Thursday, September 12, 2013

Place and Fit

You may have seen this picture floating around the interwebs from time to time. It's almost assuredly a hoax and a good one at that - quite humorous. I also find it particularly poignant.

One of the things I love about this world God made for us is that things don't have to be real to be real. There's no truth to the fact that this plaque or the man it memorializes ever existed. However there's great truth in the idea of making and placing a plaque commemorating the local curmudgeon.

This fictional park can stand in for any community, any place where people gather and live their lives together, whether intentionally or not. Roger Bucklesby hated the park, but he was an essential part of it. He may have wished, loudly, that the park didn't exist and that its inhabitants were sitting at home... or dead (we can make our fictional Roger Bucklesby as mean and angry as we'd like - I picture him as a retired, near-penniless member of the British upper-class, always wearing a dapper suit, a bowler hat, and a ghastly frown).

What the plaque represents, however, is how essential he was to the ecosystem of the park he loathed. His animosity must have been public or else no one would be able to memorialize it. There's some truth to the idea that visceral hatred like Roger's helps to bring out the positive aspects of the park experience for those who may otherwise take it for granted.

We are all involved in lots of communities - families, workplaces, teams, coffee shops, bowling alleys, churches and yes, parks. We all know those people who like to complain and drag their feet, those people who we're not sure why they stick around. But they are around. Roger, may God rest his soul, was around. They participate. Even if it's begrudgingly or menacingly or agrivatingly. They're present.

It's good to remind ourselves that everyone has a place. Everyone deserves to and must be included. In our efficiency obsessed world we often steamroll the slackers and the malcontents as useless for reaching the goal. Sometimes we steamroll the weak and the slow, when they really don't deserve it.

Everyone has a place. It's often those who seem most out of place who can best remind us for that fact.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Roger is real, sort of: