outlaw it, but, if possible, to make itnunprofitable; failing that, to ignore it.nThere is something to be saidnagainst the public observance of MartinnLuther King’s birthday, and thensame could be said about Washington’snbirthday, or Our Lord’s: thenworth of these exemplary figuresndoesn’t depend on Caesar’s recognition,nand their commemorationnshouldn’t depend on his favor.nThat’s too rigorist for me, though. IfnCaesar wants to recognize these holidays,nI say let him. But those whonwant to honor Martin Luther King ornGeorge Washington—a fortiori, thosenwho want to worship Jesus of Nazarethn—shouldn’t allow their mode of commemorationnto be established by politicalnfiat or commercial interest. Theynshould teach their children why thesenmen are worth honoring and nurturentheir devotion privately (which is notnto say individualistically), in theirnhouseholds, in their churches, withntheir friends. If these holidays becomennothing more than excuses for a daynoff from work or for store-wide sales,nthen I’m with the abolihonists. ccn]ohn Shelton Reed drives a 1980nChevrolet Citation.nLetter From thenHeartlandnby Jane GreernThings We Ought Notnto Have DonenIn the capital city of a state morenconservative than many, in its midsizednnewspaper more conservativenthan not, runs a weekly feature calledn”Single File,” of presumed interest to,nyes, area singles (people, not cheesenslices).nThis week’s article, “first in a series,”nwas “Sex and Love Interminglenin the 80’s.” Tihllated by the title (Hadnthey never intermingled before?nWould we be able to watch?), I wasndisappointed in the rest of the story. Inwondered how the author’s husbandnfelt about her enthusiastic account ofnher latest reading matter: “To expectnmore from love, like promises and futures,nis ‘bizarre and inappropriate.'”nThen, at the end, the teaser for nextnweek’s installment crept into view:n”Etiquette for the Sleepover Date,”nwith the “Drop Us a Line” box asking,n”What ideas do you have on sleepoverndating? Is leaving your house withntoothbrush in hand too obvious?nShould children be ushered off tonGrandma’s house for the night?”nNow, I’m not old, except to thensolicitous, down-cheeked male carryoutnpersons at the Super Valu, and Inlike to think I’m realistic. Whims ofnthe flesh are not alien to me, nor is thenrecurring wish for slightly less responsibilitynin this life. Still, I’ve spent ansizable part of my life being ashamed,nor trying to act in such a way that Inwouldn’t be ashamed, or at least tryingnnot to get caught, and suddenly I’m an32-year-old Edsel.nShame is out; positive attitude is in,nis everything, in fact. A local doctornfriend, when I said that a group of usnwere guilty of letting another friendnshoulder too much responsibility in ancertain matter (“guilty” meaningn”we’re doing it; let’s stop doing it”),nsilenced me by announcing, “Guilt isnthe world’s most useless and destructivenemotion.” I’d always found it eminentlynuseful: when I had it, it kept menfrom smoking (or at least enjoying) thencigarettes I swiped from my mother;nfrom skipping gym class; from tormentingnmy brother (who was alwaysnasking for it). I refrained from morenthan I thought fair, for fear all hellnwould break loose at home. I trod thenline between good and evil, and it wasnneither subtle nor narrow (although Inliked to think it both); my difficultiesnlay only in my occasional narcolepticnplunges off the wrong side. (“Younweren’t guilty; you were just afraid ofnbeing punished,” some have said, andnthat, to me, is a subtle and narrowndistinction.)nBut all hell never breaks loose anynmore. Do you sleep around? (Strangenthat the up-front people who do wouldnuse such a coy euphemism.) It’s thenhealthiest thing in the world, like jogging:nyou work up a sweat and grimacena lot, but feel great when it’s over. Donyou abuse your child? That’s a learnednbehavior, and if someone tries to tellnyou it’s a “sin” you can haul him toncourt and win. Do you steal? You’re anvictim of the crass, incessant materialismnin the lousy world you’re forced toninhabit (never mind that your ninenbrothers and sisters live happy, productivenlives). Do you have sex withnpersons of your own gender, or withncocker spaniels, or with hot roast-beefnsandwiches (hold the mashed potatoes)?nNormalcy is relative, and ifnqueerness is normal for you, that’s allnthat matters.nNot only is there nothing to hidenany more, you are suspect if you don’tnproclaim your proclivities. To act as ifnyou love your wife when you’re longingnto get her daughter (or son) in thensack; to act as if you’re still a virgin atn19 when you’re not, or as if you don’tnwake up in a different bed every Saturdaynmorning; to act as if you’re sorrynfor the shaky life you’ve bequeathednyour three illegitimate children: allnthis can make a person awfully nervousnand resentful. Guilt and embarrassmentnwent the way of bundling,nsigns of a damaged id; restraint is thenonly unnatural act. Be what you are,nand shout what you have done. Allnfeelings are equal, but some arenmore equal than others. Propriety isnhypocrisy.nIt’s just that my very naturalness isnwhat makes me so ashamed.nThe General Confession containednin the Morning Prayer service in thenold Episcopal Book of CommonnPrayer read, in part, “We have leftnundone those things which we oughtnMOVING?nLET US KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!nTo assure uninterrupted delivery ofnChronicles, please notify us in advance.nSend change of address on this form withnthe maihng label from your latest issue ofnChronicles to: Subscription Department,nChronicles, P.O. Box 800, Mount Morris,nIllinois 61054.nName_nAddress.nCitynnnState, .Zip_nMARCH 1986/47n