et alia: S#$t my family says (and does)…Installment ??

It was cold and windy on Tuesday…a textbook Winnie the Pooh “blustery day”…and I was idly pondering if Richard Armitage pumps his own gas as I stood at the pump with my hair blowing in my face.  (I concluded that unless he has someone to do it for him, he must since “full service” gas stations are pretty much obsolete, in the US at least)  Fuel loaded and gas cap secured, I wandered into the mini market to stock up for Twelve Hour Tuesday.  The following is a post to my RL Facebook feed recounting the events…

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Groucho Marx glasses avatar is me….

Good grief.  I probably should have been more mortified than I was – I can only imagine how my toilet paper tail must have been blowing about in all that wind at the gas pump!  I’d like to also point out the loving reactions of my family and friends…

Helicopter Beanie is a friend from school

Red Fez is my cousin (more like a sister)

Pink Heart is a dear friend

And it get’s better…as Red Fez Cousin points out…Pink Heart Pal is an inquiring mind…

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I decided to tell the story myself to spare Red Fez Cousin the stomach cramps she would surely suffer as she laughs herself into spasms every time she tells this story…for the last three DECADES  😉

What can I say?  It’s a gift!!

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“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

It’s true, and not in a completely destroyed,heading off to an asylum, Blanche DuBois fashion.  (This of course is the iconic final line spoken by Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.)

No, I mean it in a completely literal sense.  Yesterday I was driving home when the battery light came on in my mommy-van.  Not good.  I hoped that I could nurse it to the side of the road, but as Murphy’s Law would have it, I was in the left turn lane and the engined stalled in the middle of the intersection.  Momentum carried me 3/4 of the way through, but she was definitely going to require some pushing to get out of the middle of the street and to the curb.  Crud!  Dropping it into neutral, I climbed out, pushing with one hand and steering with the other.  Mommy-vans are great for hauling kids and gear, but they are a b!$#h to get moving from a dead stop.

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Fortunately, I didn’t have to do it alone since two separate gentlemen pulled over and jumped out to help me.  Before I could even thank them properly, they had returned to their cars and gone about their business, as if to say, “It was no trouble, happy to help.”

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It’s just this kind of unexpected kindness that SpReAd the Love is looking to foster and multiply.  I could have pushed it myself, but my day was made a bit easier by two complete strangers who stopped what they were doing to help me.  (And also by my neighbor who came to fetch me when I needed a ride home.).  Kindness is out there, but if you can’t find it, just do it – you’ll be amazed how it comes back to you!  😉

Virtutes Romanae: Richard Armitage and Clementia

An abundance of CLEMENTIA... Source

An abundance of CLEMENTIA…
Source

Although Richard Armitage exhibits them readily, kindness/indulgence/mildness/forbearance are not exactly qualities that most people would associate with the bellicose Romans.  Nevertheless, CLEMENTIA was counted among the VIRTUTES ROMANAE, the qualities to be aspired to by all citizens.  The closest English cognate to CLEMENTIA is clemency or mercy.  The unlikely poster boy for this aspect of CLEMENTIA was none other than Julius Caesar.

"Chiaramonti Caesar"  Vatican Museum

“Chiaramonti Caesar”
Vatican Museum

Incoming…another historical side trip…

Julius Caesar, the conqueror of Gaul, the dictator of Rome, the last nail in the coffin of the flailing Republic, started out as impoverished but ambitious Roman aristocrat.   A man of tremendous political and military acumen, he maneuvered himself into immense power first by allying with the voting power of the working classes, despite his elite pedigree, and then by forming an “unholy trinity” with two other ambitious men, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Marcus Licinius Crassus.  The three pooled their resources in order to pull an end run around the beleaguered and corrupt political process of the last stage of the Republic.  A power play that would serve their individual purposes well.  As happens with alliances of ambitious and power hungry people, this one ended up in civil war in 48 BC.  Guess who came out on top?  

Caesar was not the first individual to seize sole power in 1st century BC Rome…in fact, he had run afoul of Sulla as a very young man.  Evidently Caesar learned something from the experience.  Lucius Cornelius Sulla had cut a bloody path through the Roman elite, purging any and all political opponents in order to “clean up” the corruption in the government.  By contrast, in the wake of the civil war, Caesar famously offered full pardon – Clemency – to anyone who had fought against him.  He went one step further and included many of his former enemies in high positions within his dictatorship (this turned out rather badly for Caesar in the end obviously)  The actual sincerity of Caesar’s mercy has long been suspect, but it served it’s purpose in that whether the pardoned elites believed it sincere or not, the common people of Rome – Caesar’s power source – certainly did…especially after the consecration of a temple of CLEMENTIA CAESARIS in 44BC.  

