Well, we’re back from Cashmere, and we even got a date, courtesy of Alissa’s brother and sister-in-law. Thanks guys! So what did we do for our date? Well, we finished our taxes. (They’ve been done for a couple of weeks, but I needed Alissa in the office to sign. ) Then we went to Toys R Us to start preshopping for Harry’s birthday. Follow it up with conversation happy hour appetizers and a rare adult beverage at Applebees, and we had our date. (I know, hot stuff, but very welcome.) As a bonus, Alissa’s brother found our wayward TV remote. It had been missing for several weeks.
Well, reunited with our remote, we clicked on the TV to find a flashback to the days when we might actually consider going to the theater or doing something just as glamourous for a date. Actually, we never saw Les Miz as a couple, but we went with our housemates before we started dating. Of course, I had seen it in three different cities (New York, L.A. and San Francisco) before then.
I’ve always loved Les Miz, far more than Phanton of the Opera. I’m sure you’d be shocked to know that the political theme of proletarian revolution against a government unresponsive to the suffering of its people is one that I find powerful and inspiring. I used to have the soundtrack, and there would always be a risk of being caught singing “One Day More” or “Do You Hear the People Sing” full voice while wearing ear phones. I think I had a mild crush on Frances Ruffelle’s Eponine, and I think I will always get a bit choked up by the finale.
But more than any song or adolescent crush on a fictional character, the thing that I’ve always loved about Les Miserables is it’s timelessness, it’s ability to tell a story that gets recreated time and again thoughout human history. I hear those songs of revolution from 19th Century Paris, and I hear it echoed by suffragettes and bonus armies, freedom riders and peace activists. I hear the echoes from Paris to Selma to Berlin to Cairo to Tehran and Tripoli and even back to Madison and Columbus. It’s a human song that reaches to the soul and convicts us that we are in fact human beings and that sometimes, we are called to stand up to demand that our governments do better and put the human need before greed.
I hope that I never cease to be moved by Les Miserables. I feel that if I do, I will have lost something important.