she was the one I was closest to while we were growing up.

When my mom and sister told me that I had become too serious, I hadn’t realized that my behavior had changed from the young, carefree guy who liked to have a good time and tease other people to an older guy who felt overwhelmed by the burdens of life.

But I wasn’t bothered by their comments about my being too serious. To me, that was what responsible adults did — they grew up and did their best to care for and support their families. In some respects, my mom and my sister were correct. My newfound responsibilities made me feel overwhelmed. At times, I felt as though I was doing well just to keep my head above water. Georgette and I had three babies in three years — Maria was born on Harry’s third birthday — and I was doing my best to support my family while managing my law practice.

Now, more than 30 years later, Georgette and I have 13 grandchildren, with three more on the way. I’m still serious, but I’m having more fun now than I’ve had in years. I’ve given myself permission to lighten up and revert to my childhood when I’m around my grandchildren. Their parents sometimes get irritated with me because they think I get their children riled up too much. But that’s OK with me, because I’m finally able to do what my mom and my sister wanted me to do all those years ago.

February 3, 2018

A Dream & The Greatest Showman

I recently joined my wife and some of our children at a local theater to see the movie, The Greatest Showman. The movie is a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum. It begins when Barnum is a boy. He is the son of a poor tailor who does work for a wealthy man. The man looks down on Barnum and his father, because of their lower-class status.

Barnum is a fun-loving boy who is infatuated with the wealthy man’s daughter. The man knows that Barnum likes his daughter and makes it clear to Barnum that he’ll never be good enough for her. After that, the daughter is sent to finishing school for several years. While she is away at school, she and Barnum continue to keep in contact by writing letters to each other.

Years later, when the daughter returns home from school, she is reunited with Barnum. They end up getting married and starting a family. After borrowing money from a local bank, Barnum buys an old museum building in downtown Manhattan. He then sets up Barnum’s American Museum, which showcases wax figures.

After struggling to make his new business work, Barnum’s children tell him that instead of featuring wax figures, he needs to have characters who are “alive.” Barnum likes the idea and begins searching for and hiring “freaks” to serve as performers. As he is rounding up his new cast of characters, Barnum sings the unique and mesmerizing song, Come Alive.

As Barnum’s new show gains popularity in New York, a reporter for the New York Herald is highly critical of Barnum and his “freak show.” The reporter’s columns about Barnum and his show stir up trouble among certain people in the community, including the upper-class members of the community.

To enhance his reputation with the upper-class, Barnum convinces Philip Carlisle, a local playwright from a wealthy family, to join him in his business. To raise Barnum’s status, Carlisle arranges a trip to Europe for Barnum and his cast of characters to meet Queen Victoria.

January 27, 2018

Why is That Church in a Music Video?

I’ve written before about how I was involved in music during my high school and college years. When I was a senior in high school, I formed a barbershop quartet with three of my friends. I did the same thing in college. While my high school quartet had a limited number of performances, my college quartet performed at several community functions and events.

I’ve always been a big fan of quartets and other a cappella groups. One of the groups that I currently pay attention to is Home Free, an American a cappella singing group that consists of five young men. Home Free got its big break in 2013, when it won a competition on the NBC television show, The Sing-Off. The grand prize that year was $100,000, plus a recording contract with Sony.

Last month, Home Free performed at the Peoria Civic Center. Georgette and I attended the show with some friends. My favorite Home Free song is How Great Thou Art. The music video of the song is posted on YouTube. The video has generated more than 13 million views.

In the video, the group is standing on a hill that is surrounded by several hundred acres of land. The scenery in the background includes cascading slopes and mountains. The beautiful harmony of the group is matched by the gorgeous land that surrounds them. The only building in the video is a small country church, which shows up in a field near the end of the video.

I have the video saved on an iPad that sits on a stand on my bathroom counter. Ordinarily, when I’m in the bathroom in the morning getting ready for work, I use the iPad to play educational, self-improvement, or religious recordings. In the evening while I’m getting ready for bed, I usually use the iPad to listen to music.

