Back in the day, the Oakland Raiders employed a sinister strategy to give themselves a competitive advantage. In the early stages of each game, they would commit penalties on every play. The refs working the games would dutifully call each penalty, slowing the game down to a crawl.
After a while, human nature would kick in. The refs would come to realize that, at the current pace, the game would get over at half-past Wednesday. They might miss their flight home and not get back in time for their Monday-Friday gig as a lawyer or a school administrator. So they'd stop calling stuff and the Raiders would keep on committing penalties, but now without any punishment.
Only a week into the new regime, I'm already getting that feeling of fatigue from the steady stream of nonsense and lies (yes, LIES) coming out of the White House. Why, just yesterday, he brought the executive-order hammer down on Mexicans, people who look like Mexicans, people who are related to Mexicans, and, of course, Muslims. All I could think of was Robin Williams in that Saigon bar, saying, "Come on now, if you kick out the gooks, next thing you have to kick out is the chinks, the spics, the spooks and the kikes. Then all you have left is a couple brain-dead rednecks and what fun would that be?"
I'll admit that it's wearing me down. For about a half a minute back in November, I thought about doing a daily blog about living in Trump Occupied America, but it's so hard making fun of him since he does such a good job doing it to himself. So, for the time being, I have decided to look for something closer to home, something less ... oh, I don't know, less-racist and less-stupid than that which is spewing forth in our nation's capital.
And then, in a moment of serendipity, an engineer friend of mine gave me a booklet about the Catholic cemeteries in and around Tucson. I said, "Oh, hell yeah! That's certainly more uplifting and fun than Kellyanne Conway could ever be." (Is that woman a silver-tongued Devil or what? She's the living embodiment of Richard Pryor's characters, Pimps on Cocaine—be talkin' all the time, but don't be sayin' sh-t!)
I've been listening to her talk for months now and I can honestly swear that I have not heard her answer one direct question with a direct answer. Her powers of deflection are off the charts. In her younger days, she had to have spent some serious time doing that wax on/wax off thing.
Anyway, back to the lighter subject—Tucson's Catholic cemeteries. This August will mark the 110th anniversary of Holy Hope Cemetery. (I suppose that means that I probably should have written this column in 2007, but life and stuff was going on, so I put it off a little bit.)
As for the questions as to why the booklet even exists and why my friend would have a copy, well, the Lord works in mysterious ways and my friend's kind of weird. There are some pretty cool facts in the book. Like, real facts, not Republican ones.
•In the late 1800s, there was a community cemetery at what is now the intersection of Stone Avenue and Speedway Boulevard. These days, on that corner, there's a park where hard-core stoners hang out. You could find a couple punch lines in there without having to do too much heavy lifting. By the turn of the century, the Catholic section of that burial ground was full, so the Diocese went looking for another place.
They came upon the land that is now Holy Hope (on Oracle, south of Prince, which was way out of town back then). It was adjacent to a huge piece of land that had been purchased by the Tucson Cemeteries Association. (How would you like to be a part of that group? Their Christmas parties must be epic!)
Under the direction of then-Bishop Henry Granjon, the Diocese bought 200 acres, the last 40 acres of which were sold to the Church for $1.
•There's a big old long story in the booklet about how the place came to be named Holy Hope. As I've mentioned in the past, my mother came from Italy, my father came from Ireland, and my wife's ancestors came from Spain and Mexico, so I consider myself an industrial-strength Catholic. Nevertheless, the story of the Holy Hope name is like one of those sermons that a deacon gives that causes Father John to roll his eyes and check his watch to see if he's going to be late for the start of the UA baseball game.
•The All Faiths Memorial Park is also mentioned. That place is way out east, just this side of New Mexico. It has places for the interment of Catholics, Jews and Muslims. Fortunately, I've only been there once. A friend of mine who was in the process of converting to Islam was at a party and tried to break up a fight. Some clown who had a gun (and no penis) shot my friend in the chest. His family was able to have him buried in the Muslim cemetery.
I might end up in Holy Hope someday. My friend wants to be cremated and have his ashes sprinkled all over Sofia Vergara.