My father was beyond judgmental; he was an imperious iconoclast with opinions about absolutely everything. The Professor expressed thoughts in the form of edicts and proclamations, as if to say disagreement was a pointless exercise. One did not have discussions with the old man, much less debates. One was educated.
My family traveled a great deal when I was young, and my dad, an architect and aficionado of esthetics, among other things, was fond of dragging us to cultural touchstones like cathedrals, gardens, and art galleries. He would explain, with signature irreverence, (much to the horror of passersby), and we would listen with appropriate respect, if we knew what was good for us.
I remember walking through the Vatican with him. Together we examined every gilt detail of this opulent, overwrought warehouse, admiring the way it oozed wretched excess at once gaudy and operatic, carefully designed to intimidate and lure with meretricious sparkle. Sweeping his arm in grand theatricality he exhaled loudly and sneered, “Cecil B. DeMille”.
The Snarling Atheist
My father was no mere agnostic, I should point out, but a snarling atheist who put nature in the place frequently occupied by God. Still, he admired cathedrals from an architectural standpoint and an artistic one. He was much taken by the cathedrals in France and took great pains to point out that the men who built them often worked their entire lives without seeing the finished product, indeed, many of these monuments required centuries to complete, and, generations of stone carvers toiled in anonymity, devoting their skill, art, passion and best energies to a higher calling.
No Guarantee Of Reward
How does the old saw go about the man who plants a tree knowing that he will never live to sit in its shade?