So, CLEMENTIA certainly has a famous instance of association with mercy and clemency, which actually seems to have slanted how the term has cognated into modern English usage.  In Latin however, this word appears much more commonly with a slightly different meaning related to indulgence, forbearance, mildness and kindness…or so says the literature on the Roman Virtues.  I was skeptical, since it fit my purposes almost too nicely, so I looked it up via the PERSEUS PROJECT:

There in black and white (and blue hyperlink) www.perseus.tufts.edu

There it is in black and white (and blue hyperlink)
www.perseus.tufts.edu

As you can plainly see, the entry for definition II of CLEMENTIA shows that this sense of the word appears quite commonly among prose writers…especially with writers like Cicero and Seneca…who had a great interest in Roman moralia.

CLEMENTIA in progress... Source

CLEMENTIA MISSI
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We have had daily proof in recent weeks that Richard Armitage embodies the Roman Virtue of CLEMENTIA as he graciously appears at the Old Vic stage door night after night…only minutes after what pretty much everyone describes as a physically grueling performance…to indulgently and kindly interact with fans.  Account after account confirms that despite the fact that he must be tired, he is kind and pleasant, signing autographs and taking selfies.  He appears to be very well aware how much it means to fans to meet him, however brief the meeting might be.  CLEMENTIA in the flesh it seems!

 

What a Wonderful World…Spread the Love Update

What a great week of reports coming in from The Crucible previews in London…people are enjoying the play tremendously and those who have met Richard Armitage at the stage door have mentioned many times how happy and sweet he’s been.  There’s another word to describe him…. it just slipped my mind…wait, it will come to me…um frightening?  No, that’s not it.   Oh, I remember now – KIND.  We all have our frightening moments, but Richard Armitage has shown over and over again that he has a tremendous capacity for kindness despite being absolutely terrifying!   And so do you all!   You make it a wonderful world…cue gratuitous Louis Armstrong…

The SpReAd the Love campaign celebrates the kindness each and every one of us does in both in our local communities and just in general.  So far this year we’ve collected reports of 344 kindnesses ranging from monetary gifts and in kind donations of food, clothing, furniture, toiletries, etc., to simple kindnesses like holding a door or helping out a friend.  Our last campaign was specifically directed at extending kindness to children in crisis in honor of Richard Armitage’s role as Chop in the forthcoming film Urban and the Shed Crew during which we collected 144 kindness reports which were matched by a dollar for kindness donations to one of Richard Armitage’s Just Giving Charities

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It doesn’t end there…the same anonymous donor has agreed to underwrite a new speed round of kindness collection.  July 9th is the opening night for regular performances of The Crucible at the Old Vic Theater in London.  I’m shamelessly pasting in Jazzbaby’s fantastic description…you can find it here

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So there you have it.  Thirteen days before July 9th…that’s less than four kindnesses per day throughout all of ArmitageWorld – easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!!  Here, I’ll get us started by giving a shout out to the gentleman with the lovely smile who held open the door for me at the gas station this morning…my day’s a little brighter because of his kindness.  So 47 left anddddd…..GO!

SpReAd the Love Challenge #2 Reminder

Lately, a favorite activity of Mini Me’s is making PowerPoint presentations…something they are doing at school this year I gather.  One of her favorites is titled “Cutie Babies”.

Babies are cuties…it’s true, but the sad fact is that tens of thousands of innocent babies, toddlers, preschoolers, tweens and teens live in conditions that give them very little to smile about.  SpReAd the Love Challenge #2 is coming to a close.  If you haven’t yet been able, consider sharing some love with an at risk child and letting us know about your gift.  I live in an area that is pretty idyllic in the context of the modern world, but not 10 miles from my house, there is building that provides a safe harbor for women who have fled abusive homes…very often with just their children and the clothes on their back.  This agency provides them temporary refuge and helps to outfit them as they find new homes.

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A little bit for body, a little bit for spirit..

I dropped my tiny donation today, and as usual, they were hugely appreciative.  Even this small bit helps.  If you email JazzBaby or me by Sunday, we can include your kindness in the amount that will be matched money for kindness as a donation to Richard Armitage’s Just Giving Charities (several of which are child centered).

I’ll leave you today with a quote from Sitting Bull…renowned among the Lakota Sioux for his commitment to the past, present and future of the Sioux Nation.  His is a timeless sentiment that transcends race or creed:

“Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.”

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