My son, Harry, and his wife Kathryn live about five minutes away from where my wife and I live. Because they live so close to us, they’re able to stop by our house to visit on a regular basis. Whenever they stop by for a visit, their two oldest sons, Harry and Liam, immediately start looking around the house for me. Harry is 5 years old and Liam is 3 years old.

January 20, 2018

Why Is It So Hard To Practice Patience?

It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while, I complain directly to God about something that’s bothering me. Last week, my frustration with an ongoing issue finally got to the point that one of my thoughts went up to God in the form of a question: Why can’t you just have an angel appear to me in a dream and tell me what to do? I’m tired of playing these cat and mouse games where I’m always struggling to try to figure out what I should do.

Of course, I immediately felt guilty about addressing God in this manner. Who did I think I was? A prophet? King Solomon? Saint Joseph?

But I get extremely frustrated at times, because while I want to do the right thing, I often feel as though I need specific direction from God. Although I’ve always been good at solving problems, I don’t like it when I have to wait on God to reveal pieces of the puzzle that are needed to solve the problem I’m struggling with.

I’m convinced that one of the primary reasons God operates this way is to teach me the virtues of humility and patience. If He sent an angel to tell me how to solve my problems, I wouldn’t need to learn and practice humility and patience. I would simply wait for instructions from the angel and then take credit for being a special child of God.

Most of us fail to realize that in order to really be humble, we must first suffer humiliations. And we must accept whatever humiliations that come our way with love and gratitude. While humility is the most important of all virtues, the virtue of patience has to be among the top five virtues. Why? Because it’s so difficult to put into practice.

Last week, I wrote about the three grades of patience, which are, to bear difficulties without interior complaint, to use hardships to make progress in virtue, and to desire the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accept them with spiritual joy. It would be impossible to put the three grades of patience into practice if we were to try to do it without God’s assistance.

January 13, 2018

The Difficulties That Arise After Years of Marriage

Last week, I wrote about a couple who was having financial problems because of the husband’s inability to work. Here’s what I wrote at the end of the article:
I’ve been a lawyer for more than 35 years. I’ve dealt with hundreds of couples who, after years of marriage, are facing an unexpected crisis. You would think that after being married for 20 or more years, married couples would be more patient and forgiving of each other than they were when they were newly married. But that’s usually not the case. The fact that they’ve spent years together seems to somehow inhibit their ability to practice real patience and forgiveness toward each other.

Instead of being patient and forgiving, they’re extremely frustrated and angry with each other. Why?

When couples get married, there’s always great hope for the future. With that hope comes the expectation that they will be able to work out all their problems. There is also an expectation that they will someday be able to overcome whatever bad habits or deficiencies they have.

Unfortunately, as each year passes, nothing really changes. Husbands and wives stop making the effort that is required to please each other. It’s almost as if they’ve been through too much together. They’re worn out and exhausted. They’ve run out of patience.

I’ve written before about a saying that is common in the business world: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” This saying stands for the proposition that the more familiar you are with a person, the more contemptible that person becomes.

Over time, as people in the business world become more familiar with each other, their defects and weaknesses become more evident. They are exposed to and become tired of each other’s excuses, bad habits, broken promises, lack of respect, mood swings, angry outbursts, and lack of appreciation. Before long, their patience wears thin, and the slightest infraction causes them to treat each other with contempt.

January 6, 2018

Something Married Couples Face After Years of Marriage

Last week, I had an appointment with a man — I’ll call him Jim — who hired me eight months ago to represent him on a personal injury case. As usual, Jim brought his wife with him to the appointment. I’ve met with Jim and his wife on four occasions over the past eight months. Jim was injured when a large truck disregarded a stop sign and collided with his vehicle in the middle of an intersection. Because of his injuries, Jim has not been able to return to work. He’s been without an income for eight months.

Jim and his wife are in their late 30s. He’s a skilled tradesman who has been a member of a trade union for more than 20 years. Jim has never had any problem finding work, primarily because he is willing to travel to other states to work, when necessary. Since the accident, Jim’s financial situation has become progressively worse. He has had to borrow money to support his wife and children, and he also recently cashed in part of his retirement, so he could keep up with his bills.

