I am sitting outside on this partly cloudy beautiful South Florida Sunday morning. It is February and the tree with green leaves and purple undersides is just beginning to initiate its annual firework display of flowers. I looked up its name on the Internet so that I can look intelligent to you. It is officially Clerodendrum Quadriloculare, described as dark and sultry. For those of us who can’t quite pronounce or remember the Latin name, it is also called Shooting Star or Starburst. You can prune it so it is tree like with one trunk or let it grow like a bush and watch it spread. I let it do both. That is until my HOA decides it is intruding on their right of way cutting it back from their side of the fence. But that’s a different story.
It is also Super Bowl Sunday. I thought the skit on SNL last night was hysterical, pitting patriots (small “p”) of Boston against the Mid-Atlantic colonials of Philadelphia. It is Philly cheese steaks against New England clam chowder – tough choices for heart-healthy diet. Not that I am religious about it – I look for any excuse, any holiday, any occasion to eat a Hebrew National Pigs in Blankets.
Tonight will be no exception. I guess I am just not a purist. I guess I just don’t believe in strict and fierce absolutes. I guess I am willing to admit that I am not always right and I am not always consistent. And that’s ok. And if I don’t follow football rigorously the rest of the year but want to pretend to be a loyal Patriot’s fan today, I am entitled. Emerson said, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
And so I will sit in front of the TV tonight and route for my “home” team. I am participating in a national phenomenon hyped by the NFL and NBC. By the time some of you read this, we will know who the stars of the evening are: the commercials, the QBs, Timberlake or just us – all of us brought together, all of us setting aside our differences and tribalism, just enjoying this modern gladiator spectacle in living color.
But I don’t want to end without coming back to my starburst tree. It is a marker for me. It indicates a fundamental truth of nature. We are destined for growth. We are born to flower. Exploding stars of red and white petals set against a blue endless sky are in our genes. It gives me hope that someone in Washington will see this too. This nation is too good for games. This nation has too much potential to be held hostage to politics. I want to be proud of those who govern and lead me. And if it all is a game: Then play it with honest referees and stick to the rules. Make me proud you are in my backyard.