February, 1999

...And That's My OpinionŠ

By Sandy Goldman

The Rogers Park Community Curmudgeon


Bill & Monica and Other Things

At a recent dinner with some friends of 50+ years, I asked, "Who does Bill Clinton make you think of? Instantly they all said, "Eric!"

"Eric" (not his real name) was a schoolmate of ours at Lakeview High School in the late '40s. He was tall, muscular and very athletic. He was not particularly good looking, but he had a dreamy masculine look that girls found irresistible. In fact, in later years, my school friends, now much older, mothers and grandmothers all would confess that they found Eric intriguing, compelling, inviting, and most of all, sensual.

Those of us who are male found Eric enviable. Eric was a legend in his own time. His batting average (hits to attempts) was far, far above average. His experiences were beyond our hopes or capabilities. We talked and hoped; Eric did. He could have written the for High School Students and added a few new things.

Eventually we all graduated. Eric went no further. He married and he had children, but his roving eye and his need for conquest never diminished.

He divorced and remarried several more times. He was always out there at the batting cage. The funny thing was that as he grew older, his playing field grew younger. His sleepy eyes continued to captivate and arouse. Although he had trouble finding a home field, his batting average stayed high.

Some reported having seen Eric recently here and there, wherever the game is still played. Still swinging; still with a .

Bill and Monica: John Profumo and Mandy Rice-Davies, Eric and whoever. It's nothing new! That lifestyle) has been around forever! There have always been boys who never grew to be men and there have always been silly, giggly opportunistic girls willing to display their underwear and be a .

Other Things

After Eric, some of us went on to college. Now and again we would "step to the plate and take a few swings". While our interest in that game remained (once in a while we'd hear about Eric - he never changed), our college life led us into more cerebral pursuits.

One of which were all-night philosophical discussions, some would say bull sessions. Never about batting averages, but about important life beliefs.

One in particular was the matter of the death sentence. In my young and very liberal days I was against it. Not for any ethical, moral or religious belief as were some of my co-thinkers. But because, I pondered, what if the verdict turned out wrong. Then what?

Except for the most horrific crimes of absolute certitude, imprisonment was better than death. The latter was an irreversible action. Should the verdict be found erroneous there could be no retrial. My philosophical opponents had great faith that the police and judicial system could do no wrong nor ever be in error.

I could and did make exceptions for the John Wayne Gacys, the s, Richard Specks, the Juan Coronas and other evil killers of our times. Mine was not, you see, a moral issue vs. the death penalty. Mine was an issue of guilt and possible innocence when guilt was less then unequivocally clear.

As I grew older and more to the right side of the philosophical continuum my ideas changed. Too many gang killings; too many rapes; too many child molestations; too many motorcycle outlaws; too many senseless acts of rage: sexual, domestic, and on the road; too much wanton disregard for the lives of others; too much lack of civility.

I found myself adopting the old western cowboy ideas of "string 'em up" and the new concept of "we're better off without 'em".

I stayed that way for some time although I must admit it often felt uncomfortable.

Now with the recent headlines of death row reprieves and the formerly guilty found provably innocent; now with new forensic tools available for better discovery; with astonishing revelations of official and prosecutorial misconduct; I've come all the way around to the thinking of my twenties.

Let it be clear that those guilty by virtue of solid confessions or irrefutable evidence should be sentenced to death. For in those cases that is the only just solution. In other cases, however, better two in prison that one dead in error.

I wonder if "Eric" ever thinks about these things.

And Other Things

Finally, just as Wally Phillips returns to the air and normalcy begins to prevail THEY take away Frangos!!! Is there no sanity? A pox on Dayton-Hudson (parent company of Marshall Fields) for making this decision. Shame on Mayor Daley, the Chicago Plan Commission and the City Council for not allowing Dayton Hudson the right to make what they consider to be a sound business decision, albeit an unpopular one.

There is, you know, "The Golden Rule". The man who has the gold - rules.

...And that's my opinion.

And I'm Sandy Goldman

Send me your e-mail address or those of others who would be interested and I'll add them to my rapidly growing distribution list.


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