Prior to the accident, Jim’s wife did not work outside the home. A few months after the accident, she felt that she had no other choice but to get a job, so she applied for and secured a job at a local business.

Each of the times I’ve met with Jim, he’s been upbeat and happy. He’s an intelligent, good-natured person who likes to talk and tell stories. His wife has come to all his appointments and has always been courteous and friendly — until last week.

Last week, when I entered the conference room to meet with them, Jim was the same as he’s always been, but his wife was quiet and had an angry look on her face. Her demeanor indicated to me that she and Jim either argued on the way to my office, or she was fed up with his situation.

I talked to Jim about his condition and he indicated to me that he was still receiving physical therapy three times a week. He said that he probably wasn’t going to be able to return to work for at least another 10 to 12 months. He told me that before the accident, he worked at the same trade for 20 years.

December 30, 2017

What Did Mary Really Know?

Every year during the Christmas Season, there are articles published that are critical of the song, Mary Did You Know. As expected, in early December, Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, published an article with the title, “The Problem With ‘Mary Did You Know.’” In the article, Fr. McTeigue criticized the following lyrics: “Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new? This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.”

Fr. McTeigue’s complaint was that the lyrics imply that Mary was a sinner who needed to be delivered from her sins. This is contrary to Catholic doctrine which states that Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin from the moment of her immaculate conception, which allowed her to be a pure vessel in which the Son of God could be conceived and born without ever having come into contact with sin.

Another article that was published before Christmas stated that the song implies that Mary was not fully aware that she was the mother of God. The article went on to say that anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Mary possessed knowledge that she was the Mother of God, not only because of the Angel Gabriel’s announcement (Luke 1:26-56), but also because of her “song of praise” — known as “The Magnificat” — which indicated that she was aware of her role in the salvation of mankind. Here are the first two sentences of the Magnificat:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his handmaid. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for he who is mighty, has done great things for me and holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)

Whenever I read anything about the life of Mary, I think about a book that I read in the early 1980s, while I was in law school. The title of the book was, The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary. The content for the book was taken from the recorded visions of the well-known 19th-century Catholic mystic, Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 – 1824).

December 16, 2017

Hollywood Predators and Our Consent-Based Culture

I recently counted the sexual predators who have been exposed over the past three months who are associated with the mainstream media and the movie and television industries. All of them are men. The number of men who have been outed over the past three months exceeds three dozen.

One of the men who was exposed by the woman he abused is Matthew Weiner, the creator of the award-winning television series, Mad Men. The show premiered in 2007 and ended in 2015, after seven seasons and 92 episodes. During that time, the show won numerous awards, including Golden Globes and Emmys, for its “historical authenticity” and “visual style.”

Mad Men was known as a “period show,” and was based in the early 1960s. The show was about a group of Madison Avenue advertising men. Even though the story line of Mad Men took place in the 1960s, the primary content of the show was centered on adulterous and licentious behavior.

In 2010, I watched one episode of Mad Men and it was obvious to me that like a majority of the modern-day movies and television shows, the men in the show routinely found themselves in situations where they met beautiful young women and then ended up in bed with them the same day they met.

Like the other men who create and produce these types of shows, the creator of Mad Men produced shows that were centered on his own fantasies. He simply had actors play out those fantasies on television.

With the outing of the more than three dozen men in media, television, and the movies, it should be no surprise to anyone that they were simply living out the fantasies that that wrote about — fantasies that always showed men engaging in one-night stands with beautiful young women whom they had only known for a matter of hours.

But the men who got caught went too far. They became animals who used power, intimidation, and force to get their way with women. They should all be charged with crimes and, if convicted, they should be put in prison.

September 30, 2017

The Death of the Playboy

The year was 1970. I was in the eighth grade at St. Mark’s school in Peoria. I remember the day like it was yesterday. One of my classmates — I’ll call him Paul — brought a Polaroid picture to school to show to his friends. Paul and I were the same age — 13 years old. The person in the picture was the girlfriend of Paul’s older brother. She and Paul’s brother were in high school. She was a student at Academy of Our Lady and Paul’s brother was a student at Spalding Institute.

