Just some thoughts:
This past week I pulled up to a stop light, and on the bumper of the car in front of me was a sticker that read, “If you want to be remembered, do it with style.”
As I drove off, I wondered about how so many folks today think that is true. I somewhat understand what the sticker is saying and meaning, but I also think much of what people think today identifies with those words. I am afraid too much of today’s society has come to equate style with substance. Style is not always with talent. The flair, the far-out is style, and thus style is good. Can you sing? Paint your ears green or make your hair look like you left your finger in the wall socket, who cares? You have style, thus popularity.
I just finished reading a book on the life of Stan Musial. Who was Musial? Well, Stan Musial was an outstanding baseball player, member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and equally great as a person in the eyes of many people. He played in the majors for twenty-two years, 1941-1963, all with the St. Louis Cardinals. If you go to a game today in St. Louis, you will see his statue just outside the ballpark.
A writer recently acknowledged that the name and image of Musial has faded. Mays, Williams, Mantle and DiMaggio, not so, but Musial, yes. Musial was not colorful in the sense that he never ran out from underneath his baseball cap, never married a Hollywood movie star as did DiMaggio and never spit at reporters as Williams did. He wasn’t a womanizer. In his twenty-two years in baseball he was never thrown out of a game. His name only appeared in the box score of his team. Sadly, some say his reputation has diminished in recent years because he was uncontroversial. “I just tried to stay within myself,” he once said.
Musial went to bat 10,972 times and played in over 3,000 games. My old grandma lived with us for six years and used to say to me as she stood by the sink washing dishes, “Larry, if you will show up, keep your mouth shut and do as you are told, in most cases you’ll get along alright in life.” Musial, well he did more than just show up.
The next time you see or hear of something crazy and people call it talent and say that’s style, stop and think a minute. Far too often folks equate flair with talent. If you ever have to choose between style and substance, I would suggest you always take the latter.
In my opinion Musial had both. I liked his style, and he certainly delivered substance.
July 9, 2010