Mary Schmich, Ahh, Le Naif, but She’s Still My Favorite

by Bill Maranda

This was indeed the very first time I have ever set her article aside. I actually didnt want to read it. Seven sentences into her story I put it down. I could see where she was going with this, a sin, and a mortal sin at that.

I was in total disbelief. This should never have happened. Never!

Typically her work is exemplary, constantly teasing, offering hope to a City of fools as she composes these silly little human-interest stories. Each one reads like a poem, immaculate composition, a gem of a journalist in a sometimes-soured newspaper league.

Best of all her printed word screams of an innocence of City life I could only imagine reading about in a book or seeing in a movie, providing an intense auspice, pathetically empathizing pity on the poor souls of the City that the real City people ignore with such great regularity.

Always being the compassionate optimist, serving as the insightful intercity newspaper columnist.

She dutifully searches for answers to Big City problems that confound the devoutly religious and secularly righteous. The type of societal problems the business world and the political packs frequently neglect. Always hoping to offer a remedy for the Citys much ill willed nature with a tactful sensitivity not found in the real City people.

She defines tenacity.

Her warm words tenderly pestering us, planting the seed pressing us to make this world a better place. Shes so sure we can, as she does this for me.

Liberal and liberated, so much the yuppie-tuppie style of imaginary urbanite.

I always thought thats why she joined us here. She wanted to help us, good, solid guidance that real City people sure could use. But even more so, among her aspirations was to become one of us not fully understanding this is something that could never be. Found to be an Orthodox concept. You were either born into it or you werent. Sorry, no converts here.

A Northsider, Im sure she is. Must be.

But shes still my favorite.

This past thirty years has seen the north side of Chicago turned into the likes of the southern counties of California, where everybody that lives there came from someplace else. The locals that were born in these two places couldnt take the nauseating nuances of these newcomers. So they left.

Big Pig Politicians refer to these Chicagoans as the white-liberal-north as they are more willing to choose cause over clout. Suburbanites, out-of-towners, Big-City Wannabes now staff the north side. They came after college looking for excitement and then stayed to raise the kids in a diversified environment.

How touching. How sweet.

However, the true inner-City range of a mass assortment will mysteriously elude them in this section of town. All the real City people live elsewhere. They could never afford the posh affair.

Shes only in print a few days each week. Sunday positively for sure, I always like that one the best. Easy chair, fresh coffee, Sunday does it for me.

But my favorite one has committed a writers sin, a writers mortal sin, in defiance of what is good for mankind, bold insubordination defying the compliance of all that knowledge and intellect may hold.

Shes so friendly to me, at least in print anyway. On those few workdays taking me away from my stupid, stupid job adding a precious light at the end of my work tunnel. Creating the definitive fine point of relaxation for me a couple of days each week. Suspending the monotony of this mindless stupid, stupid drone work.

She reminds me ever so much of my little sister.

I was full grown by the time our parents had amassed a small fortune to move out of the City to north suburban Winnetka. My little sister was the little one not having the familiarity of the sweaty inner City like her older brothers. Little Buddy we called her, named after Gilligan.

City kids call the suburban North Shore kids cake-eaters, as opposed to the bread winners of the City. Their parents, grandparents and great grandparents, as far back as time would reach they never had to work a day in their life. The Midwest version of the East Coast Blue Bloods. My sister grew with them, went to school with them and then couldnt wait to move into the safe part of the City with them after college. Encapsulated into one of the various inner City vacuum zones, were the police will protect them from the real City. Crime actually gets a response, unlike the rest of the City.

Certainly thats why shes my favorite, so much like my Little Buddy.

Shes so well educated. So well traveled, so well rounded, and so, so much the caring, commiserate cosmopolitan, the proverbial straight out of the box urban yuppie, the ever so true to life do-gooder. As if a friendly smile, polite manner and stylish dress were all that it takes to get by in this City. The ones real City people gently agree with due courtesy, then walk away wondering how long theyll last.