The picture showed the girl lying on a couch with no clothes on. She was facing the camera and was obviously posing for the picture. It was the type of picture you would see in Playboy magazine, and she was behaving like a “Playboy Bunny.” It didn’t take very long before a crowd of boys gathered around Paul to see the picture his brother had taken. Shortly after the crowd gathered, one of our teachers, James Lediger, noticed the crowd and came over to see what was going on.

By the time Paul saw Mr. Lediger, it was too late. Lediger had already seen that there was a picture and ordered the boy to turn it over to him. Lediger immediately tore up the picture into small pieces, and then asked Paul where he had obtained the picture. Then he gave a stern warning to Paul that if he ever brought another picture to school, he would be disciplined.

That incident happened 47 years ago. At the time, there were only two ways for consumers to get a photograph printed. The first way was to use a Polaroid camera, which printed the picture directly from the camera. The second was to use a camera that had film inside. In order to get pictures printed, the film had to be developed by a company that was in the business of developing and printing photographs. Back then, none of the consumer-based film processing companies were willing to print nude photographs.

October 22, 2016

The Real Reason for the Breakup of Brad and Angelina

brad-and-angelina-weddingThey were known as the “Golden Couple.” But last month, the gold turned to dust when Angelina Jolie, the queen of the Golden Couple, filed for divorce against the king, Brad Pitt. They lived together for 10 years before they got married in 2014. They are the parents of three adopted children and three biological children, ranging in ages from eight to fifteen.

Their two youngest children — Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon — are twins. After their birth in 2008, People magazine paid Brad and Angelina $14 million for the exclusive rights to publish the first photographs of their twin babies. The money reportedly went to a foundation created by the couple to help children around the world.

Brad and Angelina were like a royal couple who could do no wrong. Their public life was closely scripted and managed in such a way that there was never any negative publicity about them. Whenever they were seen in public, they smiled and appeared as though they were deeply in love with each other.

They were also very wealthy. Their combined wealth has been estimated to be more than $400 million. They own homes in Hollywood, Santa Barbara, and New Orleans. They also own a 1,200-acre country estate and vineyard in the South of France. When the divorce was filed, they were renting an eight-bedroom mansion in London that included a cinema, spa, game room, and indoor and outdoor pools. The rent for the mansion was $21,000 a month.

So what happened to the couple who appeared to have everything anyone would ever want?

They got stuck in the misery stage of their marriage and were unable to escape or otherwise evolve to the final stage of marriage: the awakening stage.

According to the Catholic organization Retrouvaille, there are four stages of marriage: (1) romance, (2) disillusionment, (3) misery, and (4) awakening. Most married couples never make it to the fourth stage.

September 3, 2016

Forced to Testify in a Deposition

DepositionOne of my early mentors — I’ll call him James — was a well-known trial lawyer in Peoria. I met James in January 1983, the same month that I opened my law practice. He started out by giving me research and writing projects. Before long, I was covering his court hearings and helping him prepare cases for trial.

Several of James’ opponents had a nickname for him — “the gentle interrogator.” The name described him perfectly. Whenever James cross-examined a witness, he was a perfect gentleman. Because he came across as a kind, gentlemanly lawyer, most witnesses would let their guard down and reveal information that no other lawyer would be able to get from them.

I rarely saw James get angry. He was always cool, calm, and in control.

I envied James because he had qualities that I lacked. More often than not, when I questioned a witness, I would get irritated. If a witness was evasive or failed to cooperate, instead of gently leading the witness in the direction that I wanted the witness to go, I would become hostile and aggressive. My behavior would cause the witness to become more evasive and defensive.

I thought about James last week when I sat through a 3-hour deposition of one of my clients.

A deposition is a court-related procedure in which a witness or party to a case is questioned by the lawyers who are involved in the case. Depositions are ordinarily scheduled to take place in a lawyer’s office with a court reporter present. After the deposition, the court reporter prepares a transcript of the testimony of the witness and sends it to each of the lawyers.

At the beginning of a deposition, the person who is to be questioned is placed under oath to tell the truth. The lawyers for each party in the case are then allowed to take turns asking the witness questions. The questions must be relevant to the case, or designed to lead to relevant information.

