Three District Liners have sent me bitter letters of protest about "the cancellation of Fleetwood Mac."
Even if you've never heard of Fleetwood Mac, you will probably be able to guess that it is a popular rock group.
The reason the letters are bitter is that "festival seating" was to be used for the Fleetwood Mac concert at the Capital Centre. "Festival seating" means no reserved seats. You pay a stiff price, but if you don't get there early you don't get a seat close to the performers.
So people who think highly of Fleetwood Mac bought every available ticket, took annual leave from their jobs, hired baby sitters in some cases and , in at least one instance, drove 75 miles to the Capital Centre. Hundreds of Fleetwood Mac fans showed up hours before the doors opened and stood in line patiently just to make sure they'd have good seats. And what did they get for their trouble? Fleetwood Mac canceled at the last moment! The group's guitarist had undergone a spinal tap two days before and was in too much pain to perform.
Quite an uproar greeted the announcement, and three of the protests spilled over into letters directed to this column.
One who is not a rock fan - and I am not - is momentarily tempted to dismiss the entire matter as a tempest in a teapot. It would be so easy to say, "If they weren't so fanatical about rock music they wouldn't be so bitter about a cancellation."
But hold on a moment. Those of us who are not rock fans usually have other enthusiasms that we take just as seriously. Opera buffs stand in line for hours for the privilege of buying standing room tickets. Baseball fans show up the night before Opening Day to be sure they'll get a ticket. Ski enthusiasts knowingly risk broken bones to enjoy their sport, spelunkers tempt fate in caves that even a self-respecting bat wouldn't explore, and the sanest people in town go wild over TV programs, movies, plays, football teams, chess matches, soccer and other entertainments.
How, then, can any of us criticize another person's excesses? Having a hobby or a special interest adds zest to life and therefore makes good sense, especially when enthusiasm isn't permitted to turn into fanaticism.
One thing does seem strange to me about the Fleetwood Mac hubbub, however. Although it was explained to the group's admirers that the cancellation was caused by illness, many in the crowd just wouldn't accept illness as a valid excuse. They came to see their idols, and by golly they wanted to see them, sick or well, pain or no pain. That, it seems to me, is unreasonable.
Everybody is entitled to be sick once in a while. Everybody is subject to accident. Everybody has days when he just plain feels lousy and can't do his job properly. Even the great gods of the entertainment world are subject to mortal ills. Can't we be a little less demanding of those we elevate to hero status?