Thats funny, how long theyll last.

Thats fittingly funny.

Thats just what she said about some out-of-towner in her newspaper column last week. Bless her heart, always thinking of others.

Yes, last week, now yes, that one was a really good one. I read that story three times. It was about some greenhorn to the big City. She played up the been there, done that angle, audaciously attempting to identify with this new faux proletariat. It was a very courteous interpretation, taking on a voyeuristic approach to a recent arrival, scanning the interest of this young girl in pursuit of a coveted, hard to get Starbucks job. I read it at lunch, on the train home and then again that evening, placated in my favorite chair with a ZIMNE PIWO. (Its a City thing, she wouldnt understand.)

The next day I sent it to a dozen close friends. This being a story I could truly identify with, as I went to a small town college nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Mountains are undoubtedly one of Americas best-kept secret treasures.

I loved it there. I tried to assimilate. But as much as I tried I couldnt be one of them anymore than she can be one of us.

Ying. Yang. Thats why shell always be my favorite.

The punky writer is just like my little sister. The way she has matured into this inexperienced, innocent, so naive I want to be a Big City-Person type of gal. Gal, oh yes, gal, as shes from The Old South.

Even though Savannah is in Georgia, Savannah is not in the South like the rest of Georgia. Savannah quietly holds itself to that privileged standard, still considering itself The Old South, an elegant style of life thats long been forgotten in most of the South. Blown away, Gone with the Wind, as they say in the movie.

Savannahs up-to-date prevailing city-chic gracefulness is found in other good movies, too, as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Forest Gump and The Great Santini also come to mind.

Savannah is a decent size town but once youve been there for a week or so youll see. Youll agree its clearly not a real City. A pedestrian park unwraps every quarter mile with fountains, statues and many open benches. Wild flowers grow freely, Grecian style. The homeless are civil and bathe. Lunch is eaten sitting down, with fork and knife no less. And they actually change Mayors once in a while. Its civilized, inhabited by kind, polite, well manner people, genteel people. Not real City people. Not like here.

Savannahs refined, cultured and elegant. Civilized, just like in the movies.

Which is why I set the paper down. My favorite one was starting to tell the in-depth aspects of a hot brand new movie. A sin, a genuine sin to give away that much of a movie. Its supposed to be a really good movie, too, which is what adds the mortal to the sin.

And if I dont tell her who will? Shell never know how wrong she was. Thats what friends are for; bad breathe, bad hair, bad timing, bad column!

Shes my favorite, my favorite friend in print.

She talks to me on the net. Which is the reason why I like her best of all, best of all my entire other regular authors. She talks to me. I send her a brief note, a few comments, a joke, a silly short story or a dumb idea.

And then she talks to me. Briefly. But she talks to me none-the-less.

Shes my favorite, lucky for her.

Ill certainly have to give her another chance on Sunday.

After my morning swim Ill kick back on the couch with the paper, coffee and a bagel. And then shell talk to me. Shell talk to me, suspending my cynical City soul with that fresh, innocent voice. Then the Sunday magic will transpire me, enchanting me like it does every Sunday, as her work always happens upon me in this odd, peculiar manner. Shell begin to alter my perversely jaded, slanted perception of the place I love so much.

The milieu of my life I loved so much to live.

The place I left so long ago to live in a place that I surely dont belong.

Making me want to go back.

Giving real City people hope. Things can get better. Taking me away from thoughts of Monday and my stupid, stupid job. Drone work. I buzz off leaving my safe haven, the beautiful sanctity of the Palos Forest for that sultry, sweaty City five days each week.


I miss MY CITY.

And I hate my job.

Which is why I love her work so, those pure silicone Southern thoughts.

Sunday, yes on Sunday, this Sunday two days away. She will be the definitive fine point of relaxation for me.

I could never stay mad at her.

After all, Shes my favorite.

Oui, le bonheur

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