Resurrecting Hospitality

The last post got me thinking about my younger years and I thought I’d share a moment from that time. It was when one of my favorite teachers said something that just blew my mind. These words really haunted me and it made my head a little bit heavier that day. 

Dr. Harty is my favorite instructor/teacher of all time; in all my years of education he holds the title. I think it had to do with his approach to everybody; he was very understanding and went out of his way to help you out.

As a kid it seemed like I was getting told and forced to do a lot of things that I really didn’t want to do. I think we all go through that struggle, where a person has to do things against their will in order to experience something new and beneficial. Dr. Harty understood that struggle and was very calm and collective when working with his students. 

Harty had a small radio in his classroom that had a tape deck and we would listen to Bob Marley during our writing time. Something about having music playing that just made us work harder. They just go well with each other and it was just a smooth move on Harty’s part.

So this day we were in class and Harty references these words from an individual I don’t even remember but the content of the phrase was striking. The unknown guy Harty was talking about was saying that hospitality was dead in America.  That line shocked and appalled me, and maybe I wasn’t ready to hear this news but it was something I couldn’t believe right away.

And this was coming from Harty, the teacher I respected like no other, so why was he saying this monstrous thing about the country and world. How can hospitality be dead?

To this day I still ponder over the phrase, analyzing it, trying to see how it came to be. I guess to say that it’s dead; you’re also saying that it was living at one point. How did hospitality die?

Those words stayed with me after class and been with me since, I didn’t want to believe that statement was true, although as I got older I started to see more truth in the statement and I begin to try to understand why Harty shared this with us that day.

What is hospitality?

I think there was a point in time when you could leave your doors unlocked and not have to worry about being robbed. And even before a lot of this new technology came out, along with the internet being so diverse, I think people conversed face to face more often. I think that’s where hospitality fell off. The internet was born and finding people to chat with changed the world. We meet everyone on the internet. It’s convenient when everybody else has busy lives and it’s the one place we can be found or tracked. Open twenty four hours but what is getting lost when we exchange real physical face-to-face time for an IM chat. A knock on the door rather than a text message from your smart phone.

What personally do I lose when I can’t see my friends in real life but only their avatar on the computer screen?  What gets lost when our emotions get filtered out of our text? When I can only see a smiley faces rather than hearing your voice and seeing your real smile. It is almost like a robotic connection.

And I’m pretty sure there are new devices coming out in the future that will improve the human-to-human relationship. Technology is always getting better and faster. But sometimes speed and consistencies aren’t that spectacular. Sometimes it’s a lot more fun to do things the old fashion way.

The food idiom of the post is, “to get the rough end of the pineapple.”  It was an expression I have wanted to use, just waiting for the right time. It’s not a common phrase and means when someone gets a raw deal or is treated badly. To be given unfair treatment.

You know thinking about the old days really plays tricks on the mind. I seemed like a long time ago when I was in high school trying to figure this whole life thing out. Fast forward to now, and I’m still this kid confused about what needs to be done. I’m still young at heart. Even though it’s easy to be down on yourself and to feel like you’re receiving the rough end of the pineapple, you still must rise to the occasion.

Getting the rough end of the pineapple may be tough or raw, but it should not stop you from living and enjoying the fruits of life. Except the challenges and take responsibility for your own greatness.

You know Harty introduced me to Shakespeare, we studied Hamlet and Macbeth. So in high school I would say I got just my feet wet with Shakespeare. It wasn’t till college when I really dove into what Shakespeare was about. The individual is interesting on his own feet, but really through his plays you got to examine these human dilemmas being acted out.

My favorite Shakespeare play is The Tempest, probably because I had a whole semester devoted to the work of art. I’ve grown to love it and it is just genius how Shakespeare shows though his characters the need to advance or regain status among peers.

But in The Tempest, it is Caliban that gets rough end of the pineapple. He becomes a slave to Prospero and his daughter. The island that he loves and knows, Caliban is forced to share all the information about his home with Prospero. Being isolated from his upbringing and losing a close connection of his identity with the loss of his Mother Sycorax. When the other people from the shipwreck get on the island and they see Caliban, they automatically assume they are superior to him. He is undermined from any potential because he is only a slave and servant in their eyes. He just wants to be the ruler of himself when it comes down to it, but he gets the rough end of the pineapple in the play.

You know but even though Caliban is misunderstood he still has some of the most powerful lines in the play.  

“You taught me language, and my profit on it is I know how to curse.”

-Shakespeare’s Caliban

 

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