October 24, 2015

The Sin That Infected Our Entire Society

Sin PatentLast week I wrote about how the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, had signed a bill into law that legalized doctor-assisted suicide. When I found out about the new law, I thought about the deep-rooted thistles I had to dig up from the pasture next to my parents’ home when I was a teenager.

There was nothing good about those thistles. They multiplied quickly and within a few years had taken over the pasture. No person or animal could touch them because the stems and leaves were covered with sharp, thorn-like points that would inflict pain when the skin was pricked. To eradicate each thistle, we had to dig up the entire root, which was 12 to 18 inches deep.

The assisted-suicide laws that are beginning to pop up in various states are going to soon overtake the country just like the thistles overtook our pasture. The new laws feed off the same deep-seated root that fed the same-sex marriage laws that quickly overtook our nation and are now stinging and pricking those who dare to oppose them.

The same root that has fed the same-sex marriage and assisted-suicide movements has fed all modern-day evil movements, including the sexual revolution that ushered in widespread premarital sex, divorce, adultery, and abortion. All of these evils are treacherous thistles that now plague our society. Every year, these thistles spread and spawn new permutations of evil, some of which include:

•  Surrogate Mothers — Women who act as incubators for a human ovum (“egg”) that has been fertilized by male sperm in a “dish” before being implanted into the womb of the “mother.”       Prior to implantation, several eggs are fertilized and the most promising and robust fertilized egg is selected while all the others are discarded. Each fertilized egg that is discarded constitutes the termination of a human life. The sperm that is used to fertilize the eggs can be purchased from or donated by any man chosen by the parties who are involved.

August 29, 2015

Just A Nice Guy

ManipulationIt’s been a couple of years since my three youngest daughters — Mary, Christine, and Teresa — stopped describing boys to me in the way they had always described them. Before they stopped, whenever they talked about a new boy they had met and liked, they focused on how nice he was. They would say, “He’s such a nice guy. You can’t help but like him.”

That particular description of their newfound friends really irritated me. Every time one of them mentioned how nice a guy was I responded by saying, “Eighty percent of the guys in prison are nice guys. The other 20 percent are mean or evil. The 80 percent who are nice have other critically important character flaws that disqualify them from further consideration as a boyfriend.”

At first, the girls thought I was being cynical, negative, and overprotective of them. Each time one of them talked about how nice a guy was, I reminded them that being nice wasn’t a sufficient enough reason to consider developing a relationship.

At one point, I explained to the girls that during the 1980s and 1990s, I represented several young men who were charged with crimes. Eighty percent of them were nice guys. They simply couldn’t control their behavior. Many of them were addicted to alcohol, drugs, or pornography. Most of them were inherently dishonest and blamed everyone but themselves for their problems. All of them were experts at making excuses for their behavior, always finding a reason why they were not responsible for their actions.

After several months of warnings about how they needed to be careful not to let their guard down just because a guy came across as being nice, my daughters stopped describing guys as being “nice.” At least around me they stopped. Instead, they talked about other positive traits that the guys possessed.

May 30, 2015

The Right Way to Begin a Marriage

Marriage CeremonyIn June, Georgette and I will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary. We were married on June 15, 1980. Prior to our wedding, I asked my Uncle Harry LaHood if he would sing at our wedding Mass. He graciously accepted by telling me that he would be honored to sing at our wedding.

One of the songs that we chose for our wedding was “Ave Maria,” which was performed when Georgette and I walked over to say a prayer in front of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the rehearsal the evening before our wedding, Uncle Harry told me that when Georgette and I walked over to the statue, he wanted us to stand in front of the statue until he was finished with the song. He told me that it was not appropriate for us to turn and walk back to the altar before the song was finished. I was grateful that he gave me specific instructions as to what his expectations were for Georgette and me.

Earlier this month, my daughter Laura got married. She selected several members of our extended family to sing at her wedding. Prior to the wedding, Laura asked Uncle Harry if he would sing the “Our Father.” When she asked him to sing, as he did for me, he told her that he would be honored. So 35 years after he sang at my wedding, at the age of 81, my uncle sang at my daughter’s wedding.

Prior to Laura’s wedding, I told her the same thing that my uncle told me 35 years ago — that she and her husband should stand in front of the statue of our Lady until the song was finished. I also gave her a prayer and asked her to recite the prayer with her husband while they were standing in front of the statue. The prayer was similar to the prayer my Mom asked me to recite with Georgette when we were married.

The title of the prayer I gave to Laura is, “Consecration of our marriage to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Laura and her husband recited the prayer while they were facing the statue of our Lady. No one was able to hear the prayer because my daughter Maria and small choir sang a song in honor of our Lady while the prayer was being said.

March 28, 2015

Romance, Love & Chick Flicks

A Walk To RememberIf you’re a fan of romance novels or chick flicks, you’ve probably heard of Nicholas Sparks. He’s a Catholic novelist, screen writer, and producer who has published 17 romantic novels, nine of which have been made into movies. Three of his most popular movies were Message in a Bottle, The Notebook, and A Walk to Remember.

Sparks has been referred to as “The King of the Love Story.” Despite his reputation and popularity as a romance novelist, earlier this year, Sparks announced that he and his wife of 25 years had separated. They have five children ranging in age from 12 to 23.

You may have heard of John Gray and his wife, Beverly De Angelis. At one time, they were both heralded as relationship experts. Gray wrote the best-selling books, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and Men, Women and Relationships. De Angelis wrote the best-selling books, Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know and How To Make Love All The Time: Make Love Last a Lifetime. After obtaining fame and fortune as relationship gurus, Gray and De Angelis divorced and went their separate ways.

Maybe you’ve heard of Mark Victor Hansen, the co-creator of the best-selling “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series of books. Hansen held himself out to be a dedicated and loving husband who frequently read poetry to his wife and renewed his marriage vows every year. His loving devotion to his wife came to an abrupt end on his 26th wedding anniversary when he told her that he no longer loved her. Hansen’s wife was devastated and was later quoted as saying, “I never thought this would happen to us. We worked on our relationship.”

If you’re over the age of 50, you probably remember the Ann Landers daily advice column that appeared in newspapers across the country. Although Ann Landers was the woman that Americans looked to for advice on marriage and relationships, in 1975 she shocked her readers by running a column that announced she was getting a divorce from her husband. In that column she admitted, “The lady with all the answers does not know the answer to this one.” I remember the impact the column had on me when I read it. I think it had a significant impact on most of her readers. They genuinely felt sorry for her.

October 25, 2014

A Hazmat Suit for Devout Catholics

hazmatsuitBOO!  Since Halloween is quickly approaching, I thought I would write about a deadly disease that’s scarier than the Ebola virus — a disease that has infected hundreds of millions of people worldwide.  While everyone should be afraid of this disease, very few people seem to care about it.  If they had full knowledge of its devastating consequences, they would be petrified and would wear the equivalent of a hazmat suit to protect themselves from the disease.

I’ll talk about the disease in a moment, but first I want to tell you about a movie I saw in the early 1970s, while I was in high school.  The name of the movie was The Picture of Dorian Gray.

During the 1970s, the only way we could watch a movie was when it was shown in a theater or on television.  Back then, we didn’t have video or DVD players because they had not yet been invented.   We also didn’t have cable or satellite TV.  All we had were the three major networks — ABC, NBC, and CBS.  Like most other classic movies, The Picture of Dorian Gray was shown on television about once a year.

I watched the movie because my mom told me that if I ever had a chance, I should watch it.  I was intrigued by what she said about the movie, so I made sure to watch it when it was shown on television.

The Picture of Dorian Gray was a horror-drama film that was originally released in 1945 by MGM Studios.  It was based on a novel that was written in 1890 by Oscar Wilde.  In the movie, Dorian Gray, a young, good-looking, wealthy man who lives in London, poses for a portrait that is painted by his friend, Basil Hallward.

When a friend of Basil’s, Lord Henry Wotton, sees the portrait, he convinces Dorian that he should do whatever it takes to always stay young and handsome.  Dorian makes a prayer-like statement that he would give up his soul if he could always remain as young and handsome as he is in the portrait.